I've been debating for sometime whether I wanted to blog about my battle with cancer, beyond just saying I have it. For some reason, I feel like I should. There isn't near enough talk about ovarian cancer, and trying to find out if what I'm feeling or going through is normal has been difficult at best. There's tons of resources and information out there for breast cancer, for colon cancer, for damn near every other type of cancer out there. But it's like ovarian cancer for some reason is a big ole secret.
No wonder there's no cure yet!
I've put alot of stuff on Facebook about my battle. I've tried to stay positive as much as I can - from the beginning I've been convinced that I was going to be one of the 30% that survive and are cured. I get folks who tell me I'm an inspiration, and to be perfectly honest, that makes me feel weird. I'm not trying to be inspiring. I'm just trying to survive, you know? A nurse on the oncology floor told me very early on in my treatment that it was the feisty ones that make it. So yeah - I've indulged my inner feisty. But not to inspire anyone - just to do everything I can to live. Sure, I could be all doom and gloom and focus on that 70% statistic, but I've always felt it made more sense to choose to be happy, and positive. So that's what I did. What choice did I really have? I want to live. I want to see my boys marry. To hold my grandchildren someday. I have PLANS people!
I've lost most of my hair. What I have left is less than an inch long, sparse, and mostly GRAY. Not cool. I was totally hoping that if it must fall out, surely it could grow back in blonde and curly? Or even black and curly. Nooooo - it's gray. Hmph. I wear scarves rather than hats because my scalp is sensitive and hats often hurt. My mom gave me a ton of my grandmother's scarves, so that's been kinda cool having them to wear. I've also lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. I draw the eyebrows on now...just like an old woman. I haven't yet gotten the nerve up to wear false eyelashes.
I've been able to eat normally now for about a month. For about 4 months I could barely stomach anything. I probably would have lost way too much weight, but my husband insisted I get put on TPN for several weeks. What's TPN? Why, it's nutrition via IV. Yes, that's right, I received my nutrition via a big ole bag full o white stuff for over a month. I had to cart it around on a luggage cart during the day because if I hooked up to it at night, I had to go pee every freakin 2 hours. Stopping TPN was one of my happiest days.
My torso hurts after I've been sitting for very long. It's fine while I'm sitting, but when I stand up, I'm all hunched over and feel like I have to stretch something out so that I can stand upright. It takes a few minutes before I can do that...but it still hurts as I walk. And when I first lay down at night.
Oh! Did I mention that I have tubes on both sides that go into the sac around my lungs so I can drain fluid from around them every 3 days? Thank goodness my husband learned how to do that...I don't think anyone thought I'd still be draining 4 months after they were put in. I did get the abdominal drain taken out a while back when we stopped being able to drain fluid from there. But that fluid around my lungs just won't go away, and that worries us some.
My CA-125 count is now down to 39. Normal is 2 - 35. So close. So very very close. I was at 1198 when I had my first chemo last November. So I know the chemo is working. But why do I still have that fluid? I'm trying to focus on the CA-125 more than the fluid. And how good I feel.
I went back to work several weeks ago. Half time at first, but this week I've been working all day. It feels so good to be back at work - to be taking care of things for my faculty and staff. I missed that. I missed it a lot.
Huh. So this turned into the "whine about cancer treatment side effects" blog. Sorry about that. But maybe someday some other chick will be recovering from surgery, going through chemo and wonder if her tummy hurting is normal and she'll find this entry. I hope it makes her feel better. I hope it gives her hope. Because when she starts reading through the rest of the blog - I want her to find a whole bunch of posts about gardening, and cows and chickens and what a blessing living in a small town community is (that will be my next entry I promise - wait until you hear how Hicksville rallied behind me and my family when word about my diagnosis got out. I'm still astounded). Anyhoo - that's my plan man.
And I'm a Taurus - once we set our minds on something, its a done deal.
You hear that cancer??? DONE DEAL.