cancer. it's not just an astrological sign anymore.



rom December:

"to those of you who are still reading this manifesto, if you carry nothing else away, please remember this: never take anything for granted. although we would like to believe otherwise, human beings' mortality is a fragile thing. there is no guarantee that you will wake up to see tomorrow--and it doesn't matter if you always wear your seatbelt, eat your veggies, or floss. the only way to truly acknowledge this fact is to live each day as fully as you possibly can. eat a cookie for breakfast every once in a while. do something random and crazy at least once a month. reconnect with old friends. challenge your own boundaries, fears, and prejudices. you may not get the opportunity to do this tomorrow, a week, or a year from now."

Those words seem so empty now...

posted by amanda @ 4:18 PM 30 comments


conclusion: Eric W. Shaffer, 7/21/81-3/17/06


ric passed away on Friday night at home at approx. 11:30 pm.

As such, this blog is closing. I hate this fucking thing. Most of all, I hate you for making me think that I had something worthwhile to say. Each of the thousands of words on these pages are moments that I should have spent with Eric. I will never get that back. Fuck this.

posted by amanda @ 8:27 AM 98 comments


cyclical occurrences...


quick update...

Eric and I are doing OK. His primary oncologist doubled the dosage of Gleevec for him, which is the only chemo that he was still on, and increased dosage is making him quite sick to his tummy. Having this to deal with, on top of the bad news, has been tough for him. But the docs are working with us to at least manage the side effects, so he should be feeling better soon.

We had what was supposed to be our 6-month, happy-go-lucky, clean-bill-of-health appointment at Johns Hopkins yesterday. The docs there are nothing short of magical and told us that the failed transplant was in fact NOT the end of the road as we had feared, but that there were two more treatment options for Eric--the first being enrollment in a clinical trial. There is a new class of drugs called "Super Gleevecs" (none of which have FDA approval--YET)--but they're in the final stage of trials, which means that they are done testing the meds on lab rats and monkeys and are now testing them on people. The plan is to enroll Eric in one of those studies and see if the new meds can help him. The final step would be to transplant a different type of cell from his brother (the original donor)--but that would be an absolute last resort because the potential for life-threatening side effects is high. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that he'll be admitted to a clinical trial.

This just sucks. We were so eager to put this all behind us and move on wit our lives. We had begun to lay plans for the future...Eric had applied to a couple of jobs with various environmental agencies, we were looking at leaving this area for one with a lower cost of living so that we might be able to buy a little house, and I was eagerly counting the days 'til I could say goodbye to the military for good.

Now, we're right back at square one...again.

Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for us. And if you have the time, bug your congresspersons and senators like hell to fight Bush's proposed cuts to cancer research funding and programs for the next fiscal year.

You can e-mail your state's representatives at LiveStrong, go to the main page and click on "Tell Congress NO to cuts in cancer research."

posted by amanda @ 11:26 AM 24 comments

the image game...


'm usually not one for games, quizzes, and the like, but this one is different--it's a unique and fun way for one to pay homage to their blogfriends. Invented by aka_Monty, I hijacked it from Lucinda and Jessica. No, I'm not very original right now, but I have a bit of an excuse. So here goes:

Jessica: Wise

Minerva: Inspiring

Debutaunt: Fearless

Being Made: Resilient

Dave: Funny

(now I know why he's a Vegetarian)

Karen: Talented

posted by amanda @ 8:49 AM 10 comments


real cancer, real lives


dition number fourteen has been posted by the lovely Minerva of A Woman of Many Parts. Please stop by for a read, and click on the logo in my sidebar if you are interested in helping out with this blog carnival project.

posted by amanda @ 11:13 PM 7 comments


holy fucking shit...


t's back. Eric got really sick last night, we were both up all night, and he went to his local oncologist today while I was at work.

The leukemia's back.

posted by amanda @ 4:58 PM 36 comments


another milestone...


ust a brief note to point out that the ACS Web Badge (the "I Fight Cancer" graphic underneath my profile) has reached a participation of over one hundred websites! When I added it to my site, the counter was in the mid-fifties--which means that the number of sites displaying this badge has doubled in just a few month's time. If you haven't added the badge to your website or blog yet, please consider doing so!

Here's more on the project, from

What does it mean to say "I Fight Cancer"?
When you display an "I Fight Cancer" badge on your blog, you commit to one or more of the following:

-Write a blog entry on your experience with cancer
-Invite 5 bloggers to display the badge
-Talk to your friends and family about getting screened for cancer
-Wear a matching American Cancer Society wrist band
-Get involved in local American Cancer Society events and programs, like Relay For Life or Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.
-Or, make a donation.

posted by amanda @ 12:05 AM 15 comments


so true...


good blogfriend of mine, Cary Miller, has been relentless in his support for his wife, Lori, as she battles cancer of unknown primary origin. I've been so thankful to have someone to compare notes with as we both deal with the unique issues faced by twenty and thirty-something cancer patients. And now...he's written something that captures the anger that I struggle to keep tamped down every day. Please read the following post, then stop over and offer some support...

The Anger Is Eating Me From The Inside
by Cary Miller

Foul Language Ahead: You’ve Been Warned…

If you’re looking for a happy-go-lucky, “cancer is the greatest thing that ever happened to me” kind of post, you might want to click away from this page before you read any further — I’m feeling neither happy, nor lucky.

Seriously. I hate this fucking disease.

I hate it for destroying what was supposed to be the best time of my life (for those of you who are new to this blog, my wife was diagnosed with stage-IV cancer a scant seven weeks after we were married.)

I hate it for aging me before my time, and for stealing my ability to feel true happiness.

I hate it for tainting every single fucking holiday, weekend, and vacation with a creeping, ugly fear that never goes away, and only occasionally sinks far enough into the background for me to actually relax.

I hate it for both the terrifying psychological pain, and the incredible & relentless physical pain it continues to cause my wife.

I hate it for making me feel that I’m actually somehow “lucky” that the woman I love more than anything in the world is still alive and fighting for her life three years after we were married.

I hate it for the amazing friends it has killed slowly & painfully, and for the devastated family members it leaves behind, not having the decency to just put them out of their misery.

I hate it for tainting my usual optimistic self with an anger that is absolutely eating me from the inside out.

And It’s Making Me Violent

No, I would never hurt a fly… but often I wake up in the middle of the night and feel I have to punch something — as hard and relentless as possible (our new sofa usually ends up on the receiving end of my rage, but sometimes I just walk around the house slamming doors.)

Sometimes… most of the time… the frustration and pain of not being able to protect my beloved from her disease is more than I can possibly bare.

And sometimes… well sometimes I feel like chucking this fucking blog in the trash and walking away. Just walking away and never looking back. That’s why I haven’t been writing much lately.

Sometimes it’s just all too much.

posted by amanda @ 10:38 PM 3 comments

the second time around...


unning updates for the week: I ran four miles for the second time today, with the assistance of a knee brace. The first time left me a bit (OK, a lot) sore, especially in my left leg. And the weight loss has *finally* started. Woo-hoo!

Days Running: Forty-nine
Peak Weight: 222 lbs./100.7 kg
Current Weight: 216 lbs./97.97 kg
Miles This Week: 9.7
Total Miles: 40.1

In other news, I'm multi-tasking tonight, watching the Oscars and blogging at the same time. I. Love. Jon. Stewart. If I lived in Utah, he could be my second husband. Jon, if the Jewish thing ever gets old, I'll be waiting for you with the Book of Mormon by my side. I'll even forgive you for making Doogal.

posted by amanda @ 9:29 PM 1 comments


she's running the distance...


uess what I did this morning?

I'll give you a few seconds...

Yes, it took me forty-nine minutes. I'm currently averaging between 12 and 14 minutes/mile, which is not a pace that's gonna be breaking any records. But this is the longest distance this chubby chica has ever run in her whole life.

I will definitely be ready for Honolulu in December. In fact, I can hear the trade winds rustling through the palm trees now. *grin*


posted by amanda @ 11:10 AM 13 comments

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