I’ve regained the ability to write and will be expanding my cancer blog offerings

Getting back in the saddle again.

It has been almost four months since I last posted on my cancer blog. A lot has happened in this time-frame which is well worth blogging about; but that will come in subsequent blogs. In today’s post all I really want to do is let the many followers of my blog know I am still here. Also, I have many long-term plans for this site which I am very excited about.

Yes I am OK

Before going on I want to reiterate that I am OK. I have received a lot of emails and messages from people over the last few months wondering what happened to me. I plan to go into details in further posts. In the meantime, I can say that I believe a combination of brain fog and depression had set in. As I write my posts about what happened during the last few months, I hope other cancer patients in similar situations will somehow feel comfort knowing they are not alone. Hopefully anyone having problems will reach out for help. If I had reached out for help I believe things would have gone differently for me.

The exciting news: Videos

I do have some news I am very excited about! Just last week I closed the deal to have a sponsor for a series of video interviews I will be recording/editing/publishing. The official announcement will be coming in a few weeks. This will be a great opportunity for me to record the stories of other cancer patients and their families. It is my hope that these videos will be useful for the many people whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

Relaunching podcast effort

The other bit of news I have is that my effort to do a cancer podcast for patients and family members is being renewed. I have mentioned this in the past and was about to start the podcast. Unfortunately the person I had partnered with to do the podcast did not survive her clinical trials. That is another future post, and also one of the many factors that led me into depression. Now that I am ‘back in the saddle’ I plan to make the podcast a reality!

Sponsors for the blog

This blog is also going to have some general sponsors coming shortly. The details for this are still being worked out. But I want to assure my readers that having sponsors will not impact how I blog in any manner. Having these sponsors will allow me to focus full-time on blogging and trying to help others in the cancer community.

Thanks for all the support

I am very grateful for the support I’ve received over the past few months. Even though I didn’t return messages and did my best to avoid people, I did appreciate the attempts others made to check up on me. I am hoping to avoid any further bouts of depression and/or brain fog by focusing on making this a quality cancer blog that can truly help cancer patients and families. My renewed push for video and podcast content is a big part of that plan. I am feeling very hopeful about the future and hope this site can in some way give hope to others.

Thanks!
Ken Santema
Blogger, DadAgainstCancer.com

Bonus Song

I can’t do a blog post without having music! Up first is a song I’ve featured on this blog before. This track from Robert Earl Keen sums up how great it feels to be, well, feeling good again!

Bonus, Bonus Song

As a bonus I present a track from Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. It doesn’t really relate directly to this song, but I want to play it anyhow.

How I keep track of meds

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My Pill Case

In yesterdays post I noted that I almost took my morning meds twice during my first cycle of chemo. That would have been bad. To prevent brain fog from causing issues when taking my medications I implemented a couple of changes to ensure I would keep on track. In this post I will briefly share those changes taken and recommend the phone app I use to track meds.

When I first started chemo I was simply taking my pills straight out of the bottles. At that time I only had to take a few pills in the morning and one in the evening. That seemed easy enough. After missing one evening pill and then almost taking my morning pills a second time, I decided it was time to take action.

Well, actually first my wife decided to take action. She went to the pharmacy and bought me a pill case which could handle a full weeks worth of pills. It also has multiple compartments for each day. The case she bought is pictured in this post. I really should have gotten a case like this right away, but I had resisted because I thought it made me seem old.

Having this case helped quite a bit to ensure I didn’t take the same pills twice each day. But it did nothing to help me actually remember to take the pills. After missing my kidney pill a second evening, I spent a lot of time on the internet researching various pill reminder phone apps. There are actually quite a few pill reminder apps out there. Some are good, and some are pure crap. Maybe someday I’ll do a few a full review of the various apps I tested out. But that goes beyond the scope of this post.

The app I ended up using is called Medisafe. This app is available for Androids and Iphones. I won’t do a full review in this post. Instead I will just list a few bullet points about why I like this app:

  • It is easy to enter my pills and schedule them.
  • The app is quite persistent to remind me about taking my pills. I get so annoyed at having to snooze the app that I am forced to take my pills no matter what I’m doing.
  • The app has information links about most of the pills I take. There is even a video for a few of them.
  • I can track my kids medications with their own profiles. To have more than one kid in the app I did have to pay for the full version. But it was worth it to ensure they are also taking their daily meds.
  • I can easily track when I take extra meds, such as painkillers or stools softeners.

For anyone with a smart phone I would definitely recommend the Medisafe app. Anyone without a smart phone has options as well. I’ve seen pill dispenser which include alarms on them. The main thing is make sure there is an alert of some type as a reminder it is time to take meds.

I’ll end this post here. This post was probably more of a review than anything. I will say that since I got the pill case and phone app I have not missed my meds once. The peace of mind that comes from not worrying about pills is well worth having yet another app on the phone alerting me.

Welcome to my new blog as I learn to fight against cancer

22092894Hello everyone, and welcome to my new blog. My name is Ken Santema and I have recently been diagnosed with lymphoma (wow, it sounds like an opening line in a support group, which this blog kind of is perhaps). I have been blogging for many years about technology, project management, and South Dakota politics. Now that my life has been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis I am placing almost all of my writing energy into blogging about dealing with cancer.

On this site I will blog about a variety of topics. First I will be doing posts giving status updates so family, friends, and any other interested parties can keep up to date on my current health. Additionally I will be doing posts about how I am dealing with cancer emotionally. There will also be posts about how my family is coping and what we are doing to get through this as a strong unit.

Finally I will be sharing insight I have found on other blogs of this type. Reading blogs from other people fighting cancer has really helped me get through each day. I have hope that this blog may help others fighting cancer as well.

This welcome post is the only one I plan to do today, as I am getting quite tired. My first round of chemo started yesterday and even though I felt really good this morning I definitely am not feeling like writing anymore today.