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thank you for the strength you've given as I begin treatment

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

The battle begins tomorrow. Ever since my first post on this site a couple of weeks ago, all of you have offered your encouragement, knowledge, support, and love. I truly feel like I have a new family.

You have answered my questions and shared your stories and offered suggestions on how to deal with side effects and everything else. You all have been amazing.

As I stated in my first post, I am a gay male. I have no partner and no family close by to help, but I AM NOT ALONE. I have my little dog, and she seems to be more loving every day. My neighbors have come together to offer help in every possible way...meal preparation, transportation, and taking care of my dog. Several have offered to spend the night with her if I have to be hospitalized.

And there is each and every one of you! I no longer feel alone in this battle, and I just want to thank you and tell you that I appreciate you more than I can say. I know there are some rough days ahead, but I know that I'll get through it. You've taken away so much of my fear and feelings of isolation.

You all overwhelm me, and I am blessed.

sephie's picture
sephie
Posts: 514
Joined: Apr 2009

thank you for your kind words. we are all so fortunate to have each other. not fortunate due to the reason but still blessed by each other. hugs to you sephie

Phoebesnow
Posts: 447
Joined: Apr 2011

I hope all goes smoothly for you and that u suffer minimally. I think my dog knew I had cancer long before anyone. He used to stick his long nose all the way up my butt and he wouldn't kiss me. He didn't do this to others and he would kiss a stranger.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2819
Joined: Jan 2010

I was thinking of you early this morning, as I know this is a big day for you. It will go smoothly and you'll feel a sense of relief, knowing that you are now doing something to kick cancer to the curb. You have said some very kind things to all of us. I think we are such a close-knit group because we are able to talk about this disease without judgement or criticism. Cancer gives us nothing good, except for those special people we meet along the way, who are truly a gift.

I am not a dog owner, but I have two cats. They were such a comfort to me during treatment, as they were able to sense how bad I felt. They are usually full of mischief, but during that period of time, they behaved very well! It was not unusual for me to wake up in my bed and find both of them cuddled up very closely to me. They understood. Your dog will understand your situation much better than most people--I'm glad she will be by your side all the way.

We will look forward to your updates whenever you feel like it. We are always here for you, no matter what you need. I wish you a smooth first day of treatment and hope each one that follows will go just as well. You will beat this disease and come out of it healthy and strong. Good luck today!

kirby77
Posts: 48
Joined: Jul 2012

By now you've started your treatment. I am sending you good vibrations from California. Whatever happens you'll have started, which is a good thing. I am now starting my 3rd week, and look forward to having a long weekend due to labor day to recover from radiation.

Take care, my doggy companion is lying on the floor next to me. It's true they are incredible, the sensitivity and concern that they express is amazing.

Keep writing, it makes me feel less alone too.

RoseC's picture
RoseC
Posts: 501
Joined: Jun 2011

Stru and kirby - sending my prayers and warmest thoughts to you as you start/continue treatment. And to all those who are either planning to start or have finished and are recovering, my prayers and thoughts are with you too.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I am praying for you that you get through this and that the treatments kill every cancer cell in your body! I hope that today went well and that you are getting some rest! Peace, love, and strength to you! You are surely not alone! You will beat this cancer .

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Dear friends...one day down!

I want to say first thing that I thought about you all a lot yesterday, and I was the calmest I've ever been while at the hospital. At some point, I usually break down in tears, but not yesterday.

Duke has a "Quiet Room," and I went in there to pray and meditate (yes, I'm a prayer) between appointments. I uplifted all of us in prayer. I was the only person in the room, and it was very peaceful with beautiful background music and just the design itself.

The day started with getting the picc line and ended with chemo and getting the pump. Chemo was supposed to be at 3:15, but I didn't get the pump until 6:30.

So far, so good. I don't feel sick per se, but I have a slight headache and am lightheaded at times and just feel a little different. Nothing major though, so I'm not complaining.

I can never say it enough...thank you for being here for me. Bless you all.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

Praying for you and hoping this week flies by until you get the picc line out! Don't forget to dring a lot of water. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all time. Room temperature worked best for me. Sounds like you are centered and ready for this fight! You will do just fine! Peace and Love, Mary

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2819
Joined: Jan 2010

I'm so glad your first day went smoothly, except for the delay. It sounds like you did quite well. You described perfectly how I felt when day 1 ended--"different." Not really bad, just not normal. I remember being really tired that night and going to bed at 7:30! But I think I was so relieved that I had made it through the first day and was finally doing something to fight back that I allowed myself to just relax and rest.

Thanks for thinking of all us while you were getting started! We will all continue to think of you as the days go by. You can do this!

StruTanToot
Posts: 108
Joined: Aug 2012

Hi...you have been so very helpful to me, and I appreciate your help and encouragement. All the folks on here have just been great.

I have another question and thought I'd ask you. I met with the doc today and asked him about the PET scan results. He told me there were swollen lymph nodes all in my pelvic area and around the original site as well.

The report said "lymph node metatasis." If you recall, I have HIV. The doc said people with HIV had swollen lymph nodes, so there is a chance that is why the nodes are swollen. He said though he had to treat them as if it was cancer.

He said things the prognosis is still very good, but if the nodes are cancerous, it decreases the prognosis a little. I asked him about staging and he said it was complicated, but it is stage three if the lymph nodes are cancerous.

He still plans on doing IMRT. He seemed to say that there were lots of swollen node in the pelvic area, so now I'm wondering if the traditional 3-D therapy would be better.

What are your thoughts?

Thanks so much.

mp327's picture
mp327
Posts: 2819
Joined: Jan 2010

I think IMRT is still your best choice, but I am not a doctor. I got IMRT and I know in the beginning, my entire pelvic area was radiated. Both types of radiation therapy are mentioned in the NCCN guidelines for treatment of anal cancer. I think this is a question better posed to your rad onc. My understanding of IMRT is that it will not damage surrounding tissue as much in the tumor area. As for staging, the information you were given is correct. Cancer in the nodes presents as either IIIA or IIIB, depending on the size of the original tumor. Do not let this discourage you though! I know quite a few people who were stage IIIB and are doing quite well years later. Please let us know what your doc has to say about this and hang on to his words that your prognosis remains very good.

torrance
Posts: 118
Joined: Jan 2012

Congratulations on an uneventful start for you! I love that you are taking a take charge attitude and educating yourself. I believe there is strength in knowledge. I too think IMRT is the way to go these days.

Having a dog is great! It will help give you something else to focus on. I have three dogs and during treatment we were also dog sitting my daughters dog while she worked. They truly are a godsend.

Keep coming back with updates and for uplifting. Before you know it YOU will be the one doing the uplifting for someone else.

Joanne

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