May 20, 2012 - 11:46 am
It's been a a few years since Linda P started the roll call. Reading the intros I was surprised with the volume of UPSC sisters...although the gyn/onc practice I go to in Dallas is one of the larger in the area I've yet to meet anyone with 'my' cancer.
Anyhow, I'm 7 months post-diagnosis and thought I'd share a bit about what this journey has been like. Here's my story:
*Ultrasound in September 2011 indicated a fibroid
*D&C was unsuccessful (who knew a uterus could have a septum, just like a nose?) so had a robotic hysterectomy in October 2011
*Pathology report came back positive for UPSC
*De-bulking/staging surgery in November 2011 indicated I was UPSC Stage IA
*Started chemo (taxol/carboplatin) in December - 3 treatments, each 3 weeks apart
*Had 25 rounds of external radiation between February-March 2012
*Resumed chemo (taxol/carboplatin) in April...two down one to go
Things I learned about my body:
* My veins are shot, I bruise easily (even got a superficial blood clot from an irritated chemo line), but that passes and I'm now used to walking around in short sleeves even when it looks like I just got out of a MMA cage fight
* Chemo- and painkiller-induced constipation is real and my sure fire remedies of queso, salad bars, Pringles, and pizza are nothing. I'd rather drink the prune juice/Milk of Magnesia cocktail than have a hemmorhoid!
* The something-crawled-in-my-mouth-and-died taste lasts 2 weeks after each chemo treatment. If I want to enjoy a good meal I have it before or right after chemo. From then on it's Asian cuisine heavy on the soy sauce, and German potato salad heavy on the vinegar. You'd think I'd lose weight since nothing tastes like anything, but I keep eating hoping something will taste good. At least I'm saving money by not eating out all the time.
* Chemo bone pain is real, and not every med works for everyone. Hydrocodone did nothing for me, but a combination of Tylenol 650 and Tramadol has been a miracle worker. And if my Rx runs out my dog takes Tramadol too so I can always get in her stash
* Insomnia sucks. The steroids and the painkillers are the big culprits, and after a few days of sleep deprivation everything seems worse. Thank heavens for Ambien.
* There are benefits to being a bald lady! Getting ready in the morning is a snap, and many cute fellows will call you 'pretty lady' and compliment you on your haircut. And you can wear tons of eye makeup and still look good. And big earrings look fabulous
* I like not having to shave my legs/arms or pluck my eyebrows
* Radiation fatigue is real. I'm lucky that it didn't linger much after treatment. Neither did the diarrhea. My bladder is not the camel-like organ it used to be, but it still works.
* Feeling alone is the worst. These boards, my friends and family and colleagues - I'd be lost without them. Through these I've learned to be my own advocate, to not put up with condescending medical staff, to ask the same question 100 times until I'm satisfied I understand the answer, to be open about my treatment and symptoms because someone out there has been through the same and has tips for survival, to maintain a sense of humor.
I'm now looking at my final round of chemo in June (hopefully final!). I'm more afraid of the unknown/waiting than I am of the treatments I've undergone. But time will march on whether or not I'm scared and I'll just have to deal with whatever life throws at me. It is what it is.
My heart goes out to all the folks I've met in my journey - virtually and in the waiting rooms of hospitals and clinics. Everyone has had an impact on me and for that I am grateful.
Liz in Dallas