The C Word Radio
Three Dark Spots

Three Dark Spots

July 12, 2021

Kia ora cancery people! Today's episode is the last before I take a quick break to recharge and find more stories from people like us. 

If you're new - The C Word Radio is the podcast for cancery people who want real conversations about cancer. Hosted by me, Helen King, a Kiwi who had breast cancer in 2018. 

I've gone solo for the first time in an episode to tell you about my story with cancer. I've never done an episode like this and I hope you enjoy it. 

I was having a shower when I found my lump on my right breast. I was starting a new job and didn't think anything of it, I was 37 so cancer didn't seem like a possibility! 

I went to an emergency GP to get the lump checked out and was told not to worry I was 'too young for it to be anything sinister". The doctor diagnosed me with non-lactating mastitis and gave me a script for anti-biotics and told me I could get an ultrasound. 

I knew by the look on the sonographers face the three dark shadows on the screen were cancer. Within a week I was diagnosed with Her2 positive breast cancer and booked in for a mastectomy. I had a full right mastectomy with no reconstruction, lymph nodes removed, fertility preservation, chemo, radiation and a year of herceptin. 

Once I came out the other end of treatment I felt lost, angry and full of grief. I didn't know where to get support or how I could 'move on'. It wasn't until I did a weekend retreat where I was with fellow cancery people and could talk openly about how cancer had impacted me where I really started to heal. 

For some people post-cancer life is a chance to reinvent themselves, for me I felt like I had lost my identity. This is why I started the C Word Radio - I wanted to find a way to make sense of what happened.

I love to know if you relate to my story! 

 

LINKS

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Survey:  I am doing a listener survey to find out what you love and what you think I could do better. Let me know if there are any topics you want me to cover or nominate someone to be a guest click here. 

Music - Happy Days, Scott Holmes

 

In My Bones

In My Bones

July 4, 2021

Kia ora and welcome back to the C Word Radio, the podcast for cancery people who want real conversations about cancer. 

If you haven't already subscribe on Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts! 

I met my guest for this episode on Facebook and sat down over Zoom to talk about our stories. Randi Brown lives in Virginia in the US and boy did we talk! We chatted for about an hour and a half.

Our stories are so similar it was spooky. Randi was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016 when she was in her 30s. Randi went to her doctor with redness on her right breast and was diagnosed with mastitis. When the antibiotics didn’t work she had a scan and a biopsy. Once diagnosed she had chemo, a bilateral mastectomy and radiation. Randi tested positive for the BRCA gene. 

In 2019 Randi started having pain in her shoulder, the cancer coming back never crossed her mind. A x-ray didn't show anything sinister and Randi thought it was probably just a pinched nerve. A few months later  when the pain become unbearable she went back to her doctor who ordered a MRI scan. 

When she got a phone call less than an hour after her MRI from her cancer centre, Randi knew there was something wrong with her scan. The cancer had spread to her humerus bone , Randi was told to stop using her arm immediately because the doctor was concerned Randi might break it! 

We chatted about how Randi parents her eleven year old daughter and the impact of living with incurable cancer has on her relationships. Randi says she likes to focuse on making memories with her daughter and doing what makes her happy.

Randi's faith has helped her navigate her diagnosis. She believes having a community of friends and family ('framily') is one of the most important things to have when you need support during cancer. 

I loved chatting with Randi - let me know what you think of her story. 

 

LINKS

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Survey:  I am doing a listener survey to find out what you love and what you think I could do better. Let me know if there are any topics you want me to cover or nominate someone to be a guest click here. 

 

Randi's links: 

Blog - Warrior Artisan 

Facebook 

Instagram 

 

Music - Happy Days, Scott Holmes

 

Trying to Make Babies

Trying to Make Babies

June 20, 2021

Content warning: 

Today is the first of a series of interviews I'm doing about how cancer treatment impacts our fertility and parenthood. Today's episode my guest and I are talking about IVF treatment which I know can be a sensitive topic. Also there is some swearing! 

Welcome back to the C Word: Kiwis Talk About Cancer, the podcast for cancery people who want real conversations about cancer. 

Last week I attended the NZ Radio Awards, although the C Word didn't get the win I was so proud of making the final for best programme - Access Radio. Plains FM took out the prize for their show 'It's Getting Hot in Here'. Congratulations to the team at Plains FM. And a huge thank you for all your support, without listeners I wouldn't have the motivation to keep making episodes!
 
I met my guest in 2018 when we were both going through cancer treatment. Rebecca Van Dijk was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in 2018, like many young people when they are diagnosed, Rebecca had not had children. We chatted recently about our experiences with fertility treatment and what it's like facing the possibility of not being able to have a child. 

Rebecca found a lump by chance when her hand brushed across her chest in late 2017. She waited until after Christmas to get a second biopsy after the first came back inconclusive. Rebecca says she knew it was serious when the technician taking the second biopsies demeanor changed. 

She explains she had went through chemo, radiation and a lumpectomy. With fertility treatment before chemo started. 

Fast forward two years and Rebecca and her husband were given the all clear to trying to get pregnant. Unfortunately they weren't successful but felt reassured by the fact they had two embryos waiting to be used. 

Rebecca talks about the difficulty of navigating other peoples expectations, disappointment of unsuccessful IVF treatment and the grief of the life cancer takes from us. 

 

Helen's links
Support the C Word on Ko-Fi https://ko-fi.com/thecword

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685

Instagram thecword_radio

Music 'Happy Days' Scott Holmes 

 

Other links

It's Getting Hot in Here 

The Cancer Sea 

Are You A Survivor?

Are You A Survivor?

June 6, 2021

Kia ora! Welcome to The C Word: Kiwis Talk About Cancer. The podcast for cancery people who want real conversations about cancer. 

June is Cancer Survivors Month which got me thinking about what the term survivor means to people who have had cancer. In this episode I'm joined by former surgeon Dr Anitha Ranganathan to discuss how being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020 changed what 'survivor' means to her. 

Anitha shares the life altering moment of being told she had breast cancer and how decades in medicine didn't prepare her to process the news. 

We share our thoughts on the different meanings attached to cancer survivor (and find out it's a much wider definition than we both realised!). 

Recovering from a breast cancer diagnosis is challenging - Anitha talks about what she has found difficult including the toll it took on her mental & emotional health. 

Cancer can be a red flag we need to make changes in our lives, Anitha shares how the focus on her health led her to train as a holistic sleep expert. For many cancer patients sleep is difficult, Anitha talks about the main issues impacting the quality of sleep post cancer. 

 

Anitha's links
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/_all.about.sleep/

Seven month programme designed for recovery & reclaiming sleep! https://mailchi.mp/741447255157/the-7-s-strategy-program

 

Helen's links
Support the C Word on Ko-Fi https://ko-fi.com/thecword

 

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685

Instagram thecword_radio

Music 'Happy Days' Scott Holmes 

 

Brain Cancer in your 30s

Brain Cancer in your 30s

May 30, 2021
Welcome to another episode of the C Word! This weeks guest can only be described as awesome. 
 
Kate Coatsworth  had just turned 33 when the intrepid Kiwi moved to Sydney to expand her horizons. Not long after she arrived Kate started experiencing horrific headaches. 
 
Thinking it was an injury after falling from a paddle board she tried physical therapy.  When her symptoms took a turn for the worst Kate found herself in hospital undergoing numerous tests. Never in her wildest imagination did she think she'd hear the words 'you have stage 4 brain cancer'. 
 
Kate was a few months out  the other side of treatment when she embarked on a huge trek the length of the North Island of New Zealand with a group of supporters. She did the walk to raise awareness for Brain Tumour Support NZ and raised over $50,000 for the charity. 
 
The former youth worker talks candidly about the emotional impact of knowing your cancer is likely to come back and the challenge of rebuilding life post treatment. 
 
Kate shares her experience of her epic walk and what it's like to be diagnosed with stage four brain cancer in your 30s. 
 
The C Word: Kiwis Talk About Cancer is a podcast for people who want real conversations about cancer. Hosted by Helen King, breast cancer survivor and former journalist, guests share how cancer has impacted their lives.  
 
 
Helen's links
 
More info on Brain Tumour Support -   https://www.braintumoursupport.org.nz/beating-the-track

 
Music 'Happy Days' Scott Holmes 

Sometimes Cancer is a Gift

Sometimes Cancer is a Gift

May 24, 2021

Welcome to another episode of The C Word! As usual, our goal is to reach as many people as we can who have either survived cancer or are currently battling, you are not alone!

Today, guest Sacha Coburn will be sharing with us her experience with breast cancer, how it was like in 2009 when she found a lump on her breast, and how it feels like now. Sacha loved to play tennis and was living a very busy time, when she felt this “bump” on her breast, never would she have imagined it was a tumor, she immediately related the bump with a muscle ache from playing tennis.

It wasn’t much later that Sacha realized she had the C word.

Sacha will be telling us all of the things that annoyed her, like listening to people say that she survived cancer because she was a “positive person”, when in reality she believes surviving is just dumb luck.

We will also be discussing how much you can deal with, why there is no right way to live with cancer, the impact of self-motivation, the physical effects that cancer takes on your body, and also some of the positiveness that comes from fighting cancer, Sacha, for instance, got a lot closer to her mother which has been amazing for her, and has also found a true passion in helping people who are going through the same.

For more information on Sacha, visit her website www.thecompanyyoukeep.co.nz, or on Instagram @sachacoburn. You can also listen to her podcast The Not So Breakfast Show at www.buzzsprout.com/1426954 

If you would like to support The C Word, visit www.ko-fi.com/thecword. You can also find us on Instagram @thecword_radio and Facebook www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685  

 

Music 'Happy Days' Scott Holmes 

Cancer sitting on my shoulder

Cancer sitting on my shoulder

May 16, 2021

In today’s episode of The C Word, we welcome inspirational guest Molly Rowlandson and her journey with cancer.

Molly was only 22 years old when she found lumps in her throat and around her ear. She was also feeling very tired which was a very uncommon feeling for her, given she was such an active person. After visiting the doctor, Molly found out she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and immediately thought she was going to die.

Because of movies like My Sister’s Keeper and similar, she instantly related cancer with death. Molly speaks with us about the terrifying experience that it was to face cancer at such a young age, an experience that also made her grow up a lot quicker. She went through 9 months of chemotherapy and to this day has many joint issues to deal with.

Molly also shares a bit about the anxious moments she felt, how she didn’t want to stop chemo because she was so afraid of relapsing. That of course is an old Molly, because she now completely trusts her body, the world, the universe, herself, and completely enjoys life. She learned to move one.

To listen to Molly and her band, visit https://open.spotify.com/artist/6Wap3IvFzYwkKSGZI7YxOJ. You can also find them on Facebook @Mollyandthechromatics, and get tickets to her show on May 22nd at https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2021/the-butlers-molly-the-chromatics-theres-tuesday/auckland/eden-terrace 

If you would like to support The C Word, visit www.ko-fi.com/thecword. You can also find us on Instagram @thecword_radio and Facebook www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685  

Music: Happy Days, Scott Holmes

Molly & the Chromatics 

Michelle

Michelle

May 9, 2021

Welcome to the C Word: Kiwis Talk About Cancer - the podcast for cancery people who want real conversations about cancer. 

In this episode I'm joined by an amazing woman. Twenty two years ago Michelle Treadaway-Ohia was grieving the loss of a pregnancy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor told her the prognosis wasn't good and to prepare for the worst. Michelle joins me to talk about how her cancer experience impacted her and her journey to getting her moko kauae.

 

She shared the shock she felt being diagnosed with breast cancer so soon after losing her baby. And the gratitude for for friends and whanau as they rallied around her as she embarked on surgery and chemotherapy.

 

Michelle was told it was unlikely she'd have anymore children because the chemo can cause infertility. But against the odds Michelle fell pregnant with her second daughter not long after finishing radiation!

 

We shared stories about losing our hair, dealing with chemo side effects and laughed at some of the hilarious mishaps we have with our breast prosthesis.

 

Michelle talks about the decision to get her moko kauae (a traditional Māori tattoo for women/ wāhine Māori) and the freedom she has felt since getting it.

 

 

Waka Huia episode click here

 

The C Word links:

Facebook

 

Instagram

 

Music track: Happy Days by Scott Holmes 

 
Waiata: Ka piata te wairua (Pania Papa)
 
Tiaho mai to aroha
Ka piata te wairua
Ka hikitia ka hapaingia,
Ka piata te wairua

Ka hinga ana nga maunga
Toitu ra te wairua
Ka arahina e to ringa,
Ka piata te wairua

Ahakoa nga taumaha
Ka piata te wairua
Horahia to marama
Ka piata te wairua

I te po tiwaha,
i te awatea
Ka piata te wairua
He wai karekare
He wai aio
Ka piata te wairua

 
English Translation
 
Shining with your love
the spirit gleams
Given support and lifted up
your spirit gleams

Mountains may be falling
but the spirit remains undisturbed
Led by your hand
The spirit gleams

Although you are ailing,
your spirit gleams
Lit by your moonbeam glow,
your spirit gleams

In the noisy darkness,
in the middle of the day
your spirit gleams
On troubled waters
or on waters mirror-still
your spirit gleams

Thank you, Mama

Thank you, Mama

April 18, 2021

In this episode we finish off our look into how cancer impacts families with a person who has experienced cancer rip through her family from a young age. 

Ana Tajder  was born in Crotia to film actress Jagoda Kaloper and architect Radovan Tajder.  She moved to Vienna when war broke out in Crotia in the 90s. 

The Award-winning author, journalist and Creator of “Thank You, Mama” podcast spoke to me from her home in the US about what she has learned about grappling with a loved one having cancer. 

Topics discussed: cancer * testicular cancer *rare cancer *family *grief *relationships * family & cancer *cancer support

Ana's links

Website: http://www.tajder.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anatajder/

Podcast: http://www.tajder.com/podcast

 

The C Word links: 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685

Music track: Happy Days by Scott Holmes 

Claire & Greg got cancer

Claire & Greg got cancer

April 11, 2021

In 2015 Greg Taipari thought a persistent cough was from allergies - it turned out to be throat cancer. Three years later when he had recovered from treatment and a stroke his wife Claire was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

Greg was well into his treatment before he told his whanau (family) he had cancer - when Claire was diagnosed he took a different approach and they walked through the experience together. 

Helen chats with the couple about how cancer has changed them and why they became vegetarians after a wellness retreat. 

Topics * cancer * throat cancer * breast cancer * couples * wellness * healing * cancer treatment * resislence 

Links

Aratika Trust https://www.aratikatrust.co.nz/

Follow Helen 
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/The-C-Word-Kiwis-talk-about-cancer-105425417907685/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/thecword_radio/

Music track: Happy Days Scott Holmes 

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