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Hope

eparcells's picture
eparcells
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2003

Hi, I'm Elizabeth, 52 years old. A year ago I was diagnosed with colon cancer stage 4. Long story short: Sigmoid out, colostomy in, mets to both lobes of the liver, to the lymphs and lower pelvis. We were left with chemo as the only treatment option due to adhesions in the abdomen from rads I had for childhood cancer (that one I beat!) and the widespread involvement of the liver.

At this point I must say what all of you already know: that a diagnosis like this turns your life on a dime. Whatever you were doing before, you become a full time cancer patient and you life is not the same anymore. The people you care about also have to come to terms with your illness and the ultimate outcome.

During the past year my scans have shown no progression or new lesions, so the chemo appears to be holding the status quo. However, the treatments have been very difficult and I have had many side effects and trips to the ER. The worst was pulmonary embolisms which could have proved fatal for which I am taking blood thinner via daily self-injection. Most recent complication has been bone loss which led to a spontaneous fracture of a rib. I was given Zometa which also had very unpleasant side effects.

My doctor has been honest with me, saying there is no likelyhood of a cure in my case because of the advanced nature of it. However he has offered me every opportunity to treat it aggressively and with the newest medicines. I am on Avastin now, and still holding my own.

I have read posts here where patients report stage IV cancers in remission. This is very hopeful to see that even hopeless cases can be turned around. I want to believe that remission is possible even for me. So far, tho, my response to treatment has only been to hold off the cancer progression for the time being. Each time I do a two month CT scan I brace myself for the results, knowing that at any time I may receive bad news. This has become a way of life.

Humor, attitude, faith and perseverance have been the only real weapons I have to keep going. Feeling bad is demoralizing and feels good when it stops. Most of my discomfort has been from the treatments themselves, which sometimes makes me wonder why I am going thru with it. My doctor says the treatments in my case are palliative and completely my choice to do them or not. That empowers me to do what I think is best and so, mentally at least, I am more willing to take my medicine than if it were being "forced" on me. I call the shots. (Excuse the pun.)

People, knowing I am sick, keep telling me how GREAT I look. Isn't it funny, they never used to tell me how great I looked before... So I answer, Yes I sure do, in fact, I look alot better than my chart! I talk honestly about my condition and find myself pep-talking the people around me, that I am in good spirits and doing fine. It is also interesting that, since I became "cancer aware" I am realizing how many of the people I know have dealt with cancer in their lives. This has been a huge learning experience for me, that cancer touches so many.

It is difficult to hold onto Hope for myself. So I hope for better days, for my family and friends to move on and know happiness, for more time with them, for better medicines and a cure someday. I hope someone can give me hope with more information about treatments or experiences they've had beating this thing.

With respect for all of you, Elizabeth

jsabol's picture
jsabol
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Elizabeth, from a 53 year old in treatment for stage 3. I was so touched by how eloquently you described your situation and by the strength you have. Life after a cancer diagnosis sure is different. I hope your response to Avastin is good. I have a young friend (34) who was diagnosed with a large diffuse inoperable lung mass with mets to 2 sites in the brain. She was in an early clinical trial of Avastin, combined with other agents. A year and a half after her diagnosis, there is no evidence of any tumors. She is a walking miracle, but miracles do happen. I hope others who post here can be of more specific help. Wishing you continued hope (which a local onc said is knowing that you can deal with whatever lies ahead). Regards, Judy

livin
Posts: 319
Joined: Jan 2003

Hi Elizabeth I would like to Thank you. May God Bless You and Keep the Faith. Livin

ipetrou
Posts: 33
Joined: May 2004

what a beautiful note. if you want to try some complementary therapy (nutrition, supplements, relaxation) that might not only help you fight the cancer but help you tolerate the toxic treatments, check out the Block Clinic website - i believe it is blockmd.com but you can also go to Google and put in 'block clinic evanston' and it will be easy to find. all the best to you.

jana11
Posts: 708
Joined: May 2004

the title of your note says it all... you give all of us hope. Thank you for sharing your story. We are all there with you. I am 34 with stage 4 rectal cancer, currently NED and on chemo.. and quietly waiting. People constantly tell me how good I look; frankly, I get tired of hearing it. I just finished treatment for a clot in my brain, injections 2x a day for 6 months!

You are in all of our thoughts now. Stay strong and hopeful. Luckily colon cancer is getting a good amount of funding for research. There is ALWAYS a chance for remission... 1% cure rate means 1 person in 100 are 100% cured. People do beat the odds, just remain grounded..... appreciate life. You can't do more than that.

Let us know how you are doing, we are here for you! jana

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