Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22, 2010

Hello Everyone - just a short update.  Went to my five week post radiology treatment and saw my rad-oncologist yesterday.  As Rich and I approached the hospital area I was stunned at the intensity of emotions that came over me and I started to cry.  I was not sure if I was crying because the hospital reminded me I indeed did have cancer, or whether I felt 'safe' back in the arms of the team and hospital group or simply fear of the appointment itself.  Once I was able to walk in the door to the radiology area I was not as emotional at all but went into 'deal with it' mode as I had so many months and weeks before that.

The regular questions were asked about symptoms, swollen legs, blah blah how are you doing blah blah.  I mentioned that I was not feeling that bad considering, symptoms mild from my cohorts so far and I was worried that maybe treatment wasn't working.  My rad oncologist (who is wonderful) decided to give me a DRE (exam) which I had not had since diagnosis and said her preliminary findings are she felt soft tissue and no lumps so she felt it was working.  Obviously without scans and biopsy I won't know for sure but for the first time since all this happened I felt a glimmer of hope and the heavy weight on my shoulder lifted a bit.  She also asked me if I was okay with not seeing them until the November scan dates because this phase of treatment, many patients feel abandoned.  Ironically I do feel that way a little bit but not totally, I suppose I feel close to my team and trust my team to know if I need them in between they will be there.  So she made the appt with me for November 8th.  My scans are the 3rd and the team will meet the morning of the 8th to discuss my case and I will find out the results probably from her that afternoon. If not her, then my colorectal surgeon on the 11th.  Either way, I will know for sure that second week in November.

Keep up your wonderful prayers as they have taken me though 7 weeks of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation and now through recovery and I hope NED status.  Thanks everyone for being there for me - love to you all.  Be well always, Marilyne

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

Hello everyone.  Nothing new to report - will be going to the rad-oncologist on Tuesday for a one month post treatment.  Side effects, while minimal and acceptable, remain.  It is quite possible they will remain with me for the long haul as there are short term and long term side effects.  My thought is: bring it on if I do not have the cancer to deal with on top of  it I can handle the side effects.  It's just a matter of having a bit of ingenuity and flexibility...

I wanted to come in here for a few reasons.  First, for all of you who have been praying for me, your prayers are being answered every single day.  I have no doubt about that.  Each day brings some type of blessing for me and I know that it is because of your thoughts and prayers that God is watching out for me in so many wonderful and surprising ways.  Second, while cancer is a scary diagnosis to hear, it changes you (it did me) in ways I cannot fully explain.  I have become stronger mentally, physically and spiritually - especially the latter - I 'see' things around me that I never noticed before and appreciate them more now than I ever did.  Someone said in my cohort cancer forum that they were 'fortunate' to have been diagnosed because they were forced then to re-evaluate their lives -- appreciate their families, put less pressure on themselves, appreciate the surroundings around them. 

My reflections today come from my sitting outside on the deck for a little bit and just taking in the sights, sounds and smells around me.  Why had I not noticed this all long before this?   I think it was because I was trying to control my life all the time, keeping busy, shoving 'things to do' in every empty spot, making sure that I never had time to reflect or enjoy much around me.  I do not regret some of the things I did (like go back to school or go back to work) -- I truly enjoyed doing these things -- but on the down time I should have taken it slow, given myself a break, relaxed a little bit...that is what I regret.  So if any of you reading this are doing just that and not taking time to truly enjoy your life and loved ones around you, stop and do that now.  I no longer write lists - I figure what will get done will get done when it gets done.  No more multi-tasking and trying to fit in 4 things in one hour.  No more stressing out over things I have absolutely no control over.  God has handled every aspect of this treatment and recovery and He will handle the rest as well.  That simple. 

I will be back here after Tuesday to update if there is anything to update.  Today I'm attempting a trip to Cub foods and will drive Lola, my car, for the first time since May.  This should be an interesting adventure.  I hope I remember where all the buttons and dials do.  Hopefully it won't rain as I have the feeling my windows will go up and down as I won't remember where the wiper button is... lol.    Rich will be going with me but won't be driving--I won't let him.   For those of you who do not know this, he had minor hernia surgery on Friday - he did survive the operation but to hear it now you would think this was a five organ transplant.  That's okay, he deserves a little TLC going through what he went through with me and being by my side.  The cancer actually postponed his surgery as he had this hernia a week before I was diagnosed and put it on hold until I was done.  It felt good taking care of someone else for a change. 

I hope all of you are doing well and are healthy, safe and happy.  Thank you again for everything you have done - in prayer, in sending a note, in sending an email.  I re-read them every so often -- read the prayer books you sent me daily and pull close to me the treasures of love and caring that were given to me.  Know that all that was so greatly appreciated from the bottom of my heart.  Be always well, Marilyne

Monday, September 6, 2010

Just a short update...Happy Labor Day to everyone.  This Wednesday marks the three week anniversary post treatment.  I half expected with this anniversary I would be up and running and being like I normally am.  Well, that ain't happening!   I am able to take a shower now and wash my hair without being too winded.  Need to rest less in between attempting small chores.  So...I am thinking this is progress even though my patience is wearing thin on myself (and is carried on to rest of family unfortunately).  Keep praying for continued strength but most of all keep praying in November Harvey is gone.  Love to all of you.  Marilyne

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September 1, 2010

Good Morning everyone -  Two weeks post treatment.  I was reminded today that it is two weeks, not three when I was lamenting as to why I did not have my energy level back.  That shocked me.  Has it only been two weeks?  The days blend together and each day, while I realize now since I have ended treatment, has gotten slowly better and better, in my mind I should be full of vim and vigor and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  But when I will my body to do something, it just simply says "no way" and I'm forced to listen.

I had my two week oncology visit today.  They did an EKG as my heartbeat was 130.  Has been high for a few months.  They think it is fluid loss and also rad and chemo and being run down.  Its getting better as I can now take a shower without laying down for 15 minutes afterwards feeling like I did an aerobic exercise.  They took blood but do not know what the levels are.  I should know in a couple weeks when I see my radiologist for a followup.  We set up the telltale scan meetings.  Early November I'm having my MRI and PET scan that will see if Harvey is gone.  Then a follow up with my oncologist and the colo-rectal surgeon who will go over the scans and do a physical as they want to be sure he is or is not gone before proceeding to the next step.  My hope is that I come up NED...what a neat Thanksgiving and Christmas Gift that would be!  So keep praying that Harvey is toast.  I appreciate and am thankful each and every one of you is there.  Be well always, Marilyne