T3,N0,M0 - 8 years later

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gabby_ca
gabby_ca Member Posts: 38

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with this cancer and staged at T3,N0,MO and I was 38 years of age, a new widow and a mom to a newborn baby. I thought then that my diagnosis was a 'death' sentence and I was incredibly scared to my very soul.  I set my life up to look after my son when I passed away and I thought my life was over.

The treatment was BRUTAL.  I had 3rd degree burns from the 6500gy of radiation and I did mito C/5FU as well as gene therapy and I sucked it up and did it while the nurses on the floor watched my son while I did my treatments on an out patient basis.  I did not lose my hair and I ran up and down soccer fields coaching while a PICC line was in my arm with the chemo drugs in a hip pouch around my waist.

I refused to give up.

Eight years later, I am doing amazing.  I no longer have periods and I never did from the gate after radiation and I am so grateful for my son and what he means to me.  I swear he kept me going and today, he is in grade 2 and thriving.  Frankly, so am I.

I have to use lubrication for intercourse ALWAYS and I find that the 'more' the better to keep it open. (no offence please.) Some foods bug me and I can no longer eat anything greasy, fatty or anything dairy and I am good to go.  I find that mostly vegetarian works wonders for my body.

I now have 9 horses, 7 acres of property, a new boyfriend and I am self employed managing barns full of horses for others and I am super active and in the best shape of my life.

Yes, I still get scared although I don't have doctors' visits anymore as I have been kicked out of cancer school.  \

I am hoping to provide some inspiration to those just starting out as well as those who are a few years out.  I remember coming here and seeing people who are FOUR years surviving and I always hoped that I would get there and I did and I just kept on going and I hope you all will too.

We can ALL get through this cancer by following the 'head down and tails up' and getting it done', philosophy.

I think I am now a 'veteran' of sorts in these circles and am here to offer advice to anyone seeking it.

 

Cheers,

 

Gabby

 

Comments

  • AZANNIE
    AZANNIE Member Posts: 445 Member
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    Gabby

    Thanks so much for your inspirational message!  It's always nice to hear from a "veteran" - congrats!  I'm two and a half years out and doing pretty well. Yes, the treatment is brutal, but we somehow manage to endure and adjust to the new normal.
    Best wishes to you and your son!

    Ann

     

  • TraceyUSA
    TraceyUSA Member Posts: 316
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    That is GREAT news

    Gabby - I am so glad to see stories like yours (not that you had to get this cancer but the you are doing well after 8 years).  I'm coming up on the 1 year mark (T2 or 3, N0, M0) and feel almost normal now.

    Question - you mention gene therary.  What is that?

    - Tracey

  • judyv3
    judyv3 Member Posts: 143 Member
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    Gabby

    This post is definite inspiration and motivation!  I am 9 days out of treatment (who's counting).  I am struggling with the after effects of this treatment.  

    But knowing how far you have come, when I feel like I will never feel "normal" is truly inspirational! 

  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member
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    Hi Gabby!

    Seeing your post makes my day!  You can't imagine how many times I've wondered how you were doing (remember me?  We used to be in touch on another website).  It is SO good to hear that you are doing well, thriving, in fact, and that you are happy, active, and enjoying all the things in life that you love.  It also gives me great comfort, as always, to hear someone's survival story who has more years under their belt than I do.  I just passed the 5-year mark last September.  While I have the occasional post-treatment issues, they have not slowed me down or made me regret going through the brutal treatment.  Life is good!  I am still able to run and did my first full marathon in April 2012.  I think that if I'd never had cancer, I would not have been determined or courageous enough to even attempt a long race like that.  But I did it!

    I am so glad you came here to update us.  Long-term survivors are ALWAYS welcome and their stories are most appreciated, especially by those who are just starting out in this journey.  And also by those like me who still wonder at times if it's possible to keep going for years and years to come.  Thank you for your post.  I wish you and your son all the very best!

    Martha 

  • caholz33
    caholz33 Member Posts: 45 Member
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    Gabby

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED reading your post!!  So happy you addressed some permanent side effects but aren't letting them stop you from having a fantastic life.  I am 5 months out and just scheduled a PET scan for April.  Surprised at how young you were at diagnosis (I was 49).  Very glad you had had your son by then ... did they discuss freezing any eggs prior to treatment?  For me, the resulting menopause is a bit sudden (like hitting a brick wall instead of gradual) but hardly a tragedy as I'm 50 now.  Thank you so much for your inspirational post, - A.H.

  • Lawchick618
    Lawchick618 Member Posts: 20
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    caholz33 said:

    Gabby

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED reading your post!!  So happy you addressed some permanent side effects but aren't letting them stop you from having a fantastic life.  I am 5 months out and just scheduled a PET scan for April.  Surprised at how young you were at diagnosis (I was 49).  Very glad you had had your son by then ... did they discuss freezing any eggs prior to treatment?  For me, the resulting menopause is a bit sudden (like hitting a brick wall instead of gradual) but hardly a tragedy as I'm 50 now.  Thank you so much for your inspirational post, - A.H.

    Gabby

    thank you for your inspirational post.  I am 38 years old and 13 days post treatment.  I heal a little more everyday.  I haven't thought much about the sexual side effects of this treatment but have been reading some posts lately.

    Am I going to have issues the rest of my life?? What can I expect or not expect?  Right now I just want the painful bm's to go away but I am happily married and want a normal life again.

    Thanks

     

  • gabby_ca
    gabby_ca Member Posts: 38
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    TraceyUSA said:

    That is GREAT news

    Gabby - I am so glad to see stories like yours (not that you had to get this cancer but the you are doing well after 8 years).  I'm coming up on the 1 year mark (T2 or 3, N0, M0) and feel almost normal now.

    Question - you mention gene therary.  What is that?

    - Tracey

    Hey Tracey, Gene Therapy -

    Hwy Tracey,

     

    Gene Therapy - I decided to participate in a phase 1-2 clinical trial. (I am in Canada and thought what the heck?  Maybe it would help me and maybe some others at the same time.  I had blood taken over the course of 6 weeks and the trial doctors changed the DNA to become senstive to the Squamous Cell Carcinoma and then they injected me with the changed blood over a few weeks as well.  I then had markers taken via blood draw to track it.  I was followed with the trial for 5 years and had zero effects or long term residual effects from the gene therapy.  I do believe that the long term success with ANY cancer will ultimately become more personalized to each of our bodies as we all have different cancers that ultimately should be treated on an individual basis.

  • gabby_ca
    gabby_ca Member Posts: 38
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    mp327 said:

    Hi Gabby!

    Seeing your post makes my day!  You can't imagine how many times I've wondered how you were doing (remember me?  We used to be in touch on another website).  It is SO good to hear that you are doing well, thriving, in fact, and that you are happy, active, and enjoying all the things in life that you love.  It also gives me great comfort, as always, to hear someone's survival story who has more years under their belt than I do.  I just passed the 5-year mark last September.  While I have the occasional post-treatment issues, they have not slowed me down or made me regret going through the brutal treatment.  Life is good!  I am still able to run and did my first full marathon in April 2012.  I think that if I'd never had cancer, I would not have been determined or courageous enough to even attempt a long race like that.  But I did it!

    I am so glad you came here to update us.  Long-term survivors are ALWAYS welcome and their stories are most appreciated, especially by those who are just starting out in this journey.  And also by those like me who still wonder at times if it's possible to keep going for years and years to come.  Thank you for your post.  I wish you and your son all the very best!

    Martha 

    Hey Martha,
     
    Of course, I

    Hey Martha,

     

    Of course, I remember you.  :)  So nice to see you again.  Congrats on the 5 year mark.  It indeed goes by so fast.  

  • gabby_ca
    gabby_ca Member Posts: 38
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    caholz33 said:

    Gabby

    I LOVED LOVED LOVED reading your post!!  So happy you addressed some permanent side effects but aren't letting them stop you from having a fantastic life.  I am 5 months out and just scheduled a PET scan for April.  Surprised at how young you were at diagnosis (I was 49).  Very glad you had had your son by then ... did they discuss freezing any eggs prior to treatment?  For me, the resulting menopause is a bit sudden (like hitting a brick wall instead of gradual) but hardly a tragedy as I'm 50 now.  Thank you so much for your inspirational post, - A.H.

    Hi there,
    No, there was no

    Hi there,

    No, there was no discussion about freezing my eggs before treatment.  I actually had my tubes untied to get pregnant with my son and it was determined that the HCG from my pregnancy actually fueled my cancer growth so getting pregnant was completely out of the equation for me as my oncology team felt that I would have had a recurrance for sure.  Thankfully, the HCG that fueled my cancer growth gave me a wonderful little man before it grew to the size of a lime when it was discovered.  My oncologists felt that had I NOT become pregnant, I would have never been diagnosed so young as the cancer would have been more slow growing.

    I do not feel the effects of menopause and my doctors are not sure why.  I do not get hot flashes etc although I have to use lubrication for intercourse due to the glands being fried and not producing their own lubrication.

  • eihtak
    eihtak Member Posts: 1,473 Member
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    Gabby.....

    What a great post.  I am 3yrs post treatment and doing great as well.  You must have been quite an inspiration coaching soccer in the middle of treatment.  I have to admit there is not a chance I could have done that as I was struggling with minor complications and hospitalized.

    Cancer school is a school well worth being kicked out of!!  I will hope you never return for your masters degree!

    Be well............

     

  • mp327
    mp327 Member Posts: 4,440 Member
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    gabby_ca said:

    Hey Martha,
     
    Of course, I

    Hey Martha,

     

    Of course, I remember you.  :)  So nice to see you again.  Congrats on the 5 year mark.  It indeed goes by so fast.  

    Gabby

    Thank you!  Hitting the 5-year mark was a monumental milestone for me, as you well know from your own experience.  And yes, time has certainly flown by.  It seems like yesterday that I found out I had cancer.  Again, I am so happy to know that you are doing well!

  • lizdeli
    lizdeli Member Posts: 569 Member
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    eihtak said:

    Gabby.....

    What a great post.  I am 3yrs post treatment and doing great as well.  You must have been quite an inspiration coaching soccer in the middle of treatment.  I have to admit there is not a chance I could have done that as I was struggling with minor complications and hospitalized.

    Cancer school is a school well worth being kicked out of!!  I will hope you never return for your masters degree!

    Be well............

     

    Thanks for our post Gabby

    Gabby,

    Your post was is truly inspirational, thank you so much for sharing.  You have been through so much, physically and emotionally and it makes my heart happy to know that you are doing well and thriving.  May each day bring you more happiness and contiued good health.

     

    Liz - 4 1/2 years and thankful beyond belief!

  • cap630
    cap630 Member Posts: 151 Member
    Options
    Thank you for sharing. I am

    Thank you for sharing. I am two and a half years out of treatment.  I will think if your story when the cancer demons dance late in the night.  Which are becoming less and less.

  • TraceyUSA
    TraceyUSA Member Posts: 316
    Options
    gabby_ca said:

    Hey Tracey, Gene Therapy -

    Hwy Tracey,

     

    Gene Therapy - I decided to participate in a phase 1-2 clinical trial. (I am in Canada and thought what the heck?  Maybe it would help me and maybe some others at the same time.  I had blood taken over the course of 6 weeks and the trial doctors changed the DNA to become senstive to the Squamous Cell Carcinoma and then they injected me with the changed blood over a few weeks as well.  I then had markers taken via blood draw to track it.  I was followed with the trial for 5 years and had zero effects or long term residual effects from the gene therapy.  I do believe that the long term success with ANY cancer will ultimately become more personalized to each of our bodies as we all have different cancers that ultimately should be treated on an individual basis.

    That's really interesting

    Thanks for sharing that info and thanks for participating to help others!