Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Five Year Cancerversary
It is 4:00 pm Pacific Time in Seattle Washington. I am sitting in a nice recliner at UWMC, receiving my Avastin. I have received kudos from my oncology nurse for this milestone, a day that wows me.
Five years ago at 4:00 pm Pacific Time I was in surgery at a hospital in Sacramento. Dr. Leiserowitz was doing a procedure called "debulking surgery" to remove ovarian tumors from my body along with tumors that had travelled and created a home throughout my pelvic, abdominal cavity and lymph system.
My mom and aunt Debbie sat anxiously in the waiting area until at least 6:00 pm for the surgeon to reveal any good news. There were 3 previous times when I was told that I could not and did not have ovarian cancer because I was too young.
Everyone was in shock. I was angry, scared and in a rage. My mom was so frightened and this whole ordeal took a toll on her health. This ordeal took a toll on everyone in my family. I wish that would have been different.
The debulking surgery is the method used to systematically, with utmost precision, clean out the tissues and then have pathology properly diagnose the disease at hand. We really did not know what would come from this surgery, pain and agony.
Mom said that the surgeon walked into the waiting room beaming with joy. He said that although the surgery was aggressive and that my cancer had metasticized throughout, there was only a tiny tumor remaining and that chemotherapy would take care of it. He was highly encouraged and gave myself and my family great confidence.
In a sense I was optimally debulked.
Just before he put me under I told him to be aggressive and if I was going to need a "bag", so be it. He was careful to ask this before surgery and at the time I was more hesitant, but on the day of surgery, I just knew I needed for him not to be held back in any way. It is what it is and needs to go.
I then moved to Seattle to be with family. Mom was so gracious to allow me, at age 45, to move in with her. I was single and had no family in Sacramento.
I thank God that mom and my sister were in Seattle. I have been receiving excellent care from Dr. Heidi Gray, the SCCA and UWMC for my front line chemo and for my recurrence. Dr. Gray has had to make adjustments in my treatment because my immune system was compromised even before cancer. My recurrence was initially treated via carboplatin desensitization, then Lipodox and now Avastin. I am tolerating the Avastin well so far and the idea is that I will remain in maintenance therapy. I still show tumors on CT scans.
I AM ALIVE!!!
I never knew that this day would come. Without God, family, community, my medical team, Dr. Gray, Dr. Leiserowitz and my friends and followers, I would not be here.
How is life better? In every way except for my mom being gone now. Had it not been for cancer I would never have been blessed to spend time living with her, having my dear sister right here and having a chance to begin a new life. My aunt, brother, other family and friends have been here every step of the way. My dad prays for me every day.
I pray to God and mom and St. Peregrine on a regular basis. I am not as afraid of death, since mom died. To be with her one day brings me joy.
I have been writing this blog about my life with ovarian cancer to help other people learn more about it but also learn more about what it is like to have ovarian cancer.
That I am here goes against the odds.
My sunny view from the window is absolutely beautiful. I am so grateful, so happy to be here. I am always on the ready and prepared for what comes, good or bad.
I love my family with all my heart for without you I would have had nowhere to go.
My heart aches for mom and soon my sister and her family will be moving.
Someone loving just said to me, "God is opening up a new opportunity".
I pray for all who are sick, to be healed and well.
Peace and Blessings