The Cancer Thing!

So from 2009 to July of 2012, the bleeding was non-stop and
painless.   Then, in July of last year, it was almost like some
one flipped a switch!   The bleeding stopped overnight and the
pain started!    Slight at first, but within a week, it degenerated
to me on the couch, just crying and praying for it to stop!!
That went on for over 3 months.   I know my poor Hubby
suffered as much as I did, but bless his heart, there was no
nagging — not one word.   Folks would say, “Take her to the
hospital!!”   But he just replied, “It’s her body, her faith and
her decision.”   I kept flashing back to what Clayton had said;
that if & when God wanted me in the hospital, He’d get me
there.   
And get me there He did.    After months of pain, I woke up
one night in late October and just KNEW I had to go to the
ER and get something for the pain stronger than the Alleve
I’d been swallowing like TicTacs.  Poor Rich had the car fired
up before I even got dressed!
After that, things moved quickly.    The ER staff, after taking
my history, refused to prescribe anything until they’d done a 
scan to make sure all the Alleve hadn’t damaged my internal
organs.     But when they tried to do the scan, they discovered
a tumor SO large they couldn’t see through it or around it.
It appeared to be firmly attached to and surrounding my
reproductive organs.     They gave me a mild sedative and
immediately set up an appointment for me with an
oncologist, Dr. Tait over at Levine Cancer Institute for the
following Wednesday. 
Rich was tickled to pieces and very relieved!   God had
gotten me to the hospital so now I had to keep MY word
and let the doctors do their thing.  Sigh…
Had the appointment with Dr. Tait, who took one look at the
scan results and scheduled my surgery for that Friday.   Two
days later  (so much for having a few weeks to adjust to the
idea!)  they did the surgery on November 2nd, and even
though I was scheduled for a 6-day hospital stay, I was home
by the following Monday.   Apparently, I make a lousy patient
because the nurses were ready to stage a major protest if I
wasn’t sent home!   LOL!   But, to be fair, I was on a
morphine drip which obviously alters your personality to a
large degree!
The tumor weighed over 40 pounds and the doctor was
unable to explain how it had not affected my other soft
tissue organs.    But he’d successfully removed 98% of it
and set me up for a round of Taxol and Carboplatin, two
new chemotherapy drugs.    
The original plan was to start chemo in the spring, as soon as
my surgical incision had healed.   But when I went back for
my post-op exam, the doctor was amazed!     It was only one
month later and he said my incision looked as if it had
happened 3 months ago!!    God is good!    So I started
chemo on Dec 4th, 2012.  
Carried home tons of books and literature all detailing
what the side effects of chemo would be like, as well as
several prescriptions called in to our neighborhood
Wal-Mart, awaiting pick-up.
But God was good.   I had gone online to cancel my regular
thought for the day email and suspend the Front Porch
updates back before the surgery because I didn’t know how
long recovery would take.   Now I just sent out an update to
all my thought subscribers to let them know about the
chemo and where we were in the process.    The result of
that, obviously, was thousands of people praying for me!!
I sailed through most of the chemotherapy with no side
effects!   No nausea, no bone pain, mouth sores, etc.   Never
picked up one prescription from Walmart.    All I ever
noticed was some weakness towards the end of the treat-
ment.        Did run into a problem with my veins though.
When you are undergoing chemo, it also involves regular
blood draws so they can test your white blood cell count.
I had small, tiny veins that like to hide anyway and the
chemotherapy just made things worse.   It reached the
point where it was taking over an hour to just get a vein
open to take blood.     They showed me patients who had
what they called a chest port installed for easy access to
veins.     One look was enough to convince me….NO WAY
JOSE!!!    No one was cutting a 2″ hole in my chest!
The only other alternative was what they call a PICCLINE.
Which stands for Peripherally Inserted Catheter.   Basically, 
it’s a plastic tube inserted into a vein  and threaded  up your arm,
across your chest and into your Vena Cava ( big vein over your heart ).    
They attach two plastic ports to the open end and just leave it in there.  
That way they can inject drugs and take blood without any needles.  
Not fun, but definitely better than being a human pincushion twice a
week. 
Having a PICCLINE also meant trips to the chemo lab
Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to have it flushed out with
Heparin.   Not a big deal because we live so close to the
hospital…and I got to know most of the staff on a first name
basis.   My Hats for the Homeless project morphed into a
Chemo Caps project…..I‘d bring a bunch every time I showed
up for chemo.   They loved’em!   Also gave me  a chance to do some
serious Jesus promo during chemo rounds and in the waiting
rooms!    I keep the seating areas stocked with my little
pink Front Porch cards and strike up conversations with any
one who’s handy!  Met some really nice people and sure do
hope I’ve made a difference for  Christ in attitudes and lives!!
On February 11, they scheduled me for a CT scan to see if the
chemo had eradicated the stray cancer cells that had been
floating around in my abdomen.  The results of that CT
showed that the cancer in the abdomen was virtually gone,   
but the cancer had morphed into my bones.   There was a
tumor in my spine and several in my femurs (thighbones).    
The prognosis  was not good.    We were told it was
basically terminal, even though they would try to shrink or
slow down the tumors’ growth with what they call low-dose
radiation.
They recommended that we finish the current round of chemo
and then follow up with another CT Scan in May.    Shortly after
that, my chemo ended and the PICCLINE stopped working.  So
they removed that.      My next CT Scan is May 2nd.    That will
tell us more about the speed and growth of the tumors.   The
doctor’s probably going to recommend another round of what
he calls “ALTERNATIVE” chemo.    For the uninitiated, that’s
code for EXPERIMENTAL!    Not a big fan.    So we’re going
to wait and see what he says before we decide.
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