Monday, February 2, 2015

Who wudda Thunk...5 years later

A very big milestone is upon me.

Five years Fonged!
You remember my term - the life saving liver surgery by the famous Dr. Fong?
Lots to catch up on - since 2010.
More to come


Saturday, July 31, 2010

How Dare I Feel Down

I've been off of chemo since mid-June.  I kept up with all the parties and family and running around. No afternoon napping for me.  Moved into Mom-mode in trying to organize Colleen and getting her ready for her big move to college.  Spent the last 4 weekends focused on Michaela and her softball practice and local weekend tournaments.  Survived last week's flood.  All in all, I've been "living normal"...doing all the regular stuff of life.  Small, day-to-day activities that were elusive this time last year. 


I'm feeling really restless.  Incomplete. Lost.  I was close to breaking down and having a good cry fest today.  I actually planned on going to a chapel this afternoon to just be alone, unfindable, and see if I could make any sense of my current state of mind.

I'm feeling anxious and desperate.  I need to work again.  As in MONEY.  I'm scared. 

Then, I read on the colon cancer message board that I frequent, that one of "us" - a fighter/survivor, has taken a turn for the worse.  Colon cancer spread to her brain, nothing they can do, she has a  13-yo child.  Donna is such a beautiful spirit. She's probably pretty tired of fighting.

My CT scan is in 2 weeks.  Am I still cancer free?  My colonoscopy is in Spetember, will the "symptoms" I'm having now mean the  cancer is returned?  The thought of only being "free" for a short while is unerving.
How do people keep fighting and fighting when they get recurrences? dare I feel one bit sad or depressed.  Because today, I am cancer free, and here, and have every reason in the world to be happy.  Donna doesn't get that.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chemo Is Officially Over....Now What?

After weekly chemo from April 2009 thru June 2010, I am done with chemo. I had a few breaks during that time due to infections, blockages, and other delightful set backs.

Then, as many of you know, I found my way to Sloan Kettering in March 2010 and had 8 tumors removed from my liver and one ablated. There is no protocol for post-resection chemo. Some believe that doing chemo when there is technically No Evidence of Disease, is stupid. Some people think some chemo is a bit of insurance.

I had 4 cycles post surgery and just had a break due to family and vacation etc. I went to chemo today, ready to do a few more rounds and I asked the Oncologist, OK, how many more cycles do you think?

Doctor basically said that doing "mop up chemo" is no guarantee that the cancer won't come back. If it's going to return, it won't be because I did or didn't do more chemo at this point. So, I said, let's end it.

Now, my CEA in June was 1.9 and today was 2.1. Still normal, but......?????

I'll do a CAT scan in 6 weeks amd blood work, then my first colonoscopy in September, since my diagnosis in March 2009.

So, now what? For 15 months, my life has been hospitals, surgeries, chemo, procedures blah blah blah.

I guess the mental/emotional battle begins. Re-establishing a life. Getting a job (hah, me and a gazillion other people) Learning to not live in fear and panic and anxiety of Cancer's Return.

Any Post Treatment Tips Welcome!!!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Still Trying To Decide Where To Put This Cancer

No exact end date for chemo, but I'm sooo ready to be done with it: the rash, the long sleeves and pants, the cracked skin and painful sores on feet.  So very very minor in the scheme of tings, but it gives me something to bitch about - a need I have.

Seems like some things have been put in my path the last few days to make me start thinking of the future, but still the subject is CANCER.

  • At church yesterday, as I turn behind me to give The sign Of Peace, the young woman behind me is the counselor from Wellness House from the women's support group. Damn my chemo brain for forgeting her name - she remembers me.

  • a Mom at Michaela's softball game and I were talking and she's seen me all draped, hooded, hats etc all precaustions against the sun I am so very sensitive to due to chemo.  We talk and she she shares that a friend of hers, mid 40's is also battling colon cancer.  I offer her my number to share with her friend - I will be of service in any way her friend may want to connect with me.  To find out that someone is fighting and survivng the exact disease is really important....there's sooo much sadness and grim statistics and death that surrounds this disease, anything remotely positive is appreciated.  I hope she calls me to connect and I hope I can be of service.

  • there was another thing but i forgot it. damn chemo brain...oh yeah, my Wellness House Ladies are getting together Wed night.  Betty, the connector of the group, was missing on everyone and told us she'll be hanging out at a bar and waiting to see if any of us show up!!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Time To Re-Focus and Lay Out the Gratitude List

I've been in a funk since my surgery. I'm cranky, I'm still fatigued and healing, I'm emotional and just plain lost.

As I was showering this morning, it hit me like a brick - One year ago, I needed Lee to help me take a shower: He wrapped my emaciated body in saran wrap to protect the ostomy bag; He installed a hand-held shower wand so I could sit on the shower chair since I was too weak to stand for very long.

I took a look back at a post I wrote in May and I listed things I Missed:

  • Food on My Terms
  • The way food USED to taste.
  • Wiping My Ass
  • My "Before" Clothes
  • Wearing MakeUp/Clear Skin
  • Stamina
  • Q-Tip Satisfaction: I no longer produce ear wax, no need to Q-tip. Freaky, I know.
  • Fitting into my Bras- I used to somewhat dislike my large Marges, now I miss them 
  • Diet Pepsi: The bubbly, crisp, sweet drink in the middle of the work day. I drank maybe 3 per week, not a soda-aholic by any means. Any carbonated drink tastes like acid.
  • Ketchup: How can I eat my diet of hamburgers without it? i need a condiment, damn it. The acidity of the tomato is not a pretty thing for my tongue, throat, tummy. On the same vein, I miss MY homemade Spaghetti Sauce.(gravy, for my Italian friends). My red sauce was soooo my comfort food.
Except for 1-2 items listed, I either have all those things back, or almost back.

  • The simple act of taking a shower, unassisted is so much more satisfying now.
  • I don't need to go into detail about how grateful I am to NOT have an ostomy bag, I gave you all much too much detail last year!
  • Picking up Michaela from school
  • Eating together as a family

The little things that were unavailable to me one year ago are now an abundant blessing one year later.




Monday, April 26, 2010

To Blog or Not To Blog - That Is The Question

I'm in this very strange place - one month ago, I had a surgery that was not an option for me, until a series of miracles made it an option for me.  While I am technically "cancer-free", said with fingers crossed, I am still in treatment for the next 3 months or so in the hopes that some more toxic chemicals will nuke any microscopic cancer cells.  So many conflicting emotions on this- will this additional chemo make any cancer in my body more resistent to the chemo?  Will this chemo effect me in other ways yet to be discovered?

I'm also having flashbacks of what was happening to me a year ago - a year ago  I was just one month post-surgery from the colon resection.  A year ago I was trying to get emotionally and physically get used to having an ileostomy.  A year ago was so very sad, so very scary. Every day I'd wake up and then be shocked into the realization - I have cancer.

So now that I am in a very different place than a year ago, do I keep on blogging?  Last year, from March through November, there was a constant stream of hospitilizations, surgeries, treatment issues, setbacks and bouncebacks to keep all my friends and family, hopefully, I can quietly continue my chemo, have scans and pray for continued remission.

I expect most of my challenges from now on will be mental/emotional ones - figuring out how to recreate some kind of positive life for me and my family - what do I do?  Where's the right place for me to give back? Work- do I even try to get back in the game?  What are my options?
I'm sure for anyone in "remission" the mental part is a tough phase - you go from almost dead to alive - from hopeless to full of hope. I feel like there's an expectation of me to "live BIG", to be a walking advertisement of life after cancer, reverence to the miracle etc....yet I "know" that my surgery, while a wonderful thing. does NOT take me completely out of the woods. I have a 60% chance of recurrence. My surgeon told me not to thank him for Five years, that oh-so important cancer statistic.
what do I do? how do put it all in it's proper place?  I guess I'll keep praying and hope it's not too much to ask