Sunday, July 27, 2014

Following Your Gut

A few days ago, I received the comment below on my January 27, 2008 blog post entitled, Had I Followed My Gut...(cont'd)

Her name is Kelly. I asked her for permission to share her comment as an actual post on this blog and she agreed. It's so very important to be our own advocates, with no rest. When listening to our doctors, Kelly & I both went against our better judgment. And we both paid for it. Our hope is that others will learn from our mistakes, instead of repeating their version of our mistake.


I ran into your site from my stats page. What you have written, mirrors so much of how I felt. I was so angry. I had been vaginally bleeding for months and was seeing my gynecologist for months. I had a bump that she removed that came back showing I had HPV (Sept 2009). From various other ailments, I am immunosuppressed so like most of the population that "grow out of HPV" in a few years, my body couldn't. She did a procedure that removed the lining of my uterus which should have stopped the bleeding. It didn't. I am immunosuppressed due to Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Around that time, at 41, I was faced with a choice of a total left knee replacement or a hysterectomy. I talked to my gyno and asked if it was ok to put off the hysterectomy so I could do the knee replacement. She said it would be no problem and the hysterectomy could wait. So, in Feb. 2010, I chose to do the knee replacement first even though I was sick of bleeding, I was more sick of walking in constant pain. In May 2010, I had a hysterectomy. She wanted me to stay in the hospital for two nights and I begged for just one night. She relented. She called me the next evening around 5, she was in tears and told me I had cervical cancer. I was dumfounded and mad at her and myself. I knew better - I had been fighting arthritis for 15 years and knew you have to be your own advocate when to comes to health issues. I have never seen or spoken to her since - I have accepted the cancer after many sleepless nights.

Between the doctor not pushing me to do to the hysterectomy first, I wasted 9 months of being treated for cancer. I am a single parent of now 12 year old triplets and I have to live for them. I was furious - I had to let go of the anger. I was lucky that it was Stage 2 B and had not spread to my lymph nodes. I am in remission now. But I have had to have numerous procedures to laser away precancerous cells. Keep up your fight and may you stay in remission. You will be in my prayer.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Keep 'em Comin

Today's scan came back negative. It's now been 32-months all clear. My recurrence happened in 2011, three years after my first diagnosis. Getting to that point again will be comforting. Perhaps it will be less worrisome. Although, I've never gotten that far, so I don't know. I don't know if the underlying thoughts of worry that hum in the back of my mind will completely go away. Or get quieter. Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won't. But as of today...I'm cancer-free.

Monday, March 10, 2014

All Clear

My recent colonoscopy in January as well as my CT scan & bloodwork earlier this week both came back negative. Now CT scans will be every four months instead of every three. It's been almost 2 1/2 years since the lest time there was any detection of cancer in my body.  So, I am almost halfway to the five year milestone.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ninth Quarter - All Clear

Today's quarterly scan came back negative. It feels a bit uneventful to post the same thing I've been posting lately. And then I think about what I just wrote and start laughing. Uneventful is exactly what I hope for. No news. And it's been almost 26 months (nine quarterly scans) with no detectible sign.

Twenty-six months isn't really all that long, (although it's a third of my younger boys life). It seems like just the beginning, should I be so lucky. But then I think about the old timer who was standing behind me in one of the many lobbies at Sloan Kettering. I overheard him commenting to the fella who accompanied him about the three months his doctor gave him to live. A few minutes later, the three of us were on a packed elevator. As the elevator opened its doors on a different floor, the people waiting saw the few remaining spots and didn't enter. They just stood there. I looked back from the front of the elevator at the folks behind me and said, "We must be intimidating. They won't get on." And it was the old timer who was the first one to start laughing and cracking jokes with me, telling me I was the reason! He may have only three months to live, but that's just it. He's living. He probably has no idea how much he inspired me today. I'd love to sit back with him and hear some of his stories. He seems like the kind of fella who would have a few to tell. That's a hell of a place, Sloan Kettering. Shed em i ya got em. And keep living.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Again, No Detectable Sign

My scan and blood work came back negative today. As of October 28th, I will be two years with no detectable sign of cancer. It was wonderful to hear especially since I had it in my mind that it had only been one year. I don't know what I was thinking, but Dr Kemeny and I were both grinning when she looked at her notes and saw it had in fact been two years. My first thought was, "Perhaps I will be able to see my little boy grow up to be a man after all." That's what matters for those of us with kids. Not like other parents don't share such concerns. I just just have reason to remember it far more frequently.

In fact, it has taken a lot to stay hopeful these last couple of years. Yet on the way to NY today, I noticed I feel much less fear about another recurrence and I'm indeed grateful for that. Getting further and further along with no detectable sign of cancer feels more and more like the end of a chapter, like I posted the last time I left New York following my quarterly scan. There was certainly more circumstances than just cancer that effected my outlook on life, but having the cancer diagnosis and treatments further and further behind me has made a significant difference in how I take on what lies ahead.

I'm still recovering as far as physical health goes. I still suffer if I get less than sufficient sleep more than one night in a row. A few days of that and my immune system starts to tank. Supposedly by next summer my immune system will be fully recharged. Seven-months of high dose chemo "because you're such a healthy young man" really beat the living hell out of my immune system. My docs said it would take my immune system 12-24 months to be 100% again. It feels like for me it may be on the closer side of 24 months. And if that's part of the cost to stay alive, I'll take it. Today I'm deeply grateful to be alive and able to face whatever struggles lie ahead, with my little guy by my side.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nineteen Months: No Detectable Sign of Cancer

Today's quarterly scan was negative. I have now been clear of any detectable sign of cancer for 19 months. I'm in a bus in New Jersey coming out of the tunnel, looking at the Manhattan skyline, headed back home. Another chapter compete. I feel grateful right now. And I find I no longer recognize much of this life anymore. Many of the same people and places but so much of my life has changed so drastically in so many ways.  I feel much more an observer in many aspects. In other ways, such as when ego has the reins, I forget to observe and then life becomes familiar again. And all of that is in the background of a "good bill of health" for myself and my family. Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Next Quarterly Scan June 12th

Wednesday June 12th is my next quarterly scan. Wow that was fast! I feel like the last time I went wasn't really all that long ago. Perhaps that's a good thing. Nothing to do in the way of preparation except not give it much thought and rock this one out just like the last one. No detectable signs since October 29, 2011.

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