On Your Mark, Get Set, Chemo!

So, what was happening prior to chemo last year (2012)?  I will give you a snap-shot. I welcome not only comments, but questions as well. Don’t be concerned about asking.  You cannot offend or touch on any area that is difficult.  😀

My caregiver accompanied me on every visit with the physician people throughout this process.  And it’s a good thing. To this day I don’t actually recall but a small percentage of what was said.  While I am sure the information was registered subconsciously, I just don’t have total recall.  (Wasn’t that a movie?)

The Oncologist visits were not really fun in the beginning.  Especially the first one.  I admire anyone who takes on this most difficult task. In addition there were a lot of people praying for him and all physicians, etc involved with this case. They prayed for wisdom.  Any way … he had to deliver the news and it wasn’t positive. I heard bits and pieces. I heard mortality rates, apx times of survival, and on and on. I also heard that in my case I could never be declared “cured,” but the drugs to be used had been shown to be effective on various levels.  Then I got shipped off to the Gynecologist with whom the Onc had a relationship.  And off we went.

My name was called and the Gyn’s nurse showed me to the exam room.  (She’s a peach, btw).  Her first question was, “How are you doing?” I answered in a quiet voice, “I’m dying, how are you?” That fell out without any thought. She accepted my answer and we moved on. So I had tests and this and that. I was scheduled for some procedural schtuff and follow up (you know how it goes). Having had all that, I went back to the Onc.

During the visits with both these physicians, I heard the following on multiple occasions: “this is treatable.” For me, those words helped bring out the fighter in me in that my caregiver perceived was buried inside.They were beyond significant.

A side note: not mentioned thus far is my PCP. He is the one that had to initially tell me the lymph gland in my neck contained communist cancer cells. It was a fast growing kind. He, the nurse and the staff were and are beyond supportive.

Having had the pet scan, blood draws, Gyn procedure and testing and so on and so forth I understood my treatment regimen to the be the following:

  • Chemo
  • Radiation
  • Possibly a complete hysterectomy to remove the tumor. I really wanted this procedure as that would mean the “nest” would be gone and I knew that would be a good thing. In fact it is my understanding that at every visit to the Onc I asked, ‘when do I get the hysterectomy?’ It became comical after a while.

First up, Chemo (Started Oct. 2012, completed February 2013).

There is a whole lot more that went on, but the above are some highlights.

Given the need to get this show on the road, I attended the pre-chemo orientation. I learned a whole lot of things. The five things that stand out were:  keep smiling no matter what, keep up on mouth health, and inhale protein and vitamins/vitamin rich foods. Oh, and if drinking coffee take in an equal amounts of water.

And last but definitely the most important – “your attitude is crucial.” This was echoed by nearly everyone with whom I came in contact.


I recommend the following site for anyone involved with this issue:  Choose Hope

My husband person (aka Caregiver) brought home a huge basket filled with an enormous number of gifts from his workplace.  One gift in particular helped keep me balanced throughout this process.  Here is the text of the bookmark I received and is available at Choose Hope:

What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is to limited:

It cannot cripple love.

It cannot shatter hope.

It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot eat away peace.

It cannot destroy confidence.

It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut our memories.

It cannot silence courage.

It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quench the Spirit.

Author Unknown

13 Comments on “On Your Mark, Get Set, Chemo!”

  1. thedrpete says:

    Even, Mrs. AL, if you finally got that coveted hysterectomy, you still have balls. And balls is forever. Selfishly — I’m good at that — I’m glad you fought the fight.

  2. Gar Swaffar says:

    Gathering the will to fight seems to be the most difficult part for some folks. You and your husband seem to have beat that part, now it’s just ‘doing the drill’ daily until the Commie’s have been beaten back. Ain’t easy, but it can be done and we will all continue to pray for you both. 15 years clear of Commie Cells for my wife, you can do the same.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      I have been clean since February of this year. Sorry if you misunderstood. I will make it clearer in each post!

      WOW — would you be willing to share some words for others about your wife’s experience? That’s encouraging to me and I am sure it would be for others as well!!! That’s the intent of this new direction for this blog.

  3. Gar Swaffar says:

    Be calm. (when you can)

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Remember Gar, this took place last year … it was a year ago this month that chemo started. And yes, we were calm when we could be! Actually, after the second bag of schtuff I was Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal calm — 😉

      I have modified the “About” section and each post to try and make sure it is clear that I am blogging about past events. Not present. Thanx so much for visiting and praying. As you well know, praying is my most precious activity.

      • Gar Swaffar says:

        I realized it was in past tense, but also think it may help to know that ‘doing the drill’ daily goes on for a long while.

        The drill? Pray against the enemy, pray against the feeling that it isn’t really over, because it IS over.
        And that may be what I want to most share, never give up on The Promise. Stay in touch with Him, and let Him have His way – daily. 15 years and a couple months, still a daily ritual, even if she irritates me, I pray for her to KNOW that the enemy is beaten, and to never question that Promise.

        Beyond that, I bought her a new keyboard, and congas.
        She walks on her treadmill nearly every morning,and every night, and then stops to play some notes and fashion worship songs for Him.

        Whatever it takes for you to gather joy in your heart to praise Him for, make it happen. He enjoys knowing we’ve found joy in Him and what He has for us. And I have to admit, when I hear the keyboard, I know she is being filled with Him, and for some reason, it’s a great thing to hear.

        • Mrs. AL says:

          I am indeed encouraged, Gar! I am sure others will be as well. I am taken by your comment about hearing the keyboard. One of the things my husband person said just prior to starting the chemo was that he wanted to see me waving good-by to him when he went to work for a looooong time. And I do just that.

          I modified the line below my screen name. Added “every day is a holiday” and that is how we are living each day. Because of my husband person’s experiences in fighting and surviving, I now fully understand what he meant when he would say, “every day is a holiday” when we first met.

          Again, thanx for the encouragement, Gar. It means more than you can imagine and please thank Mrs.Gar for being an inspiration!

  4. CW says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences, Mrs. AL. No doubt it will come in handy to a lot of us readers at some point in our lives, and I’m very thankful that it worked out for you. Your husband sounds like a keeper!

    • Mrs. AL says:

      And thank you for your encouragement, CW. You have nailed the purpose of the blogging here at this point in time. And indeed … my husband person is a keeper!

  5. tannngl says:

    I think I love you, Mrs. AL, with a Christian love. You took the bull by the horns while your husband held on to you. And you won. I’m so glad. I wouldn’t have known you if you hadn’t, I don’t think.

    Let me share an important cartoon here, if I may. It’s not really funny. But kinda.

    • Mrs. AL says:

      Indeed, tannngl, I am created in God’s image as are you and everyone else. We are, after all, the only triune beings on the planet. Twarnt no accident. And yes, I am born-again (popular phraseology back in the 70’s — hehe). So yes, we do share something special. And I am grateful to the Lord for that.

      As for taking the bull by the horns, there were I don’t know how many people praying while I went through this. Absolutely crucial for all involved, not just me. I am looking forward to the next post I put up as my husband person has agreed to actually make an appearance.

      Well I babbled your head off there, tannngl! Thanx for the ‘toon — hysterical and true. Great combo.

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