Friday, August 28, 2009

The Life Boat

The Life Boat
by Shauna Berglund Immel

Life is like a Cruise Ship.
Like the Carnival Line.
Exciting and fun.
Sailing over the waters with ease.
Without a care in the world.

Dolphins jump in the wake.
Like a marching band
leading a float in a parade.

Waves break against the bough (bow?)
Turning water into mist
like confetti falling.
Dancing in the salty air
like fairies in flight.

I stand at the helm,
taking in the beauty of the beyond
and pondering the endless possibilities
as far as the eye can see
Like the ocean.
The places I can go.
The things I can see.

I breathe in the scent of the sea
Savoring the salty aroma

The salt air tickles my face
as we sail head on into the wind.
Full speed ahead.

But the ocean
and Mother Nature,
like life,
are unpredictable.

Clouds move in like shadows
as the solitude of the still blue sky
turns to chaos.

The wind,
once a soft, warm breeze,
picks up speed
and the wet sprinkles on your face,
which once felt like soft kisses
now sting like a swarm of bees.

The seas swell
and the ocean waves,
once like a steady, mesmerizing heartbeat
Slap the side of the ship with force
Tossing it around
like a toy ship at odds
with a raging, swirl of sea.
So small and fragile.

No match for the strenght of the sea,
The ship takes on water
Like the weight of the world.
Beginning to go under.
Sinking deeper into the abyss.

Until all that is left
is but a tiny rowboat
adrift in the storm.

I read this tonight at the Write Around Portland Anthology Release Party They needed more footage of me for a documentary they are working on. It's always nice to participate in those readings. It's a great organization that does so much for the community

Wasn't feeling well today. Very nauseous and feels like increased fluid in my abdominal area. A lot of pressure in my rib area, like when I had it before and they took me away in the ambulance. I know better than to do that again! Also got some bad news. My daughter's teacher was diagnosed with breast cancer. Which means she will be gone for part of the year to deal with all that entails. It just seems like we can't get away from this. My son's middle school home room teacher/advisor was diagnosed with cancer in 7th grade, both of her gymnastics coaches were diagnosed and one ended up passing away. We miss Irina. Kaelin's reaction was "Everyone has cancer." and then she listed all of the people, including me. What is going on? Why is it following us wherever we go. Bringing up bad memories and feelings. We just can't seem to catch a break and get a breather from it. It is very prominent in our life. Where before I was diagnosed, Irina was the only one we knew. I feel like I bring bad karma wherever i go. Is it me???? It breaks my heart that these people now have to deal with this disease too. When will someone find a cure?? We need one. And soon. Sigh.

My mom bought a new Mac Book Pro laptop, so I am back in the blogging business, photos and all! I have so much catching up to do! I will leave you with a photo of the day from my Galapagos Trip, which was heaven on earth. Enjoy! xoxoxo Shauna

photo of me at the Equator in Quito, Ecuador

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Saved Me

I went and saw the movie "Julie & Julia" tonight. Have you seen it yet? It's a movie that cuts back and forth between the story of two wome, Julia Child and a woman named Julie who is tired of herself, her life, her friends and her job and who has lost her passion. She starts a blog and then cooks her way through Julia Child's cookbook in 365 days.

First of all, Meryl Streep is BRILLIANT as Julia Child. What an actress that woman is!

Second of all, I could really relate to the character, Julie, whose husband has the idea to start a blog and helps her set it up (mine did the same for me!) and then who encourages her along the way. Through the process of blogging, she finds herself, her life, her passion and her joy as she connects with her blog readers and realizes that she needs them, just as much as they need her! She realizes her blog saved her.

I experienced this very same thing when I was diagnosed with cancer and began my blog. It became my friend. My companion. Always ready to listen and encourage. And once people began commenting and supporting me, and telling me I inspire them, it was like a drug. I needed it just as much as my readers needed me. It gave me a place to share my fears, my joy, my journey. It saved me from falling into that great black abyss of grief and depression. It gave me purpose. It turned a negative into a positive. I was helping people!

So thank you for being here. For visiting me and my blog. For listening. Caring. For saving me.

What a reminder of why I started the blog and the joy I get from writing.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

I've been honored as a Top Health Blogger!

You will notice in the upper right hand corner of my blog that I have a new exclusive badge to recognize me as one of the web's leading health bloggers! I was invited to join Wellsphere's HealthBlogger Network. the world's premier network of health writers, including over 2,500 of the Web's leading health bloggers! They carefully reviewed my blog, and based on the high quality of my writing, the frequency of my posts, and my passion for helping others, they thought I would be a great addition to their community! Wellsphere has more than 5,000,000 monthly unique visitors. They will be promoting me and my blog as a great source of health knowledge and support, featuring me in rotation on their homepage, republishing my posts and linking back to my blog. with the connection to the Wellsphere platform, the audience for my postings will be greatly expanded and it will attract additional readers to my blog, as I receive recognition for my efforts to improve people's lives.

Wellsphere is the fastest-growing consumer health website, and is revolutionizing the way people find and share health and healthy living information and support. They recently merged with the Health Central Network, Inc, and together they are serving more than 10 million people a month!

I am very honored to be a part of this community and look forward to this journey together.

Thank you all for the continued support! I couldn't do this without you all.

A Numbers Game

So I got my CA125 results back. This blood marker, and the fluid seen in my monthly CT scans are the only things that my doctors have to watch. Unfortunately, my numbers are trending upwards, not what you want to see. 35 and below is normal.

Here is my latest history:

5/20/09 105
6/11/09 97
7/6/09 144
7/26/09 151
8/9/09 183

The highest mine has ever been was 176ish just after diagnosis and before major surgery. Lowest it has ever been is 22, right after my major surgery.

Always a bit confusing because it seems when my numbers peak, is when I feel and look (or so people say) my best. I just can't figure this cancer out. Hard to fight something that makes no sense. I wish they would hurry up and find a cure already. I could sure use one about now.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Staying Positive. Or at least trying to.

I posted on Facebook about being on chemo Monday from 830am-5pm and then having to get hooked up to the chemo pump for the next 46 hours.

Shauna Berglund Immel has escaped from the Chemo Suite and is on the run
with "Fillup", my chemo pump for the next 46 hours. Oh boy we're gonna have
fun. NOT.

My friend Ahn: Trust you to come up with a funny name for your chemo pump!
You're incredible, how do you always stay so positive?

My resonsponse: It's better than being miserable. When you have a limited amount of time, do you want to enjoy it or be miserable? I have my moments! Ask my family! Escapes help: playdates, movies, coffee dates, lunches, books, support groups, journaling classes, etc. Facebook! Contact with friends. The support I receive is so overwhelming, I can't help but be positive back.

It's not easy. It totally sucks. I get up every single morning and look for my happy face hanging in my closet to put on. And my cape. Usually on the floor needing ironing. I wouldn't do this for anyone but my kids. Not myself. Not my husband. It's so freaking hard and it doesn't get any easier. Only harder.

See, I'm not always positive!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Your Absentee Blogger

I apologize for my disappearance. Both my PC and my laptop have been down, and updating my blog from my PDA phone seems impossible and so cumbersome. I am making it a goal to post at least once a day as long as I'm feeling well to keep you all up to date and in the know with my treatment and life! I know a lot of you are following me on Facebook (Shauna Berglund Immel), but I also know a lot of you are not in that world yet. So I apologize for keeping you in the dark the last several months.

I am hanging in there. My numbers have creeped back up. CA125 normal is 35 or below. Last blood draw (last week) was up to 155. My oncologist was giving me a month of treatment (FOLFOX = oxciliplatin, avastin and 5FU in the pump) to see if it would come back down. I meet with her on Monday and have my next round. I'm going every other week now. It gets very old!

I've lost 40# since my trip to the Galapagos Islands (May 7). My digestive system is so messed up and I haven't been able to eat or drink much and keeping it down is also a chore at times. Luckily I had it to lose and more, but being a cancer/chemo patient, losing weight isn"t always a good thing (or so my doctor tells me!). I also think that when they stopped the steroids (had a bad episode where they ODed me on Steroids and I went into drug induced psychosis?), it caused me to let go of some of the bloated look that goes along with them.

I've been living life large, and in full color during my good weeks and hanging low during the bad chemo weeks. But I'm grateful for the good weeks and the perspective I have gained on priorities, etc through this journey.

All of my photos are on my pc, which is down at the moment, so I'm going to have trouble posting photos for a bit. Please be patient with me as I ease back into this blogging addiction! I must say I have missed it and you all!

Thanks for being there for me and checking in on me and being so patient! It's good to be back among the posting!