Monday, November 11, 2013

Life Post Chemo

It's strange.  In the last two weeks many people have asked about my blog.  I just haven't been excuse really, just busy with life.

As you know, I finished chemo on June 21 and was considered in remission at that time.  I had my port removed and resumed normal life.  Since then, I have continued to feel better.  My hair is growing back, energy levels are getting better all the time life had pretty much returned to normal.

I had a little scare a couple months post chemo.  I felt a swollen lymph node.  I went into the doctor and he sent me for CT scans.  Everything looked stable.  He then set up PET Scans for tomorrow.

I also started having horrible abdominal pains.  I mean HORRIBLE...rolling around moaning, nothing can make it feel better kind of abdominal pain.  I was sent to the gastroenterologist. She did an endoscopy and ultrasound.  Ultrasound showed fatty liver and she thought I might be having gallbladder issues.  She ordered a gallbladder test to investigate further.  I haven't had that done yet.  Other things got in the way.

On October 6 I drove up to Orlando for a work event.  As I was walking to the Dolphin Hotel, the heel of my shoe got stuck in a crack in the sidewalk.  Down I went.  I left the Dolphin on a stretcher, was put into the ambulance and taken to Celebration Hospital.  It turns out I broke the fifth metatarsel and tore a ligament.  I had surgery on the 18th (my birthday) to fix both injuries and walked away with pins, screws and anchors in my foot.  I am still not allowed to walk on it or drive.  This is the same foot which has had two previous foot and ankle surgeries in 2010 and 2011.  Ugh!

Now, I am scheduled for PET scans tomorrow and will get results on the 18th.  I am a nervous wreck, which I understand is pretty typical and normal for cancer survivors.  There is always that fear, that little piece of my mind that is scared to death they will tell me it's back again.  I am terrified of being told I have cancer again.  I don't think that fear will ever go away.

I did it once, I did it well.  I got through chemo, kept a very positive attitude, stayed strong, kept life fairly normal for my son and beat this stupid disease.  Not sure I have the strength to do it a second time.  I have this underlying fear that if I have it a second time I will not survive.  Rational or not...the fear is there.

I've continued to work through it all and have done well at my job.  I honestly feel I haven't missed a beat there.  It looks like my year is going to end with great reward!!  I am lucky to work with an amazing group of people who have been nothing but supportive throughout this journey.

I went back to being a Chemo Angel.  I had done this before I got sick.  My first patient was a boy with Hodgkin's as ironic as that seems.  He graduated and then I got sick and never put in for a new assignment.  Once finished with my own chemo I got back in touch and got a new assignment.  I am currently angeling for a 2 year old boy who has an inoperable brain stem tumor and has had some other horrible things happen along the way as well.  I love this work, I love the chance to make a child going through the worst smile if even for just a little while.

I've changed.  I've changed a lot.  Most of you wouldn't know just by talking to me, but I've changed.  It's to be expected.  I don't let things get to me that would have before cancer.  I have a more positive attitude than ever before and honestly feel like I am in a better place than ever before.  I am more grateful for my family and friends and of course more grateful for my life.  I found out that I am a much stronger person than I ever imagined I could be.  When I went in for my biopsy last December 28 I thought that if I had cancer I'd never get through would be awful.  Well, it was awful, but I got through it and it and came out okay in the end.
Through this experience I made a lot of new friends and old friendships grew or were solidified beyond my wildest imagination.  I have extraordinary people in my life and I will be forever grateful for all of them. My family has been amazingly supportive even when things got hard for them.  Mark has been amazing.  He has had to take care of both Lucas and I and has done a great job.

While cancer definitely sucks, I can say that in a way I feel lucky.  I feel lucky that I have gotten to see so much good in people.  I am lucky that I learned such amazing lessons about myself.  I am lucky that I have great doctors who helped me beat this.

I am looking forward to good news next week when I get my PET scan results.  I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving as I have SOOOO much to be thankful for this year.  I am also looking forward to saying good-bye to 2013 and ringing in a new year full of good health and time with my family and friends.

I'll try to update again after I get my results.  I have a lot to say....there's so much I could write about, but I'm just busy living life.

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