Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home sweet home!

I am finally home! They discharged me today. I am tired, and definitely sore from the 1 1/2 hour drive home (those potholes REALLY hurt when you've had internal surgery!), but I feel very good considering! I think that I feel better than after my first surgery, although my incision is twice as long (extends up beyond my belly button now to mid-rib cage). I can "out-scar" any one I know, I think... ;) (any challengers??)

The doctor said that she removed ALL VISIBLE OVARIAN CANCER!!! (only microscopic disease remaining). She said there was no sign of the cancer "peppering" across my intestines, as the CT scans seemed to show. I simply cannot believe that I am cancer free right now! I really did not expect that to be the outcome. I thought that she would get a lot of it - but did not expect it all to be removed. Wow.

She has sent part of it to France, to have a vaccine created for the clinical trial. She sent another portion to California to have it 'tested' with different chemotherapies to determine what may affect it, if the cancer grows again.

I start chemo in less than two weeks. I have to call tomorrow to make the appointment, then I will have more information.

Words cannot describe how much I appreciate all of your prayers, thoughts and good vibes. I know that I have God to thank for this, but he may not have noticed me, without all of you!

I am still stunned with what has happened so far. I am also on pain meds, and need to rest! I'll update later in the week.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Skydiving, anniversary and surgery - oh my!

I have quite the busy weekend ahead of me. Today is my last day at work, for a while (since I will be recouperating from surgery). I have a lot to finish up!

Tomorrow, I am going for my second skydive. My favorite husband will be there with me (he is quite adamant that he is staying the ground). More importantly, tomorrow is our fifth wedding anniversary (we have been together over 16 years). We are going out with our friends to celebrate.

Then, on Sunday we'll pack for our trip to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, IL. Monday is a bunch of pre op stuff (including the nasty go-lytely drink for the clean out :( ) and Tuesday is surgery, where the doctor will hopefully remove all of the current ovarian cancer. We want optimal debulking here!

I doubt I will be posting again prior to that time. I'm keeping really busy, so that I have no time to worry or think about the surgery. Honestly though, I am not too worried about it. Whatever will be, will be - and this is a situation that I have absolutely no control over!

Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers! I hope to post towards the end of next week with my status. I hope that the doctor is able to remove all visible ovarian cancer (no inaccessible stuff), and that I will heal well and quickly (like I did last time).

More importantly, happy anniversary Tim! (I let it slip! That is the name of my favorite husband!) You bring such joy and laughter into my life - I am so lucky to love and be loved by you!

Have a great weekend and week everyone. And remember:

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." -ee cummings

Thursday, October 9, 2008

....and it keeps getting better!

I am likely a good candidate for the ovarian cancer vaccine trial. My next appointment is Monday, October 20, and my de-bulking abdominal surgery is Tuesday, October 21. I will receive inter-peritoneal (IP) chemotherapy (taxotere) once every three weeks, after I heal. If they are able to formulate a vaccine (this takes a couple of months), and if I am deemed qualified (they won't determine that, until they are sure they can formulate the vaccine) it will be administered weekly with a low level chemotherapy drug (cyclophosphamide). There are a lot of variables here that may exclude me from the study - but at a bare minimum, they are removing my current visible ovarian cancer and treating me with an IP chemotherapy.

I had to type it out, because I still don't believe it.

I still don't believe it.

I can't believe that I am excited to have more surgery and more chemotherapy. But I am.

I know that the prayers, good thoughts and healing light sent my way had something to do with this.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some good news

I'm still a little out of it from the anesthetic, so I'll keep this short.

The colonoscopy went very well. The doctor removed a polyp, but said he did not think it was cancerous - it did not appear to be cancer. They said I had a little diverticulitis (Gerry - I'll be asking you about that!) The most important thing though, is that the tumor near my liver is not invading my large intestine! He said that he did not see any pressure points either (where the tumor would be pressing against the intestine).

Tomorrow I have CT scans much of the day. I am sending my favorite husband to work tomorrow, while I bounce from scan to scan. Then he will be around on Thursday to meet with the doctor.

Please continue to send prayers, good thoughts, and vibes my way!

Monday, October 6, 2008


So far, this has been a great experience! I've met with nurses, had an EKG, blood drawn for all types of tests (including a BRAC genetic test), a meeting with the gynecologic oncologist and her staff, and a meeting with the gastroenterologist. Everyone has been great! This place is so organized - I think that our longest wait was for 20 minutes, and most of the time there was little to no wait.

My schedule is for a colonoscopy tomorrow. Now, many of you know that means the big "clean out". So I am sitting in the hotel room, hungry, and drinking the nastiest stuff I have ever had to drink. Its called "halflytely" and the taste is atrocious! I am only "half" way through right now too. I don't know if I'll be able to drink the rest of it! :( That will take up the day tomorrow, because I'll be under anesthesia.

Then on Wednesday, I will be CAT scanned from head to thigh. There will also be a mammogram. The nutritional and naturopathic consultations occur on that day as well.

Finally, on Thursday, I get to see the doctor again. She will look at all of these results and will determine her idea of the best path for me.

So far, this is great! I love the "one stop shopping" way this is done.

Well, I need to drink more stuff - I'll try to update tomorrow as well!

Friday, October 3, 2008

It is scheduled!

I am scheduled to meet the doctor on Monday morning!

I have two good college friends coming in tomorrow, and they will help me celebrate, I'm sure!

I will update this from the hotel, probably Monday night.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

BIG sigh of relief!

Cancer Treatment Centers can schedule me for an initial consultation this coming Monday, or the next. It all hinges on if they can get my pathology slides, all my scan records, and every bit of cancer related data about me from the three facilities involved. (surprisingly - there is a lot of data for one years time). The initial consultation takes three-five days. They really put you through the wringer! There will be consultations with the doctor, more scans (if needed), more tests (if needed), more bloodwork, a nutritionist, etc. etc. I like their "whole" approach to cancer - they try to treat the mind, body and spirit.

My insurance will not be a problem!!!!!!!!! (happy happy dance!) It will be a little costly for us, but it doesn't sound like anything we can't handle!

This is such good news. I have put a lot of hope into being seen at this place, and getting into their clinical trial for ovarian cancer (if it is determined to be a good fit for me).

I will update with more news once I'm scheduled.


Oh, I must add that my mental break from ovarian cancer last month really felt good! It was nice to put it all out of my mind for that time. There were still periods of time where I felt panic - but I am getting better at going with the flow. Panic does not help my situation. Anxiety doesn't help. I am getting better at separating my thoughts from that. Except sometimes at night. So I am extending the hiatus for a while longer!