Saturday, December 3, 2011

Yearly update

Honestly, I did not mean to let a year go by before updating. I was busy living my life, and did not have much to say about cancer.

Everything has been going well this year! My appointments through May 2011, showed my CA125 as stable and nothing suspicious was noted during my doctors appointments.

Fast forward to late September. My CA125 jumped from 14 up to 20 which was still in the so-called 'normal' range. However, my CA125 has never been a great indicator for me. I knew then that something was wrong. The doctor also 'felt' something during my exam, and ordered a CT scan right away. The scan showed that the cancer was back - and was all throughout my abdomen. Some of the larger tumors were identified in/on the colon, spleen, liver, omental stub, and pelvic area.

The thing about having recurrent cancer - it's like riding a bike. We found ourselves getting right back into the flow and rhythm of it. My favorite husband (FH) and I took a moment to process everything, and then got down to the important discussions with my doctor. She said that I would be a very good candidate for HIPEC (surgery with heated interperitoneal chemotherapy). The surgery included another full de-bulking (removal of all visible cancer) and then heated chemotherapy pumped throughout my abdomen for 90-120 minutes. The combination of the heat and the chemotherapy (Mitomycin-C) is supposed to help kill and sensitize the cancer cells.

My FH and I had discussed HIPEC in the past, and knew that was something we were interested in trying. So, I had the surgery on Monday, October 17. It was a 12 hour surgery. They removed my sigmoid colon, spleen, gall bladder, appendix, omentum, and assorted tumors throughout my pelvic area, and on my liver. Oh - they also removed that plastic tube that remained from the 'deportation' discussed in my last post!

I was in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for two days following the surgery. They removed the tracheal tube on Tuesday. I was so weak, and felt like I had been hit by a truck, but the drugs helped :) I had a catheter, a nasogastric (NG) tube, and multiple tubes entering and departing my body. I started feeling better on Wednesday once they got me up to walk. No food or drink (because of the NG tube), but I didn't care. I wasn't hungry.

Once they removed the NG tube and catheter on Friday - I felt even better. They started me on clear liquids Saturday, non-clear (pudding, cream soups) on Monday, and solid food on Tuesday night. I was healing well, and we were on the fast track to get out of there on Thursday or Friday!! (cue music indicative of impending doom..... :) )

My temperature started going up and they found out I had a blood infection, from my port (the implant in my chest that is used for chemotherapy infusion). They removed my port on Wednesday night, and put me on IV antibiotics. Thankfully, that cleared the infection right up.

I was discharged on Saturday - 12 days after surgery. I took the following three weeks off of work. I went back to work the week of Thanksgiving, which really helped me heal faster. I need to feel useful - and I sure wasn't useful during my stint at home.

Yesterday, I got my new port installed (short surgery), and started chemotherapy. I am on Alimta (Pemetrexed), which is supposed to be mild, with few side effects. The way I understand it, Alimta inhibits the action of 3 enzymes that are needed for cancer growth. The infusion didn't take long.

I have to take folic acid and get a vitamin B-12 shot. I also have to have lab work weekly (which I can do nearby home - and they'll fax the results) to ensure my blood counts remain good. They gave me anti-nausea medicine too which I'll take for a few days.

Emotionally, we are doing good. I feel that I am at the right place for treatment and that I am doing the right thing to get more quality time. I'll fight as long as it makes sense for me to fight.

So - that is what has been happening with me (at least as far as the 'cancer' portion of my life is concerned)! How are all of YOU doing?

PS I may not update frequently, but I will update soon if I have any side effects or issues with Alimta.


l'optimiste said...

like riding a bike?? oh man, this cracked me up - my dear, dear friend - there is NOTHING that can beat you. Nothing. Love you so much - you make my world a much better place. Even though your post made me cry - was a good type of cry ;)

Greetings from Texas! said...

Wow. You're amazing and so is your FH! =) Just found your site through the Navagating Cancer site. Sending positive vibes to you!

Thandi said...

Wishing you all the best with this next round...