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more birthdays to us all

donna_lee
donna_lee Member Posts: 1,018
Six years ago today, I had already been told I had a mass in my kidney and one, possibly two in the left lobe of my liver, and they couldn't tell what else. On 5/10, the oncologist gave me the news that the odds for Stage IV were a 5-7 month survival without treatment. He recommended surgery. More tests-CT, Bone Scan, consult with 3 specialists in one room at Oregon Health Sciences University (Urologic/Oncologic surgeon, Thoracic surgeon with specialty in Liver diseases, and a general research oncologist.) "We can do it, they said."

Less than 6 weeks later, they did it! Removed were a r. kidney with an 8x12x8 cm tumor, the left lobe of the liver with another large tumor, a set of lymph nodes from near the kidney with 3 of 11 positive for cancer...and my gall bladder, which had a congenital defect and wan't draining right anyway. Other than an episode of pancreatitis at three weeks post surgery, recovery was "normal."

I went on an every 3 month CT, and the difference between the winter and spring tests showed an enlarging node in the fossa (depression) where the kidney had been. It was only attached to the aorta and the duodenum. Confirmation on fine needle aspiration biopsy. I pretty much knew the routine, and had an appointment set up with the specialist at OHSU, via blackberry while he was at a convention out of town. End of June, they added to the incision scar, did the delicate surgery, and sent me on my way. I felt so well, I drove part of the way home and took myself out to lunch the following day.

Routine CT's at 6 months now.

Oops...a change between the 6 mo and 12 mo scans. This time a node dorsal (back of) to the bifurcation of the aorta (where it splits in the lower abdomen to go down each leg); it could not be biopsied, but the PET scan showed it was glowing abnormally. Another surgery, this one vertically, too. Now the scar is up to 14 inches long.

So what may be said at this time. It hasn't been easy, my body is older. I've had six more birthdays. It's been 3 years since the most recent cancer Dx. It's been 8 months since the most recent scare (thyroid tumors found on CT, then ultrasound, nuclear scan and biopsy- results,negative).

But I go to work, play with the grand children, belong to community organizations, volunteer at the high school, visit with family and friends, buy plants for the garden, travel, etc. It sounds pretty bland. Makes one almost feel normal, except there is always, always a nagging doubt somewhere in the back of the mind as the next set of tests approaches.

Surgery has been my option and it's been successful each time. To those who have had mets to other places and are able to use drug treatments, even in tests, my hats are off to you.
For those remaining who have family or friends who are no longer here, my condolences.

A recent mailing from our Relay for Life coordinator indicated that there is a 63% survival rate from cancer now. We have lots to look forward to in the future.

And, More birthdays to us all.
Donna_lee

Comments

  • icemantoo
    icemantoo Member Posts: 3,357 **
    Happy Birthday
    Donna_lee,

    Now that you are doing much better why settle for a 63% survival rate. After what you went through it should be 99.44%.

    Icemantoo
  • garym
    garym Member Posts: 1,647
    Congratulations!!!
    Donna,

    Stories of hope and survival like yours have a profound affect on me because I have known so many that lost the fight. It is one of the biggest reasons I keep hanging around here. If I get to feeling down or worried about "IT" coming back, I can count on you, LB, fox, TW, Jon, etc. to pick me up and recharge my batteries. Wear those scars proudly and know that you are the wind beneath my wings.

    Thank you,

    Gary
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181
    garym said:

    Congratulations!!!
    Donna,

    Stories of hope and survival like yours have a profound affect on me because I have known so many that lost the fight. It is one of the biggest reasons I keep hanging around here. If I get to feeling down or worried about "IT" coming back, I can count on you, LB, fox, TW, Jon, etc. to pick me up and recharge my batteries. Wear those scars proudly and know that you are the wind beneath my wings.

    Thank you,

    Gary

    Donna Lee
    ....Love you Donna Lee.....
    Fox
  • Texas_wedge
    Texas_wedge Member Posts: 2,798
    foxhd said:

    Donna Lee
    ....Love you Donna Lee.....
    Fox

    Many more birthdays!
    Donna's biography stands as testimony to her admirable fortitude but also to the lesson she draws from it - that survival statistics have improved considerably in recent years and they keep on getting better.

    I feel her story illustrates an explanation that goes beyond the improvements in treatment - the value of having your eyes constantly on the future and all the good things there to be enjoyed. If the activities she values are bland then count me in the boring camp because they sound great to me.
  • alice124
    alice124 Member Posts: 896
    More birthdays
    Thank you for reminding us through your inspirational posting of the foot forwards in cancer. Keep blowing out those candles!
  • 250xcfw
    250xcfw Member Posts: 30
    alice124 said:

    More birthdays
    Thank you for reminding us through your inspirational posting of the foot forwards in cancer. Keep blowing out those candles!

    Are you from Oregon
    Donna
    I've read your story and see you've been going to OHSU. I have my first surgery next Wednesday with the next one to fallow in 3 week after.
    I know OHSU is a good hospital but it's nice to hear something positive from where I'll be going in the next few days.
    Who was your surgeon?

    John
  • Limelife50
    Limelife50 Member Posts: 476
    250xcfw said:

    Are you from Oregon
    Donna
    I've read your story and see you've been going to OHSU. I have my first surgery next Wednesday with the next one to fallow in 3 week after.
    I know OHSU is a good hospital but it's nice to hear something positive from where I'll be going in the next few days.
    Who was your surgeon?

    John

    Thanks Donna
    It seems that at times the only people who believe you can live many years after being dxed with the big C are the people on this board, i try to persuade people i know about this fact but i feel at times they look at me like i am a DEAD MAN WALKING, but i know it can be done and i am going to stick my neck out again and say this yes i am going to beat this and i dont care what peiple think,thnx again Donna for your inspiration
  • foxhd
    foxhd Member Posts: 3,181

    Thanks Donna
    It seems that at times the only people who believe you can live many years after being dxed with the big C are the people on this board, i try to persuade people i know about this fact but i feel at times they look at me like i am a DEAD MAN WALKING, but i know it can be done and i am going to stick my neck out again and say this yes i am going to beat this and i dont care what peiple think,thnx again Donna for your inspiration

    I agree to that.
    Blows peoples minds when they hear how sick I was and how I look now. Yes we DO believe we can get better!