Tuesday, August 9, 2011

true confessions of a cancer patient

I didn't think of myself as a "patient" until recently. I thought I was a survivor, hoping I was done with the worst of it. But then in June, the recurrence came and took me by surprise. I really have to say, I never once thought "cancer" when I went to the Emergency Room with symptoms. Naive maybe? 
So, I had my second abdominal cancer surgery. This one was tougher to heal from, probably because of the vertical incision and also because they took out 8" of my colon. I'm 7 weeks post-op today and still feel the tenderness of the incision, and the effects on my bladder and bowel. For the most part I feel good, but I haven't really done anything too physical yet. It's been a hot, hot, hot summer and not conducive to getting outside and exercising. The most I've done is walked. 
This time has been tougher emotionally too. My cancer is back, at the primary site, which means they didn't get it all. My doctors have told me that fighting this cancer will be a chronic problem. Sarcoma is a %#*! awful disease. Invasive and fast growing. I've done my research. I get all my reports and CT scans and pathology reports to keep, and I've read all of it. It's difficult to read that the pathologist has written "this patient has a poor prognosis" or the surgeon writing " This patient is at a high risk for a recurrence". 
So when the doctors started talking radiation, I knew I didn't have a choice but to do it. I admitted that I haven't been afraid of any of my surgeries, I've gone into them with confidence, but this is different. I'm scared. I went for my treatment staging today. The nurse was going over a few things and wanted me to sign some paperwork. She read it over with me... the possible short term and long term side effects... I couldn't sign it. I lost it and started tearing up... she said she'd have the Doctor come in and go over things again with me. I admit, I was a bit embarrassed, but my Radiation Oncologist has such a good "bedside manner" that he explained it all and calmed me down, and I signed the paperwork. 
After that I met with the CT Tech who set me up on the table and built a hard foam cushion for my legs so that I would be in the same exact position every time. He tattooed my hips and abdomen with 3 small dots so they could align the beam to be the same every time also. (It didn't really hurt, the tattoo needle, if I weren't already so marked with scars, I may think about getting one. Not really!) Next week, we'll have a run through before they hit me with the actual beam. There's a lot of calculations and measuring that will go on between now and then. 
I'll go every weekday for the next 6 weeks, the same time each day, for a 7-12 minute blast. I'll take an anti-nausea med before each treatment, since that's a common side effect. The hope is to rid my pelvis of any remaining cancer cells, and never have to have another surgery down there. 
Hoping and praying this works. 


  1. I am saying prayers for you during this time & hope you get better. Your blog & your family are so adorable....keep on keepin on!!! Karen

  2. Hang in there - Just said a prayer for you - your photos look great - you look so healthy.

    BTW -My daughter is going to Georgia Tech (where we went) - worried about her safety, but she is very excited. Hope she will study.

  3. Please let me know if I can do ANYTHING! Meals, driving you to appointments, etc. We are here to help!

  4. Mama, I know you are scared and trying to put up a tough front for all of us but know that we are praying SO HARD for you and that it's okay to lean on us. You're going to make it through this one because you are a fighter!! I love you so much. xoxo

  5. Praying for you! Visualize those radiation beams KILLING any remaining cells. It will happen. And then think about the loving arms of God around you, along with all the love and support that your family and friends are sending your way. This will give you peace and power. XOXO

  6. Oh momma. I am so sorry you have to go through this again and again. Just remember that you are not alone and we all love you SO much! Show that %&*$ing cancer who is boss!!!

  7. I've haven't been on the blogging visiting rounds much lately but I had a notion to come visit you tonight. I am so sorry to hear you are going through this very trying and tough time. I'm sorry for the fear that is with you but you must be comforted and strengthened by your loving family and adorable grandsons. Hold on to those thoughts. Hang on for 6 weeks, count it down and you will be done with it! My prayers will sent to you. xoxo

  8. OK, I won't filter here. I HATE fucking sarcoma! There, it's out there.

    Don't be embarrassed about "losing it". You have every right to do so whenever you feel the need. I'm so sorry you have to go through all of this. Though we've not met, I understand because I walked this path next to my daughter. I didn't care to read pathology reports. They scared the hell out of me, so I just focused on Erin and her endless beacon of spirit. Your light shines brightly too, and you have a beautiful family who loves you.

    Erin was "tattooed" (you can see one of several in my sidebar photo of her) and molds were made. She had very few side effects from radiation. You will get through this with the love of your family supporting you. Be gone, fucking sarcoma, be gone!

    By the way, my new daughter-in-law is a radiation oncology therapist. You will develop good relationships with those who care for you when you get your blast each day. They help make it all bearable too.

    deep breaths...

  9. Although I usually don't post a comment I couldn't help but let you know that I'm here thinking about you and sending you happy thoughts. The fact that you just now broke down says a lot about you. I break down all the time. You're a fighter and I pray for peace for you.

  10. im not normally a commenter but i stumbled upon your blog and i cant help but let you know that you are truly an inspiration

  11. It's so horrible that you continue with this. Maybe the radiation treatments will zap that life-sucking-piece-of-crap-cancer, right out of you.

    My hubby's uncle just finished his final radiation round for prostate cancer & they say he's good to go. We hope so.

    You continue to be in my prayers...

  12. Alright....you are heading into a tough emotional week. I am right by your side and will help you get through it! We need to kick Sarcomas butt!
    You are a very strong women and can get through this. Do whatever you need to do during the next few weeks. Ask for something! I told Paul I wanted balloons at the end of every week! They made me smile and I loved all the different ones he picked out. I got a pirate balloon last week!
    I hope you are feeling better after surgery. Just remember the doctors have to tell us about side effects and issues from treatments....it doesn't happen to everyone. Our bodies are all different. Think only positive.
    I will be thinking of you.
    Hugs from a Sarcoma fighting chic!

  13. So sorry you have to go through this! Wishing you Godspeed, good healing and cooler summer weather as you deal with this latest setback.


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