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.
Classic Blue and White
13 hours ago