Although it’s only been a little over two weeks, I feel like it’s been months since my last blog post. I truly miss creating content and posting it here on the blog. Today, I would like to share why I’ve been MIA. If you are new to my site, I am an ovarian cancer survivor and after my initial diagnosis in 2006, my cancer has been stable since 2010…that was the case until just recently.
In early October, I went for my routine 3-month CT scan. These routine scans help the doctor keep a close eye on my cancer and see how the treatments are working. Some of the medicines worked, while others failed. However, I was always lucky enough to try a new treatment with the hopes of it working.
The day arrived when me and my significant other anxiously sat in the patient room, awaiting the news from my Oncologist to see if this new treatment is working on keeping the disease stable. While I took a deep breath, deep inside I had a feeling good news is not what I will hear. We here a knock on the door and it’s my Oncologist and the nurse. In my doctor’s hands, was the results of the CT scan. With a soft smile, she asked how I was doing (for me that was code for – “I don’t have good news”). She sat on the stool and rolled closer to me and said “let’s talk about your results”. “Here we go”, I thought. She proceeded to identify each tumor from the last CT report and compared how much more growth each one had. Not to mention the fact that new areas were reported. While I suspected that I was not going to receive good news, I was not expecting to hear…your disease has progressed to the point that we should be thinking of surgery or chemo. All I remember is feeling the tears roll down my face and my heart breaking in two as I look over to my beloved partner breaking down. The next step was to speak with the surgeon the following day to see what his assessment was. My oncologist apologized for the news and left us in the room to give us time to gather ourselves and process the news. As the doctor and nurse left the room and the door shut behind them, my partner and I embraced and cried.
“Now?! Why now?! This is so unfair”, I whispered with a shaky voice. “We have scheduled wedding plans for next year!”. You see we were engaged last year in December. You can read a bit about it here and here. “Why is this happening now?” For that one instant, we felt powerless, hopeless and I felt the overwhelming feeling of…”am I going to die?” We wiped our tears and reminded ourselves that this is not our first rodeo! We’ve been here before and we will fight again!! We cannot lose hope or faith!
The next morning, we sat in an office with the surgeon and he expressed that since I am ‘asystematic’, it would be best to hold off on surgery because the likelihood of me needing surgeries in my lifetime is great and if we can prolong it as far as we can, it would be ideal. While we spoke in depth about the pros and cons of having surgery, I certainly did not like the alternative…chemo! We asked if we can be put back on a treatment that helped stabilize my cancer for three years, as a possible option. The surgeon agreed to speak with my oncologist to see if that was a doable option in my case.
The following week, we get a call from both doctors and they agreed to put me back on treatment that once worked for me. We would try it for a period of 3-months. If after the third month, the CT results show no improvement, we are to proceed with surgery. After hanging up the phone with the doctors, I expressed to my lifelong partner that the future is to unknown, and we cannot take any risk on the hope that everything will turn out ok, so we collectively decided to cancel our 2017 wedding plans. We decided to forgo our wedding, not wait and instead plan an intimate private ceremony and had a little over a month to make it happen. We called all of our vendors and they were all gracious enough to accommodate our new date in such short notice. We felt the love and support from all of them and we were estatic that everything was falling into place.
On Thursday, October 27, 2016, we went to NYC for my treatment and I was feeling fine the whole afternoon until we arrived at my father’s house. I was crawled in a fetal position on my father’s sofa with a feeling of flu-like symptoms. I took two Tylenol’s and was able to sleep through the night. The next morning, we packed our things to head back to Pennsylvania and during the car ride back, I had pain in my tailbone that intensified by the hour. Joint pain was a side effect of this treatment drug I was on but I never experienced this type of pain and so sudden. A prescription of pain medication was ordered for me to pick up at the drugstore. The pain meds did not help me and instead made me nauseous. Around 3:00am, we decided to go to the ER. After a second visit to the ER, I was admitted and stayed in the hospital for 7-days. Without going into every detail, after another CT, MRI, X RAY, and Sonogram, my oncologist in NY reviewed the CT scan and had it compared from my earlier one in October. It revealed that I had two tumors that increased in size (bizarre, since my type of ovarian cancer is slow-growing). Well, in layman’s term…my cancer has bleed within itself causing it to grow in size. The location of these tumors are in areas of my body that is causing pain and discomfort. So, the new course of action…surgery.
Because of this sudden emergency, we have once again cancelled our private wedding ceremony since recovery time is 6-8 weeks and I may need chemo afterwards but we find comfort that it will all work out in the end. Today, we went for my pre-op appointment in preparation for Friday’s surgery. Looks like I will be celebrating Thanksgiving in the hospital but in spite of it all, I will be hopeful and grateful for a successful surgery from the work of doctors, grateful for my faith to help get me through this, grateful for healing, grateful for each day God blesses me with on this earth, grateful for the support from my family and close friends, grateful for the love of my life (my rock) for the enormous support you give – no matter what life throws at us, for your unconditional love and for reminding me each and every day for the past 11 years of how much you love me! Life is short, my friends – live each day to the fullest, be sure to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you, always go for your annual check-ups and and living a healthy life is helpful too.
I would also like to express my gratitude and thanks to all the nurses out there. During the one week stay at my local hospital, I was cared for by some amazing and wonderful nurses who were kind, considerate, attentive and simply….kind! You’re compassion and hard work does not go unnoticed, in my eyes.
I hope to return to do what I love and grateful for your readership!
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