Amazing Women over 50: Gwendie’s Struggle with Cancer


Gwendie, who writes occasionally for this blog, has been struggling with cancer for the past four years.  She just suffered another setback, as she describes first in an email she sent and then in a blog entry–but, amazing woman that she is, she is still managing to keep her incredible, positive outlook on things.  I think Gwendie should be a role model for all of us in how to meet life’s challenges head-on and never lose hope.  As my friend Barb said, Gwendie is “living with cancer, not dying from it.”  Jane

Gwendie’s email: Well, guys and gals, it had been a relatively quiet several months here in Gwendieland until about 3 weeks ago when I suddenly “lost” my voice and developed a dry cough.  After considering (and eliminating) the various possible causes (virus, allergies, bacterial infection), a CT scan confirmed that I have more and larger tumors in my chest and neck.  So the assumption is that the loss of voice is related to something pressing on my larynx or perhaps a nerve that innervates the voice box.

Anyhow, of course that means a change in treatment.  So, Monday I’ll be starting a batch of new (to me) drugs.  For those of you who have seen me with short frizzy white hair, forget that look.  It’ll be gone soon.  Hopefully the replacement, should we ever get to that, will not have the frizzy component.  And if you call me, I can at the moment speak only in a croaky whisper.  Also, I may be heading off to Duke Medical Center for a consult there.  Sigh.  But at four plus years and counting (since diagnosis), I can’t complain.  Well, I could complain, but I won’t.


I’m shifting gears again.

I’ve been in “drive” for a number of months, cruising along with the same meds, the same side effects, the same tumor markers, for long enough now that it—the condition—was beginning to feel “normal” (to paraphrase Prince Charles—whatever “normal” is).  Anyhow, the bizarre night about 3 weeks ago when I kept waking up with a sharp cough (and now realize I was probably trying to catch my breath) was the beginning of the shift in the gears—a slide toward reverse, which I hope will somehow come to a stop and then shift again, probably at the beginning, into first gear—slow and with lots of effort, but hopefully, quickly move into second and third and even fourth or overdrive—although I’d be more than happy with third gear!

Just not this reverse, please.

Not only do I not like the physical symptoms, but it scares me.  I’m not a big fan of backing up.  Going forward has always felt a lot better to me.  Oh, my.  This analogy is bringing on a cough.  A bad sign that I’ve slipped out of neutral again into reverse. Damn these gears, shifting without any input from me.  Well, I’m ready to take control again.

Bring on the new chemo and let’s shift back into first gear.

2 thoughts on “Amazing Women over 50: Gwendie’s Struggle with Cancer

  1. Your article touched me very much. I am sending an angel to you so that you can pray each day that she will keep you safe on your journey = full speed ahead gal. hugs sal

  2. Wow, Gwendie, you really are an incredible role-model and a dang funny writer. Thank you for that.

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