2011-11-03 / Features

Blog Helps Cancer Survivor Get Through Crisis

By Lisa Ermak
THE HOLLAND SENTINEL

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) – Marcia Lievense doesn’t feel bad or bitter despite all she has lost to cancer. In fact, the two-time breast cancer survivor calls her cancer a gift.

After battling the disease for years, she looks at life differently now, all thanks to family and friends – and a little positive thinking.

When the 57-year-old was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ in June 2002 after a routine mammogram, she was shocked, scared and in disbelief.

And when she was again diagnosed with breast cancer, this time with 1 HER2- positive breast cancer, in October 2009, she felt all the same emotions come flooding back.

But instead of viewing her second diagnosis as a negative force that would consume her life, she decided to focus her energy by re-igniting her love for writing, so she started a blog and called it “Marcia’s Marvelous Adventure.”

Her posts are riddled with stories that evoke laughter and smiles as she details her daily adventures of going to chemotherapy appointments, making the decision to get eyelash extensions and picking out wigs after losing her hair.

“You see the cup half full or half empty. I never got horribly sick, and I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I wanted to keep a sense of humor about everything.”

She also tells of the strange side effects that came along with chemo treatments, such as sensitive fingernails.

“Please don't be critical of my manicure, though ... it’s the best I could do under the circumstances,” she wrote in a blog post from March 2010.

Lievense said when she couldn't control what her body was doing as it tried to cope with the harsh treatments, she chose to control her attitude and the way she handled change.

“At first when (my hair) started coming out, I was so afraid that on a windy day blobs of it would be flying away,” she said. “Now I’ve been known to just pluck (my wig) off anywhere,” she said, laughing.

Lievense finished chemo in April 2010, and while she has stopped writing on her blog, she has kept her story alive by publishing her blog into a book by the same name.

Proceeds from the sales of Lievense's books are reinvested into the purchase of more books that are donated to cancer centers and doctors, as well as to individuals who request them.

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