The Ericksons

Category Archives: Cancer Information

These articles are filled with information about general cancer topics such as prevention and resources.


It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Thank you to this month’s IWSG co-hosts: Lee Lowery, Juneta Key, Yvonne Ventresca, and T. Powell Coltrin! Today I will be writing about my experience writing about my husband’s cancer journey on his CaringBridge blog, as I answer the IWSG Day question for May:What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?Maybe it doesn’t qualify as an early experience, but it has by far, been the experience with the most impact. I always loved writing, but I didn’t know if other Read more…


Reframe the problem

I recently decided to reframe the problem of explaining what it’s like to live with cancer, by creating a complicated graph. In January, we had a crazy week, down at the Mayo Clinic. We had gone thinking my husband would be in a new trial. Then, the doctors discovered what they thought were more brain metastases. These would disqualify him from the trial. So, they cancelled his biopsy and other testing appointments.Meanwhile, the polar vortex hit Minnesota plunging temperatures to record lows. It was so cold that a man died in the very town where we were staying because he Read more…


This content has been moved to my new website, Facing Cancer with Grace.Here is the image. For more information on the Ring Theory, go HERE.


X-RayAn X-ray is the most commonly used imaging scan for most people since it is simple, safe, and low cost. Doctors use x-ray to diagnose injury and lung issues, from bronchitis to lung cancer.An x-ray uses radiation in small quantities. The radiation (or x-ray) passes through the body, capturing an image. The rays are blocked by dense tissue, bone, and objects in the body. Radiologists look at the x-ray picture and send a report of their findings to the doctor.CT ScansCT stands for Computed Tomography. It’s a painless scan that combines the power of x-ray with computers to make images. Read more…


Undifferentiated, A Definition (1)A term used to describe cells or tissues that do not have specialized (“mature”) structures or functions. Undifferentiated cancer cells often grow and spread quickly.This is a somewhat scientific post. Keep reading because it’s very interesting.Tumor grade is different than cancer stage.After the doctor biopsies, suspicious tissue, he or she sends it to a pathologist. The pathologist then determines whether the tissue is malignant. Furthermore, they can tell what kind of cancer it is, as well as what the tumor’s stage is. Your doctor may also ask the pathologist to also check for specific mutations which can be Read more…


The Lymphatic SystemYour lymphatic system is part of your circulatory system AND your immune system. It’s a network of vessels and lymph nodes that make up your body’s drainage system.These vessels move excess fluid that’s been collected from all over the body back into your blood stream. Once the fluid enters the lymphatic vessels, it is known as “lymph.”The word Lymph comes from the Latin word lympha, meaning, water.As these fluids move through the tiny lymph nodes, Harmful organisms and cancer cells are trapped and destroyed by the lymphocytes. Those lymphocytes are then added to the lymph which flows from the nodes, Read more…


What is your immune system?The immune system is your first line of defense against infections, both viral and bacterial, as well as other diseases. The immune system, which is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs.How does it work?Your immune system works through a series of actions known as the immune response. This response attacks invaders including organisms and substances that attack and your body’s systems and cause illness and disease.Three Types of ImmunityAdaptive ImmunityThis type of immunity is very active, developing throughout our lives as we are exposed to various germs and diseases, as well as when Read more…


One of the things we learned early on in Dan’s cancer journey was that even if a treatment worked, eventually, it wouldn’t. Cancer cells become drug resistant.Our StoryWhen doctors first diagnosed Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, they perscribed a targeted treatment called, Tarceva. The treatment worked well for 18 months before the cancer in his body became drug resistant and again progressed.After that, he volleyed back and forth between targeted treatments, immunotherapy, and traditional chemotherapies. He would take each treatment until the cancer again became drug resistant.Then, the doctors would put him on a new drug. This is something that’s often Read more…


I recently went to the dermatologist for a full exam. As a bonus, she removed a small lump that I’ve had for years. She numbed the area and in 2 seconds (maybe even less) removed the pea-sized lump, putting in a couple of stitches and a Band-Aid. Then, she labeled the sample and sent it off to the lab.  She assured me that it looked normal, so I shouldn’t worry, but that it was very important to make sure that I get the results. Then she gave me written post-biopsy care instructions.Other biopsies I thought about other times in my Read more…


The earlier cancer is detected, the more easily and effectively it can be treated. Asymptomatic, or “quiet” cancer often spreads, unchecked to other locations (i.e. metastatic). This is why some forms of cancer have a reputation for being especially deadly.Some cancers make themselves known early on because of a side effect that sends a patient to the doctor. An example would be esophageal cancer. Because of a tumor on the esophagus, swallowing would become difficult and cause a patient to go to the doctor.Some cancers that have few or no symptoms until the cancer is already advanced. Because of the Read more…

Sign up for my FREE Newsletter!

Check out Past Blog Posts HERE

Professional ReaderReviews Published10 Book Reviews