- December 2006 - March 2007 updates

Tempe, Arizona
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences; all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
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archived news updates - December 2006 - March 2007

9-Mar-07 - Double Good News (from Liz)

Over the past few weeks I have had several tests—CT Scan, Scope and PET scan. The tests were done to check and see if I am ready for a reversal of my ostomy.

The CT and PET scan also show any cancer activity. I received news from my doctors that not only am I ready for a reversal but there is no evidence of cancer, Yahoo! Double good news!

Today I scheduled my reversal surgery for Wednesday, April 11th. There is about a 3 week recovery period for that surgery, piece of cake! :)

On Monday March 12th I will go to Portland, Oregon thru March 30th. My final training for the IRS, then I will be a fully trained IRS Agent. I have been working full days and handling it well, so I will do fine in Oregon.

Thank you for all of your prayers!

God Bless,

Liz :)

4-Mar-07 - Making a Difference in Africa

You can now see pictures of Joyce Anne's journey to Africa - among those she traveled with were her granddaughters (see her post below from Feb 17). Click here to see the pictures from the trip. This is truly an amazing family...

2-Mar-07 - Cancer Journey Update (from Liz)

Liz updated her Cancer Journey page on March 2, it has now been posted to the website.

17-Feb-07 - Update from Joyce (Liz's Mom)

(Webmaster note: This update from Liz's Mom gives you an indication of the type of family that Liz has. This is a family of people who serve others and have a positive outlook on life, despite personal challenges. Enjoy.)

Jambo! (Swahili greeting)

Travelers to Kenya or other countries in Africa are greeted with “Jambo.” How are you? A “Jambo” reply means “I am fine.” I spent the month of January in Africa—part of a group of 14 adventurers who journeyed there to do humanitarian work, visit schools and a home for street children, and go on two safaris. Twelve of us are family—cousins, grandchildren, brother, son, daughter, niece, and spouse. Two dear friends completed the number. I set the date for this trip two years ago with the Kenyan Children Foundation ( It took the better part of one year to complete all the logistics for travel and work schedule. Some of us worked at Nyumbani, a home for children who are HIV+. My brother, son and husband worked at another site building a shelter for folks who have to wait in line in hot sun to be seen at an AIDS clinic. Each evening we gathered in candlelight to share reflections of the day. As time passed these moments became more emotional and tender as we talked about our experiences. Ernest Hemingway wrote in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” that Africa burns the fat from your soul. Indeed it does. We loved the magical moments out on the Masai Mara and Samburu as we witnessed glorious sun rises and animals most of us had only seen in zoos or National Geographic. We were in our vehicle cages and they were free. A nice switch. We played with children as we worked to refurbish their home. Prior to our trip we had collected over 150 pounds of school and building supplies. My grandchildren saw how important school and learning is to children in Kibera, a slum outside Nairobi. Their school rooms are small with no conveniences but they are eager to be there. I know seeds were planted that will grow over time—both for us and the children we visited. There is much more to share but I wanted to give you a brief over view to explain why you have not heard from me since last year.

My wonderful, best friend Yvonne, came to stay with Liz while I was gone. I told Liz that her presence was for me more than for Liz. Knowing that Yvonne would be with Liz made it possible for me to leave her for the first time since last May. Email messages kept me up-to-date with Liz’s treatment and a couple of phone calls eased my mind the day Liz had her surgery to place the stint in her ureter. It was a good month for all of us.

When I returned home I noticed that Liz’s hair had grown, that she has more energy and her new regimen of alternative therapy self care was going well. Even though I had experienced Liz’s determination for months I was still amazed by her positive attitude and focus on healing—all areas of her life. Not long after I was home I came down with a horrible respiratory infection. I was so sick I could not visit Liz in the hospital when she had to be admitted for several days. Then one afternoon she walked in the front door and declared, “I’m home. Can you help me pack for my trip to Maryland?” Who else but Liz would leave the hospital one afternoon and be on a plane to Maryland in 36 hours. Nothing would keep her from joining her Penguin friends and participate in her first race since last May. I had no idea she planned to participate in the race!

Liz will have an outpatient procedure next Monday to determine if her body has healed enough to schedule her reversal surgery. That is her next goal and it cannot come soon enough. That surgery will be the grand finale. Over the past few weeks I have received numerous emails and phone calls about a new book called “The Secret.” I watched the Oprah show dedicated to revealing the principles of the secret—setting positive intentions, the law of attraction, and focusing on goals. The concept is ancient. As I viewed Oprah’s show and listened to the panel share their approaches to the secret I thought to myself that Liz has been practicing this belief for many months. She has discovered the power of setting intentions and attracting positive outcomes to her life. I stand with her in the belief that she will attain her goal! has become a force for change world wide. We continue to receive notes from people who do not know Liz but who relate to her journey and are inspired by her courage and story. There are ebbs and flows of the journey as events pile upon us and then retreat to calm pools.

I will stay in touch. Blessings to you all.

Joyce Anne

24-Jan-07 - Cancer Journey Update (from Liz)

Liz has updated her Cancer Journey page on January 17, it has now been posted to the website.

30-Dec-06 - Cancer Journey Update (from Liz)

Liz has updated her Cancer Journey page.

20-Dec-06 - Christmas Greetings (from Liz)

Greetings Family and Friends,

Many of you have been wondering if I was still in the hospital; well I am home. I was released last Monday 12/18. I have updated my Cancer Journey on the web page; I am trying to update that weekly.

I went back to work last Wednesday 12/13 and made it through Friday 12/15, I was in for half days Wed and Thurs, and then I took home a big case I am working on from home. I am so blessed to have the job I do and the incredible people I work with have donated so many hours to me and even friends from different federal agencies. I can’t wait until I can give back, I will always look at solicitations for donated hours differently now.

Each day is a challenge for me……trying to get as much sleep as I can is difficult. Since May I am up at least twice a night, usually 3 times--either I have to go to the bathroom, I'm in pain and need some medication, or my stoma leaks and I have to clean that up. I pray each night for a good night’s sleep and can’t wait to have that prayer answered.

I am also struggling with the decision of Chemo, trying to read as much as I can. I read stories of those that did Chemo and passed the 5 year mark, those who did not do Chemo and l passed 5 year, and then there are those that did Chemo and the cancer came back within the year. My Dad had Colon cancer at the age of 40 and refused Chemo and is still alive today. He even had prostrate cancer several years ago. What an inspiration. I do know and my oncologist agrees that nothing should happen until January. I need to build my body back up after being in the hospital last week.

I have a consult next week to have a Kidney stint put in; my left ureter is not working as well because of scar tissue build-up, directly related to the radiation. It is an out patient procedure but with general anesthesia. I suspect this will be done in early January.

I will also say that many of you have received the Itter Christmas card each year; I think it will be a New Year’s card this year. I hope you all understand.

Christmas this year will be spent with family and friends and just enjoying the time together in Arizona.

I wish all of you a Very Merry Christmas!



16-Dec-06 - Cancer Journey update posted (from Liz)

Liz has updated her Cancer Journey page to include her trip to NYC and developments since then. Click here to read it

7-Dec-06 - New York City: Dec 27 - Nov 1, 2006 (from Joyce)

(I am writing to you from Liz’s bedside at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. Liz was admitted yesterday afternoon. She was experiencing dizziness, light headed sensations, internal bleeding and general weakness. I knew something was wrong and her doctor agreed. Last night she received two units of whole blood. Today’s tests may reveal the cause of her symptoms.)

Seeds of hope were planted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) medical staff
Dr. Dickson, Dr. Deborah Schrag and Dr. Jimmie Holland. When Liz’s local oncology team reached the end of the road with Liz I called my brother, Dr. John E. Ware (, to ask for help. He is very connected at a national and international level with the medical community. Besides being a supportive and loving brother and uncle these past months, John offered to make phone calls on Liz’s behalf the minute we needed to seek additional opinions about her unique case. We had an appointment at MSKCC within two days of our first phone call. My understanding is that this premier cancer center is available to anyone who seeks their assistance. John shortened our waiting time by connecting us with the perfect team for Liz’s case. We sent them all of the records they needed, including original tumor slides, to evaluate Liz’s unusual case and make a recommendation.

We were set to fly to NYC on Monday, November 27 at 4:00 p.m. Thank God for the late afternoon flight time! Liz had a bad fall that morning that required emergency treatment. In an attempt to chase Marcus after he broke free of his leash during a morning walk, Liz’s feet refused to follow her brain’s direction to run! She fell flat on her face, skinned her knees, tore her stoma and began to bleed from her open incision. A quick visit to her surgeon gave us the “go ahead” to travel. Just watch the bleeding, he said. Our late afternoon flight was perfectly timed to allow room for last minute drama.

Liz was a good sport and wore a mask on the flight to NYC. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning, took a taxi to our Marriott Courtyard Hotel, and settled in for our NYC adventure. We were surprised to feel the warm air; we had prepared for freezing weather. It was colder in Tempe, Arizona than NYC during our entire visit! We were delighted the next morning to learn that the MSKCC out patient clinic was connected to our hotel. All we had to do was take the elevator to the ground floor, go through double doors and we were in the clinic. People come from all over the world to seek help at MSKCC. We knew that everyone we saw in the waiting rooms shared unique circumstances. We were not alone. Our dear friend Naomi Rhode, who lives in Phoenix, AZ, joined us for the consultation. She was in NYC attending a dental convention.

Dr. Deborah Schrag came at the end of our appointment after Dr. Dickson did the initial work up. Presentation is everything! She entered the room in a burst of enthusiasm, hands flung towards the ceiling as she announced that Liz had rectal cancer written all over her records. There was no doubt that she had a rare form of a genetic cancer labeled HNPCC. She proceeded to describe this cancer in great detail along with a recommended protocol for treatment. You have three mountains to climb, Liz, and you have already climbed two of them. The final mountain is the “Mop Up.” You can do this, Liz. You have already climbed two mountains. You can climb the third. You run marathons. You can climb this mountain.

Liz bought in to Dr. Schrag’s energetic consultation. She will undergo five months of additional chemo and delay her reversal surgery until next June. To prepare for this treatment a port will be surgically inserted. The treatment is harsh but no more difficult than what she has already experienced. That same afternoon we met with Dr. Jimmie Holland, a MSKCC psychiatrist whose 35-year career has focused on the human side of cancer—the mind/body connection and how cancer affects families as well as the cancer patient.

We spent our remaining three days in NYC having fun. Liz’s Penguin friends, Harriet and Daniel, took us to dinner Tuesday night. For those who still do not know about the Penguins, they are an international running group. Their motto is The miracle is not that I finished but that I had the courage to start. Our visit to the top of the Empire State Building on Wednesday was a first for both of us. A dear Iona Sister, Jody Donohue, provided us a fabulous pre-show tea at Miss Mendel’s. Unfortunately Jody became ill just before our date but she arranged for a driver to pick us up, wait for us to finish tea and then take us to Broadway for our Mary Poppins show. On Thursday evening Nellie Sabin took us on a tour of NYC holiday lights. Friday we managed to see the Radio City Music Hall Holiday Spectacular before we caught our flight home to Phoenix—delayed for several hours by an eastern winter storm.

Liz is receiving the same sort of wonderful care that Banner Desert always provides. Yesterday they inserted a PICC Line so she does not have to fuss with any more needle pokes. It’s about time! We have both learned that days do not always unfold as we may have planned. Patience and belief in the process keep us on track.


November 2006 and earlier news updates