Posted by: jility | October 27, 2014


It has taken me nearly a month to be able to write about this. I have had a difficult time coming to grips with it and couldn’t deal with thinking about it until now.

As most of you know, about a year ago I was diagnosed with advanced (stage 3C) colon cancer. I had a nearly three pound tumor removed from my colon and seven of the seventeen lymph nodes they removed were cancerous. The tumor had grown outside my colon and had nearly blocked the inside of my colon completely.

They told me I had had this for close to twenty years. As a vegan, I had always felt smug that this was one cancer I would never get. Consequently, I had never had a colonoscopy. WRONG! Not all vegans are created equal. There are good vegans and bad vegans. I was a HORRIBLE vegan! I lived on junk, oil, salt and sugar. If it is fatty and salty, SIGN ME UP! I love all the fake processed vegan meats and vegan cheeses. The Veggie Grill Buffalo wings were one of my favorites as are the vegan nachos. Deep fried mock chicken covered in a yummy hot sauce full of fat and sugar. What could be better?

Well, I knew all along that vegetable oil is just as bad as animal protein when it comes to being carcinogenic, yet I continued to gorge myself on these foods. Sir Cussalot and I attended the movies about once a week and I filled my fat gut with movie popcorn smothered in that fake grease they call “butter.” It was the only reason I went to the movies!

Once I was told I had colon cancer, I saw the light. I gave up all those crappy things and moved in a new direction. I lost a ton of weight and, until they started poisoning me with six months of chemotherapy, I felt like a million bucks! I hadn’t felt that good in YEARS!

My doctor, Dr. Heinz Josef Lenz at USC Norris Cancer Hospital, did genetic testing and found that I carry four genetic markers for colon and other cancers. I am also the lucky holder of a gene that makes my cancer resistant to chemotherapy. Lucky me.

I was scanned every three months and all was clear. They did ct and pet scans because my liver is weird looking. I have a fatty liver (big ass surprise there!). I don’t drink, smoke, drink coffee or eat animal protein but that is NOT enough to be healthy!

By my fourth clear scan I was feeling pretty dang cocky. Slowly, all my old beloved foods began to creep back into my diet. After my clear scans the end of June of this year, I went wild. I gained twenty-five pounds in three months by eating from my favorite food groups; fat, salt, processed foods and sugar.

Well I paid the price.

A month ago I went to LA for my three month scan. They found two masses in my abdominal cavity. One was 3.2 cm and the other 1.7 cm. How had they grown so fast when my other tumor was so slow growing? I was freaked out and scared to death! As my doctor continued talking to me, all I heard was cancer is back WA WA WA WA WA like in the Charlie Brown cartoons. I was beyond stunned.

I called Mel and sent texts to a few friends. Other than that I didn’t want to talk about it to anyone. I think I was more upset about having to go through chemo again than hearing the cancer had returned. I hate chemo so much (of course who wouldn’t!).

The trip home was sad. I was alone and as close to a panic as I have ever been in my life (and I am not a panicky type person). I vowed to eat better for the rest of my life (a promise I plan on keeping!).

So far I have had two cycles of chemo. I am on some of the same drugs and some different drugs and it has hit me harder than the last time. It now takes week before I feel well enough to get dressed or talk to anyone on the phone. Luckily, most of my friends know that and they give me space and just send a text or brief email telling me they are thinking of me. They know not to send too many because just reading is a chore as chemo has really done a number on my eyesight this time too.

Poor Sir C has had to do everything once again and that is a LOT because he is trying to get rid of thirty-five years of crap so we can sell this place. He is overseeing the painting and repair of the house, the cleaning up of the grounds and so much more as well as taking care of seven dogs on his own.

We hope to leave for Temecula in early November but it will depend on how I feel. I want to get back to trialing again! Pankies is sitting on 10 double Qs and I would love to finish her MACH.

There are so many things I want to do. I want to watch my Grandollars grow up, get married and have their own kids. I have a coupled of books in me and I want to see the Shetland Islands and Greece and Sicily! I want to live in a house again!!!! Sadly, we must sell the farm before that can happen. But most of all, I want to grow older with and torment Sir C for many more years to come. I need this chemo to work. I need to be positive but that is proving extremely difficult right now.

Everyone has a cure for me. Just take this and you will live. Just drink that and you will find a miracle cure. I know they all mean well but I am overwhelmed with things to take.

Doctors tell me they can’t do surgery on the tumors where they are. Perhaps if the chemo shrinks them they will. They don’t know. As advanced as science is, in the big scheme of things we know nothing about cancer really. Chemotherapy is so barbaric. It is right up there with bloodletting and leaches.

In 1995 I watched my sister Pam die of cancer when she was fifty. She had melanoma. She lived with it for twenty years but eventually, it got the best of her. Tumors popped up here and they would treat, then there and they would treat. Finally, there were just too many to treat and she left this earth. I wish they knew more now but they don’t.

I feel like I am in a real life game of Whac-A-Mole, only it is more like Whac-A-Tumor. Science is in its infancy when it comes to cancer so it is like watching a toddler play Whac-A-Mole.

Treating cancer is like watching a toddler play Whac-A-Mole!

Please send me healing thoughts and prayers. I need all I can get. So does Sir C.


  1. BIG prayers going up from Texas for you and yours!!

  2. Helen I am so sorry to hear this news. I am sending loving healing thoughts your way. You are brave to share this with your wider circle of friends and admirers. May you, Mel, & all your loved ones have many more great years together.

  3. Helen, you can beat this. Your strength, humor, Mel’s love and your pure stubbornness will pull you through. I am nearby and available – let me know what I can do to support you.

    And your writings and warnings have already saved lives. Thank you.

  4. Hi Helen,
    I am so sorry that you are going through this! Sending prayers and support to both you and Mel.


  5. This is horrible. I am so sorry. You’re in my heart. XO

  6. Bugger! Only positive thoughts!

  7. I don’t know you, but I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and love it! And I’ve come to appreciate and love the woman that shines through the words that you share. I want you to know I’m praying for you. And I thank you for smacking me on the back of my head about sticking to a healthy diet. I have health issues and warnings (not cancer yet, thank God) that could be fixed if I would smarten up and change my eating lifestyle for good, but it’s so easy to fall back into old habits. You’ve reminded me that I have to start paying attention again. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing.

  8. Well Dammit! Get better and beat this all to shit!

  9. I am sorry to read this Helen. I will be praying for a complete recovery for you and minimization of the chemo side effects. I hope I can connect with you at another agility trial and you will tell me what you think of the pup I get in the spring. Take Care, Connie Kaplan

  10. Helen and Mel, I’m so sorry for what you are both going through. Wish you were closer so that your agility friends could help you and Mel out more. Healing thoughts and best wishes.

  11. Helen, I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and my prayers are with you. You’re a fighter, so I know you have that going for you.

  12. Sending many positive and healing thoughts from me and licks from Rudy. Hugs to you, and to Mel for being an awesome caregiver and Jack-of-all-Trades. Life sucks and can be so unfair at times. I hope the good days between treatments keep getting better and I am glad you got to have fun with a bunch of Poodle puppies. Keep strong, the dog and Poodle community is rooting for you.

  13. Helen, I have read your blog for years and so respect the fact that you say “out loud” what the rest of us only think about. And with great humor!!! Know that I am praying for healing and strength for you and Sir C.

  14. Thinking of you and Mel. Lots of prayers and positive thoughts coming your way.

  15. OK Helen, I talked to my Mom (we called her Woman and she loved that name). She is in heaven but when she was on earth she had a true presence with Mary and Jesus (but Mary was her favorite). Almost everything she prioritized and prayed for she got. So she is in heaven now and has even more influence that ever. I have asked to her to put you at the top of the list for big favors. She knows the superior importance of grandollars and MACH’s and Mel’s. Sending you love.

    • Kitty you brought a tear to my eyes and that does not easily happen. Thank you and love to you and your incredible mom. 🙂

  16. Dear Helen and Mel,
    Brent and I send you our love, support and prayers. Wish we lived closer so we could give you both a big (((hug))) and help you both.
    Stay strong and know how much you are loved and wished nothing but positive results. Love you guys. xxxxxxx

    • Thank you. Me too!

  17. So very sorry you have hit such a bump in the road. I am betting on you Helen. You, my dear, are tougher than the f’n cancer. Show the “C” who it’s play’in with. You can and will get thru this!!!!!

  18. Prayers, Good Thoughts, and Dog Agility Blessings. Every run will start with blessings for you!

  19. Thinking of you every day, wishing you strength for this fight.

  20. Fuck. I am so sorry.

    Sent from my iPad


  21. This is such horrible news Helen. I wish it wasn’t so. Life can be so overwhelming and haunting, here’s to a break on your health status and some peace for you and Mel.

  22. So incredibly sorry to hear this, Helen. Sending all the positive vibes I can your way.. and thinking of you both!

  23. When you get better, I will come watch the Hooligans so you can take a trip. Tell Pankies, I am coming and Crush that I will put on Turner and Hooch for her. You are a warrior.

    • You are so kind Laura. I love you.

  24. Helen and Mel, so sorry you are going through this again. Healing thoughts and prayers are sent to you both.

  25. I will keep you in my prayers to send peace and healing your way.

  26. Dear Helen (and Mel) I am sending up prayers to an awesome God That already has control of the outcome. I hope you ae familiar with Him, That is the only comfort I know to offer in this horrible situation. But I will pray without ceasing….

  27. Sending prayers for you, Helen.

  28. Sigh. Sending positive healing thoughts your way. Take care, Helen.

  29. Helen, this sucks. Crap. Crap. Crap.

    I’m pulling for you — and for Mel too. I can’t wait to read that *next* book of yours. Definitely thinking of you and Mel and the pack.

    Beat cancer. Flat. Smashed flat. And turned into tiny little molecules that can be blown away, never to come back together again.

  30. Helen, I am sending you healing thoughts, asking the universe to watch over you, Sir Cussalot and the many puppies! This really sucks the big one! Sell the property in WA and get your ass down here to Temecula! Don’t know if you are interested in reading this but here it is anyway… Now, just concentrate on getting well!

  31. I am so sorry you are having to go through these awful times. You are in my prayers, my friend. Toby

  32. Stunned. Thinking of you with healing prayer, and love to you both.
    You are are a fine example of bravery in the face of challenge.God Speed, and may Love hold you up and laughter too.

  33. I will keep you and your family in my prayers, Helen.

  34. Hi Helen, Just a note to let you know I’m sure hoping the doctors can get you “fixed” pretty quick ! It seems like you and I are monopolizing the sick bay ! If anyone wants to take our place, it’s fine by me ! Get well ! I’ll try to do the same . . . Ron

    • Thanks Ron. It sure sucks eh? I wish you the best.

  35. Well SHIT! Helen-you are one of my all time favorite people, I think you know that–we just ‘get’ each other…so damn it! Sending big swear words and swords for the cancer, and for you, love and hugs! No reply needed, just know I am thinking of you, and cursing cancer. Love ya!

  36. thinking healing thoughts and prayers for you Helen. Hugs…..

  37. {{{{{{{hugggs}}}}}}}}
    You will beat this!!

  38. Prayers your way!!!

  39. Sending lots of Love, Prayers and White Light for both Helen and Mel.

  40. sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!

  41. Oh no. Sending you healing thoughts. I’m so sorry you and your family have to go through this.

  42. Sending positive thoughts

  43. This s#*$ happening to you HAS to stop! Let me know when you make it down. I will even fix you a good vegetarian meal! Prayers and paws crossed that the wack a mole game stops!

  44. Much love and healing (heeling) thoughts sent to you and 66 million gold stars to Sir C. for being the amazing husband he is.

  45. Sending many, many positive thoughts your way.

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