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.

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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