“Skate Your Butt Off” — Fundraiser for the Anal Cancer Foundation

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Skate Your Butt Off – Sunday May 19, 2019 in Santa Clarita, California

I have been invited to attend the “Skate Your Butt Off” Roller Event fundraiser for the Anal Cancer Foundation. My event tickets are purchased, I have a travel buddy (Judy Lee-Wing) and our flights are booked!

I will be showcasing my book “Cancer Up the Wazoo: Stories, Information, and Hope for Those Affected by Anal Cancer” and there will be some copies available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds from each book sold will go towards the Anal Cancer Foundation.

If you would like more information on the event, or if you would like to donate funds to this cause, please contact the Anal Cancer Foundation. Alternatively, you can always contact me:

 

Thanks for reading!

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

 

 

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The ​Long Road to Recovery

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Anyone who has had or has cancer or any other chronic illness or disease knows there is a certain amount of time when they feel they are truly on the road to recovery, recovered, or have discovered their “new normal.” I am one of those people.

I was diagnosed with anal cancer in April 2017. I finished treatment in August 2017. One and a half years later, I can say I am starting to feel “recovered” for the most part – “still recovering” in other areas –– and have discovered my new normal.

My new normal includes ongoing and long-term physical rehabilitation as a result of pelvic radiation damage. I am not complaining (radiation saved my life!), I am just sharing that although some people look great after a big ordeal like cancer, there could be ongoing battles that you may know nothing about. Invisible wounds and scars are very common for people who have experienced cancer.

Recently I attended an art show, and I received a few compliments on my appearance (the picture above was taken at the end of a Hawaiian vacation last month). I know I am feeling much better physically, and my self-image is shaping up. My hair is almost all grown back and highlighted again; I am back to yoga once weekly, and I have started back on my elliptical and doing stretches and weights. I even started wearing my FitBit again. My modest goal of 6,000 steps daily is still a ways away, but at least I am working towards it.

I have also been enjoying my new “intermittent fasting” lifestyle and my relationship with food. I am feeling in control of my life and my body. It’s taken almost two years, but I finally feel like each day I feel better and better.

I am enjoying moderating and managing support groups on Facebook. The “Anal_Cancer Support” group on Facebook is doing amazingly well and has recently achieved the 10-year milestone and the 300th member. Having cancer has expanded my social network by leaps and bounds. A profound and harrowing experience can bring more people into your life – if you want it. You just have to open up and ask for it.

The “Dementia Caregiver Solutions Support Group” is also growing and the admin team recently expanded to include two new moderators who are actual caregivers. They join three professionals to moderate and keep things on track. I find comfort in knowing I have given caregivers this safe forum to share, vent, and get advice for such a difficult time in their lives.

I am also pursuing other volunteer opportunities to help me reach more people who may benefit from my experience, passion, and support. I seem to have an infinite amount of “help” to give, and I am looking for ways to do so –– in a way that will keep me balanced and not over-taxed.

I continue to write for a company called Trualta. I am enjoying my writing projects and look forward to writing for more companies and individuals as the opportunities present themselves.

I am also helping people get married, sort out their problems, write books, develop websites and more. I am starting to consider finishing up my book on aging well (this will be my fifth book!).  Where all this will take me? Who knows. The long road to recovery takes us places that we never dreamed of. I am looking forward to continuing on this journey.

Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW

 

Cancer Up the Wazoo Book Launch — Photos and Video

Reading

Angela Gentile reading from Cancer Up the Wazoo

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Purple suit to match the ribbon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday, September 27, 2018, my two latest books Cancer Up the Wazoo and How to Edit an Anthology were presented and launched at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was also a fundraiser for the “CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.” 60 people attended and Tache Pharmacy sponsored the beverages. There were also decorated sugar cookies (made with love by me, Sheila and Simone) and brownies (made by Cupp, my husband).

 

Hope

Cancer Up the Wazoo, How to Edit an Anthology, Hope symbol, and Me (Angela Gentile)

I also revealed my latest project — a symbol of HOPE. It includes the anal cancer ribbon in green and purple and a dragonfly. The logo was created with the talented help from Fusion Communications. The dragonfly is a creation of Chinese brush artist Virginia Lloyd-Davies. Her artwork is also found in the book, Cancer Up the Wazoo. I have plans to help share this beautiful logo with those as a symbol of strength and hope.

Although there are 25 people who contributed to the book, only 5 of us were able to be at the launch. These three short speeches were very touching.

Speakers

Three guest speakers. Left to right: Lynda Sie Greaves, Maureen Warren, Me (Angela Gentile) and Virginia Davis Wilson).

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Me and Father Sam, one of my esteemed guests!

The presentation was 26 minutes in total. I have put it on YouTube, in two parts.

Part 1:

Part 2:

 

Signing

People bought books and I signed them if they wanted me to!

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Overall, the launch was a success and we raised $300 for the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation! In addition to that, $1 from the sale of each copy of Wazoo will be donated to the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation.

To purchase copies, you can find Cancer Up the Wazoo and How to Edit an Anthology on Amazon or at McNally Robinson Booksellers.

 

A special thank you to all who attended, donated and purchased books.

Warm regards,

Angela G. Gentile

www.AngelaGGentile.com

Cancer Up the Wazoo Quotes

Please feel free to share these photos and quotes! We are happy to share!

Angela and Alan self-affirmations with Michaels' photo

Self-Affirmations

 

Angela Rare cancers deserve attention

Rare Cancers Deserve Attention, Too

 

Angelas quote on sharons photo 2

Integrative Medicine and Cancer

 

Joana photo quote

Anal Cancer and Shame

 

Jodi quote

The Impact of Cancer

 

Joys funny quote

Funny Quote from Joy

 

 

Laura's photo and quote PRD

Pelvic Radiation Disease and Cancer

 

Maria photo quote

Anal_Cancer Support group on Facebook

 

Marshall quote with my pic

Anal Cancer, Shame and Stigma

 

Maureens quote on Asger's photo

Cancer and friendship

 

Michael sitting on mountain quote

Cancer and Resilience – Inspiration

 

Peggy photo and quote

Anal Cancer, Hemorrhoids and HPV

 

Sharie Vance depression quote

Cancer, Anger and Depression

 

Sharon Basic quote

Thankful Survivor of Cancer

 

Sheila's quote

Cancer, Friendship and Health

 

Sue inspiration quote

Cancer and Inspiring Others

 

Virginia quote Asger's photo

Cancer and Mother Bear

 

Calvin Nokes assbassador quote

Assbassador of Anal Cancer

 

alan quote standing

Cancer, Guides and Mentors

Book Launch—September 27, 2018, 7:00 p.m.

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BOOK LAUNCH: Thursday, September 27, 2018, 7:00pm. McNally Robinson Booksellers—1120 Grant Ave., Winnipeg. Refreshments served!

Print

Generously sponsored by Tache Pharmacy

 

Inspirational. Empowering. Enlightening.

Anal cancer strikes approximately 1 in 500 people, and incidence is on the rise. More women than men are affected. There is little information on this rare, frightening, embarrassing, and often-stigmatized cancer. Although treatment can be quite traumatizing for some, the outcomes are usually positive. Being prepared can help you deal with this life-changing diagnosis.

Cancer Up the Wazoo includes chapters and excerpts written by those whose lives have been affected by anal cancer. Topics include:

  • Anal cancer basics
  • Help for the newly diagnosed
  • Pelvic radiation disease (PRD)
  • Mental health and coping
  • Cancer “blessings”
  • Sexual issues (that arise)
  • Shame and stigma
  • Family and friends’ experiences
  • Advocating for change
  • Helpful supplies list
  • Support and resource reference

… and much more!

This book is filled with tips and personal stories to help prepare and support you (and your loved ones). You will laugh, cry, and be amazed as you read stories of courage and resilience from people who “get it.” There are many resources and supports available to help you cope. You are not alone: Cancer Up the Wazoo will help you feel more confident, prepared, and hopeful as you face this daunting cancer diagnosis.

How to Edit an Anthology

 

Angela will also be launching her other new book, How to Edit an Anthology! Come to hear about both books! 

 

 

Other books by Angela:

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Angela G. Gentile, B.S.W., M.S.W., is a registered social worker and is employed as a Geriatric Mental Health Clinician in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is married to Agapito and has two adult children, Lorenzo and Simone. Angela enjoys writing, reading, and travelling and considers herself a realistic optimist. For more info: www.AngelaGGentile.com

How a Dog or Puppy Can Bring Joy and Companionship into Your Life

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When I was going through my cancer ordeal, my dog, Rocky (a senior), was my constant companion. He lay beside me on my bed, he followed me downstairs when I went to get something to eat, and on the days I was bedbound, he seemed to be aware of my plight. When my family went out to work or school, or attended family functions that I wasn’t well enough to go to, Rocky was there with me. He seemed to get me more than anyone else. We bonded in a special way. I was never alone.

After my treatments were completed (which were absolutely torturous!), my daughter Simone started talking about wanting a new puppy. She was saying how she was missing having a little girl-dog around, so I encouraged her to get one for herself. I told her we would help her look after it. It didn’t take her long to decide and she went for it!

Well, what a joy this little one has brought to our lives. The fun and excitement started when my daughter called us to say one of the breeders she called said she had puppies that were just a few days old, and she could come and take a look! Soon after, Simone and I made plans to go out to the country to see the puppies. They were purebred Havanese (like a small poodle).

Simone picked out a blond female and named her Berkeley. We visited her every week as she grew old enough to be weaned from her mother. I (we) had something fun, sweet and exciting to look forward to. This helped get my mind off my cancer ordeal. Rocky was still my trusty companion, and this little addition was going to bring a new dynamic to our household. The anticipation of the day we could bring her home was killing us! We were in love.

Dog-Quotes-1

When we went to get Berkeley to bring her back to her forever home, it was as if we had brought home a new baby! We had visitors, puppy gifts, even a “Puppy Shower” my daughter planned. Simone wanted to bond with the puppy so she made sure she looked after all the pup’s needs – such as comfort, food, water and a warm comfy place to sleep. She had to get up in the night to let her out to do her business. The household and family dynamics were changed. Even Rocky had to adapt to having a little one around. Heck, I am even called Gramma now!

I was house-bound for many months during my healing and recovery, so I was the main one helping with the house-training. Often I played with Berkeley as she had lots of energy and a playful spirit (when she was awake). When she started teething, we had to make sure she had lots of appropriate chew toys and made sure the house was “puppy-proofed.”

Berkeley has added so much joy to our lives. I can’t imagine what my recovery journey would have been like without Rocky and our new little one. Raising a puppy is hard work, but the rewards are tremendous.

Please share your dog (or pet) story.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com.

A Wild, Life-Changing Roller Coaster Ride in the Dark (Book Review)

51+TXv-YH+LIt was very hard to put down Michele Longabaugh’s book, If You’re Not Laughing, You’re Dying: The dawning of hope from the shadows of darkness…blogging through Stage 4 Anal Cancer (2012). Being diagnosed with anal cancer myself, I was drawn to read this book in the hopes of getting some insight into the disease and how to manage it. Being diagnosed with this type of cancer in her late 40s makes Michele relatively young (as the average age of diagnosis of anal cancer is in the early 60s). Anal cancer is quite rare, and can be difficult to find support. Not only do some consider it a stigmatizing and shameful disease, the treatment for it is torturous. Michele’s courage and the sharing of her experience helps destigmatize anal cancer and her rise from shame to advocacy is very inspiring.

The book starts with a beautifully written Foreword by Michele’s loving husband, Jerry. The way he describes her writing is “random, raw and honest.” I would definitely agree with the random and raw, as this book is comprised of her blog posts (typos and all!) written over a period of about two years. The honest part, well, we’ll have to take his word for it!

The writings are very engaging, and each chapter (blog post) has a theme and a story or insight to share. The posts are sometimes upbeat and laughable, sometimes they are stories of the hell and torture Michele endures (which is hard to take). Sometimes they are loving tales of family, friends or healthcare providers. The reader can learn a lot about Michele’s experiences with cancer and its treatment (including a lot of crying, grief and scary parts) and she shares stories about things like medications, “narcotic naps”, ointments, radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and her fondness for “Dr. Cutie” and her blog-worthy visits with the “butt doctor.”

Michele tends to rely heavily on family, friends, and prayer (she’s Lutheran) for support and strength during her cancer ordeal. I like this about her story, because I can totally relate in many ways. In addition to having a loving husband, she has three outstanding children – Maggie, AJ and CJ. Both Michele and her husband sing high praises for Michele’s sister, “sissy” Renee, who is described as an angel on earth. Michele’s two “besties” Laurie and Marie, also shine as two very important and special people in her life. Michele is a very popular, kind and loving person, and it shows in her writing.

Michele’s adventures of checking things off her “Bucket List” makes for some interesting stories and helps her find joy and pleasure. There are plenty of tears and suffering (both physical and mental) in her life, and she is able to appreciate humourus moments by laughing along or making an odd joke here and there. Near the end of the book, Michele shares some insight about her “Un-Bucket List.” These are things she would never want to do.

Overall, this book did what it was supposed to do; it helped inspire me and gave me hope that this fight against cancer can be won. We can all join Michele on this wild roller coaster ride in the dark by continuing to follow her blog on tumbler – ihavebuttwhat.tumblr.com.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

Virgil’s Story About His Experience With Mesothelioma

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Danger Asbestos – Photo credit: www.caslab.com

Please welcome our guest writer, Virgil Anderson. He has a diagnosis of mesothelioma which is a rare type of cancer that presents itself mainly in people aged fifty to seventy. He says over 90% of mesothelioma cases are found in people aged 55 plus and it disproportionately affects men due to the correlation with working in the trades. Virgil is from the USA. If you are looking for Canadian content, you can visit the Canadian Mesothelioma Foundation for more information. For more information on asbestos, visit Web MD.

My Cancer Story

My name is Virgil Anderson, and my experience with mesothelioma has been a difficult one. I was exposed to asbestos through the work I did as a young man and am paying the price now by being diagnosed with this rare and terrible cancer. It causes uncomfortable, painful symptoms, limits my ability to get around, and has left me with deep emotional scars. And yet, I have managed to maintain hope and a positive perspective as a I fight this disease.

Asbestos in the Workplace

My story begins with my upbringing in West Virginia. We all worked hard in my family, and had to in order to make ends meet. As soon as I was old enough for a real, paying job, I got into demolition. This was as a teenager when I was young and strong and able to do this tough, physical work. As I helped tear down old buildings I remember being constantly surrounded by dust. Only later did I realize that there were asbestos fibers in the dust and that I was inadequately protected from it.

Later I was able to get more skilled work. I learned to be an auto mechanic, which was much more interesting work and paid better. Throughout my career in this industry I also did work that caused me to be exposed to asbestos. I tore out hood liners, which had been made with asbestos to protect against the heat of the engine. I removed and replaced brakes and clutches, also made with asbestos. Opening up those parts, the dust would fly, and again it was asbestos.

A Mesothelioma Diagnosis – The Risks of Asbestos

All of those tiny fibers of asbestos I inhaled over the years would come back to haunt me. Not everyone who is exposed to asbestos gets sick, but those who do suffer from the damage the small, needle-like fibers cause as they lodge in the tissues of the body. Because the fibers are often inhaled, they get stuck in the tissue around the lungs, called the pleura. Here they cause damage that can lead to a number of illnesses.

In my case, that illness would turn out to be pleural mesothelioma, a cancer of the pleural tissue. Around the age of 50, after working for decades, I began to experience respiratory symptoms. When I went to the ER, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, but antibiotics didn’t help and my symptoms only got worse. Eventually I was correctly diagnosed, and found out I had developed mesothelioma after years of working with and around asbestos.

Treatment for Mesothelioma

Getting treatment for mesothelioma was challenging, as there are few specialists qualified to work with this rare cancer. Ultimately I was able to secure financial assistance and care through the National Cancer Institute. I was not a candidate for surgery, but I have had chemotherapy treatments to slow the growth of the tumors.

What really keeps me going and motivates me to keep fighting are my family and my faith. Without family I don’t know where I would be. Since I can’t work I can’t earn and I rely on them to provide me with a home and to take care of me. As I fight this awful cancer, I know I may not survive it, but I take comfort in my faith and in the time I still have with the people I love. My message to others with this disease is to find your own source of comfort and inspiration. Keep fighting, and enjoy the important things in life.

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Written by Virgil Anderson

 

 

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com

A Story of Cancer Survival That Will Touch Your Heart and Soul (and Funny Bone!) – Book review

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Brown Ribbon by Robbi Woolard

Psychologist Dr. Robbi Woolard is a survivor of a rare form of cancer. She was encouraged by two of her friends to put her experiences and thoughts into a book (eBook for Kindle). “Brown Ribbon” is part memoir, part self-help book and is written with a humorous slant (a story about a doctor and a commode made me laugh out loud!). She has an “incredibly strong faith” and her beliefs in God and heaven are referred to throughout the book. She is clearly not afraid of death and is a very brave and courageous woman. She believes accidents, illnesses such as cancer and other traumas are random events and no one is immune (no matter how well one lives their life).

Woolard writes in an entertaining, yet educational and inspiring tone. The book could have used some editing, however, the reader can forgive this oversight as she speaks in a conversational tone and the stories flow nicely. There are some repetitive themes, but overall it’s an easy and pleasurable read.

The warrior spirit in Woolard spares us the gruesome details of her anal cancer treatment. She gives the reader just enough information which helps one to imagine the suffering she experienced. She writes in a way that reassures the reader that although cancer and it’s treatment are difficult, the alternative is worse.

For those who want closure, they will find the last story of her post-anal cancer treatment to get a “colposcopy” a bit frustrating. The chapter called “Caving” does not provide the reader with the results of her biopsy, but Woolard states she hopes she had experienced the last appointment with that doctor (we can only hope along with her!).

In the final chapter, Woolard shares her own personal growth experience. I found this chapter called “Everything I Have Learned from Cancer” especially inspiring (as I am also affected by anal cancer myself). Many of her insights such as “setting new goals after cancer” and “improving connections with others” are very positive and uplifting. I can definitely identify with her lessons learned. She states, “As I age, I’ve begun to believe something that I’d never pondered in years past. I’ve always assumed that all of both the good and the bad that we experience culminate in who we become. Now, drawing upon many decades of both ends of the experience spectrum, I think all of it should be credited with making us richer, deeper, more complete human beings.”

A recommended read for those affected by cancer, especially newly diagnosed anal cancer patients, their families and survivors of cancer.

Get your copy – Brown Ribbon: A Personal Journey Through Anal Cancer and the Adventure it Entailed (2016) by Robbi Woolard.

Angela G. Gentile

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Angela G. Gentile  MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author of the book, “Caring for a Husband with Dementia: The Ultimate Survival Guide”, “A Book About Burnout: One Social Worker’s Tale of Survival” and the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” app for iPhone and iPad. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is creator of the Facebook communities – “Aging Well for Women” as well as “God, Cancer and Me.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com