CDC Symptom Diary Card

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My second Birthday

On this date at this time last year I was lying in a hospital room after major surgery to remove cancer.  I had a total abdominal hysterectomy, appendectomy, removal of my omentum and lymphnodes, as well as some smaller tumors along the peritoneal cavity.  I was "optimally debulked" according to those in the gyn-oc community.  According to my mother and aunt, my surgeon was beaming with joy at the results.  He said it couldn't have been any better.  The next phase, chemotherapy in 4-6 weeks.

I had to move to Seattle for chemo, which I completed the end of February.  My next CT scan is in about 3 weeks, along with another CA125 blood test.  Now that there is no evidence of the cancer, I am on lifelong survielance, because the recurrance rate is about 70% for my type of cancer, Stage IIIC.

Today I have the luxury of being with my family, to be exact I am sitting in my sister and husband's beautiful home.  I also got to enjoy a nice movie with mom earlier today.  As far as "second" birthdays go, its been pretty good.

A year ago I couldn't even roll side to side, I had staples from my breastbone to all the way down "there".   For several weeks I needed help in and out of bed, my aunt and sister had to stay with me because I couldn't take care of myself.  I was in so much pain, so much pain.  The narcotics made me constipated and it just gets worse from there.  Recovering from the surgery was a real challenge, but I did it.

Once chemo started, I had a whole new set of problems.  Unexpected visits to the emergency room, nausea beyond belief, severe abdominal pain loss of concentration and unbelievable fatigue.  It was hard just to watch TV or check my email sometimes.  Once chemo ended, the residual effects lingered on and on.

To this day I get nauseous every day, but just a little.  ( I have to take methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis, and nausea can be a side effect).

Now I can walk around the lake, which is a big WOW for me.  It's not a power walk or anything, but it's a walk.  I need to get stronger.  Strange though, because I have no omentum, everything jiggles, and it "hurts" if I bounce too much, but I try.  That will never go away, so I have to deal with it.

I can concentrate now, and don't have that severe abdominal pain any more.  What I do have now though is an extreme fear of getting super nauseous and winding up in the ER.  I had severe vomiting episodes after chemo ended, and the cause was never determined.  I am very careful to take anti-emetics before I exercise.

I am still so lost though, and I need to resume some sort of work someday.  I cannot imagine a full time job but I can imagine a part time job. 

I apologize that this post has been more about my body than anything, but unfortunately that is where my focus has been.  I went to church last Saturday for the first time since May (when I got severely nauseous).  I met with the priest and it felt so good to confess my anger.  I need to rebuild my spiritual self and find my place in this world.  My place to provide good will, and I'm working on that.

My family and friends are the most important people in my life.  They got me through this episode and dark period in time.  They are supportive, but I know they don't want me lying around the house on disability doing "nothing" with my life.  Neither do I.

Having a chronic disability (arthritis) and cancer history make job hunting a real challenge.  To be honest, I love life and treat each day as a gift but I'd be lying if I said that the 70% recurrence rate didn't worry me.  It does, it clouds me. 

I want to get retrained with the "ticket to work" program, but for what.  So I live my life check up to check up.  It would be so MUCH easier if I already had a job to return to.  The cancer center is offering a "cancer and careers" workshop in August, which I will attend.  Truthfully, I wish I had my own little business.  Just a little something I did at my own pace that made me just enough to pay bills. 

As my physical self gets stronger and more able, my mental state improves because my confidence improves.  Still need to get to Gilda's Club. 

I am a thousand percent better today than I was this time last year.  I thank God for surrounding me with a very very very loving family that reached out to support me and help me when I was unable to help myself.  I thank Him for sending me good friends who really cared and took care of me during dark days.  My mother, aunt and uncle, sister and her husband, and brother really really really bent over over backwards to get me the resources I needed.  I would not have survived without them.  I also thank God for my surgeon and oncologist, who saved my life, literally.  I am blessed.

So tomorrow is a new day, another chance to make a difference, be a friend, and be Love.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for giving to me your precious time. I look forward to what you have to say. Peace and Blessings, Always.