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Serous Uterine Cancer

ilovehorses's picture
ilovehorses
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2014

I was diagnosed in November of 2013 with uterine cancer after several irregular pap smears through a period of about four years. I was incredibly stupid, ignoring a bloody discharge from my body for months, then one day waking up with clots and clots of blood which finally drove me to my gyn doctor. She sent me to a women's clinic and they did a biopsy from my uterus and advised me to seek an oncologist surgeon immediately. I had a radical hysterectomy, removing all female parts and the lymph nodes in the abdomen area were also biopsied. The serous cancer cells had eaten through the uterine wall and muscle and were found on the surface of the uterus and one fallopian tube. A saline wash revealed more of the serous cancer cells present in the abdominal cavity. 

I have been procrastinating about starting the chemotherapy for personal reasons and reasons relating to insurance obstacles and money issues. I will be 69 in March and I thought I would never have to face this "C" word because as far as I know, there is no history of female cancer in my history. 

I will probably have my first chemotherapy in February and I need some input from anyone who has faced this and what I can expect to have happen to my body. I have been on leave of absence from my job for months because of a broken foot and now this horror looms before me and I don't know how I am going to get through this alone. I have no family to depend on, although I have two older sisters but they live a thousand miles away and are both dealing with husbands who are very ill and in one case incapacitated so they don't even seem to be aware of my situation. And there would be little or nothing they could do in any case. 

My advice to anyone reading this is please please if your body is trying to tell you it is sick ....... listen. If I had gone to the gyn when the discharge first started I might have a better prognosis. 

I live in Arizona, and thank goodness for the sunshine most every day. 

NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 409
Joined: Mar 2013

I will tell you, as everyone else will, "everyone is different" so treatment effects everyone differently.  HOWEVER, the drugs they have to help along the way have gotten so much better than they used to be.  (Over 20 years ago a friend of mine was treated for cervical cancer - and yes she is still alive - and she was sick as a dog after her treatments)

I was able to work through all my treatments except for the day I got the chemo - it was an all day process.  (3 chemo/25 external radiation/3 internal radiation/3 chemo)  Chemo is constipating so buy stock in Miralax.  For me the first chemo treatment was the worst as the joints in my knees and hips felt arthiritic about 4 days later, but was never as bad for the subsequent treatments.  Some people have neuropathy - tingling in their fingers or feet, some get very nauseau, all of it is very exhausting. 

You need to take care of yourself and eat properly.  I sat down and talked with a dietician who worked specifically with cancer patients and that was very good.  My chemo nurse said "Push the protein" but I didn't know what that meant and she was able to help explain what that meant.

It is scary, it is exhausting, but you can do it.  I knew I was strong, but having done this?  I have amazed myself.  From what you have written you sound very down-to-earth.  I think you will amaze yourself!

 

ilovehorses's picture
ilovehorses
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2014

Thank you so much for your response. I would appreciate any advice pertaining to this coming experience of chemo and possibly radiation as what I have read is sometimes pretty frightening. Since I have been a vegetarian for the greatest part of my life I know diet can be very important and also attitude. I am not a prima dona in my actions or my life and since I have horses(5) and dogs(4) I know I can do whatever is necessary to insure their quality of life does not fail either. But at this late stage in life I hope that I have the physical resources to draw on to sustain me through the whole experience. And I am an outdoor person so it is beneficial that I live in a warm climate where I can be outside with my animals as much as possible. 

I look forward to being through this and getting my life back on track. Without going into details, my life has been in limbo now for several months, and now this. 

Thanks Again.

 

NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 409
Joined: Mar 2013

That is where you are going to start.  Hopefully you were able to sit down with a nurse who walked you through what was going to happen, how long it would take, and most importantly let you know to call them with any questions you have. 

I hate to "assume", but the typical drugs used are taxol and carboplatin.  It will cause you to lose your hair which will really start to fall out from 10-14 days after your first treatment.  (I see most ladies say this time line as well).  Chemo is constipating so my nurse recommended Miralax.  (We should all have stock in the company that makes this and we would all be rich!)  You will want to figure out how much to take and it is a little trial and error there as all our intestines are different.  (I have been taking pro-biotics for years too)

The steroids they give you in advance and for a few days after treatment make you feel ok.  My flu like symptoms were aches in my knees and hips - and all I could really take was Tylenol and I never had it that bad again with any of the other chemos. Some women develop neuropathy, but I didn't. 

Your immunity will dip for about a week after treatment so you want to be careful.  I was told no digging in the garden, and certain foods were off limits.

I love to eat and I never understood how people didn't want to eat but chemo showed me the way!  I lost my appetite and forced myself to eat because I know that is what I needed to keep going.  Protein in whatever form you can is what you want.  Milk, cheese, nuts, I know you don't do animal protein, but you probably know all the good, high protein vegetarian food out there. 

Do you know how often you are going?  Mine was once every 3 weeks but the doctor sets the schedule.  You will want to keep your blood counts up because that will determine if you get the chemo or not.  In the end, your attitude has a huge part in this.  I don't believe people mean to say hurtful things - they just don't know what to say.  When I first found out and knew very little at that time a good friend walked in to my office and asked if it metasticized?!  He is lucky he is still walking around and I didn't beat him right there!  He didn't mean to hurt me but he did.  ANYTIME anyone started to talk negative i just put my hand up as if to say "stop" and say, "I am staying positive".  That shut down anything negative they were going to say.

Just try to start with this now.  Let us know when you go for your first treatment and tell us how it went.  I am sorry, I don't mean to ramble on.  I hope this was helpful.

SUNGRANNY
Posts: 74
Joined: Dec 2012

Hello Serous Uterine cancer sister,

Sorry to "meet" under these circumstances.  

I'd like to add a few comments to the fine advice of our sisters.  

I went through "if only", regret, and self-blame until I realized that It doesn't help, and is a waste of mymental resources.  

In terms of Chemotherapy - 

Do you go to a Cancer Center, or is there a Cancer Support Center anywhere nearby?  Our Cancer Center has Chem Ed classes that were helpful. Also, American Cancer Society has a helpful booklet on Chemotherapy - lists info for a variety of symptoms.  They also have wigs, hats, scarves, counselors, support groups, and other free services.  Also good to sit down with a nutritionist.

If you have a Cancer Center, ask if they have support services or a social worker who can help if you need assistance with referrals for help with financial issues, transportation, etc.

The women on this board have suggested supplements to help with side effects such as leg pains and neuropathy.  My dr had me meet with the oncological pharmacist, and as long as they agreed, okayed B6, and L-Glutamine, among other supplements.  (You can do a search on Chemotherapy or leg pains.)

I used a wonderful guided visualization to prepare for, and during chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  I feel it was very helpful.  There are many out there.  The one I have is PREPARE YOUR BODY FOR CHEMOTHERAPY AND RADIATION by Sue Van Hook.  I also use a healing guided visualization for cancer survivors by Bellaruth Naprostek.  Because my treatments lasted 5 hours, I brought a small rolling bag filled with goodies such as my DVD/CD player, book, DVD, etc.  I listed to Sue Van Hook during the Chemo treatments.  Some of the chemo nurses asked about it, as they wanted to get a copy to have available for other chemo patients.

I did (still do) have neuropathy, had leg pains but not too bd, and just a few days, and did need to get my head shaved.  I learned from this board that I nedded to walk everyday, no matter how I felt, and I think this helped to relieve much of the pain.  This may not be an issue for you if you go out daily to help your animals.  

In terms of support and help for you, other sources might be religious organizations, American Cancer Society, Volunteer organizations, or anyone who says "let meknow if you need help."  Don't be afraid to let them know what you need.

I was diagnosed with Serous Uterine Cancer in Nov 2012 which was staged at 4 after surgery (due to spread to lymph nodes and bladder.)  Dr could not remove the effected spinal arterial lymph nodes.  Dr said, "we hope the chemo will either shrink or stabilize the lymph nodes."   Most recent CT Scan, Dec 2013 shows that the lymph nodes which shrunk dudring the chemo treatments are stable.  So hang in there, and know that many of us across the country, and in other countries, will be thinking of you with healing thoughts and prayers.

Sungranny

 

 

 

Sandyknits
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2013

sounds like you bring many strengths to your journey already. I only had to do 3 chemos- taxol and carbo. Hair began to fall out on day 14 so I had my head shaved. I wore hats because I did not feel like myself in a wig. I broughtgoodie bag ofactivities to each treatment but tried to sleep. I only got steroids as part of my infusion, along with Benadryl and anti nausea meds. Had a bit of queasiness after 1st treatment but none after that. I was achy on day 3-5 or thereabouts. Used Advil or Aleve and Tylenol as needed. Tried to walk regularly but by the end my red count was low and I had less energy. I chose to work a reduced schedule through chemo- and limited crowd exposure. 

For support in addition to all that has been suggested you might want to look at the Cancer Support Community- in addition to programs at sites around the country, they have weekly online groups that are professionally facilitated. Good luck.

ilovehorses's picture
ilovehorses
Posts: 3
Joined: Jan 2014

Arizona Oncology is my cancer center and I really like the people and my oncologist too.

February 14, Valentine's Day, my port was put in to aid in the chemotherapy application. I was told I would keep this port at least a year. No problem now that it has healed and although I don't like the scar on my chest ubove my right breast I guess it will fade just in time to be reopened for removal of the port.

I had my first treament on March 5, day after my 69th birthday. It lasted six hours. I felt O.K. after, went grocery shopping then home to eat some food and tend to my horses.

Today I went back for the shot that the insurance won't allow you to get the same day as treatment the one that keeps the white blood cell count up, Neulasta SQ.

Today I felt fine, no nausea, and no pain anywhere. I took care of my horses, and did some more shopping and bought myself a flower for my birthday and the cutest little yard donkey to put the flower into on my front porch.

I'm eating lots of protein type foods and veggies and drinking extra water. The strawberries are so good right now and they help keep me regular too.

I am hoping for the best here ladies. I put off chemo for three months, I should have started the first week of December if I didn't have to make trips to Texas to retrieve my horses and at least part of my belongings.

I appreciate everyone and your advice too. I hope this journey is an uneventful one, but I can only hope for the best.

NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 409
Joined: Mar 2013

You've got the right attitude and when you get tired, take the time and rest.  Be careful of infection, but you got it right.  LOVING you medical team is important as well and thank you for letting us know.

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