Here is a note from my new friend, Donna who was also diagnosed with Peritoneal Ovarian Cancer and was about a month behind me in treatments in Cranbrook. She was introduced to me by our mutual friend, Adele in Panorama. Although we haven’t met in person, we’ve spoken on the phone and kept in touch via email. I’ve also included an excerpt from another friend, Jacqui who has completed surgery, chemo and radiation for breast cancer. Both identified with my last blog post! Reprinted with their permission!
I can’t believe your recent blog; it was like you were in my head and writing exactly what I’ve been going through. Thank you for putting it in writing and doing so eloquently – you nailed it! My last chemo was April 19 and I know I should be celebrating but like you am still quite physically fatigued and psychologically feeling lost and scared that it will come back. I think the best analogy I have is for the last six months I’ve been a passenger on the journey and know I’m in the driver’s seat but have no idea where I’m headed. The surgeon whom I recently had a consult with in Vancouver has recommended not doing the debulking surgery “at this time” as he doesn’t know what to remove. CA-125’s will be taken quarterly and I’m to have a check up on my blood counts mid June (2 month mark). I still have periodic pain which is likely IBS but who knows. Apparently, I am officially in remission.
I have registered to take the two day workshop from Inspire Health out of Kamloops the first week of June and am hopeful it will help both Con & I with some direction and some tools to move forward and start living again. I have managed to get out for a couple of social engagements but find I end up talking about my treatment, mainly because folks keep asking. And besides what else do I have to contribute to the conversation being cloistered for 6 months. Oh….the journey!!!!. I managed to order one of the books you suggested and hope to receive it in a week or so. I’ve just finished reading Anti Cancer – New Way of Life.
I had a facial with Adele late last week and she tells me she is heading out your way in August for a visit. She is such a special person. I’m still using the Essential Nutrition Mix everyday and have been taking the Optimum Multi-Vitamins recommended by Inspire Health. I’m also going for a walk most days, doing some mild yoga & working at getting better at meditation (not very good at that). I still get teary fairly often but the nicer weather has allowed me to get out of doors more and that does help to lift my spirits. Also, had visits from my kids and grandkids early this month so that was special. We have a short visit to Calgary planned the end of May and then will drive to Kamloops with a stopover in Salmon Arm to see my folks on the way home. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
My hair is quite funny, very fine and different colours and lengths (lots of white in there). Some folks have told me I could stop wearing the head gear but except for in the house and in the yard, I’m not comfortable with that yet. Still look like a cancer patient. I have graduated to golf caps so it’s a start.
It was good to read your blog, you really helped me feel that I’m not alone and despite reading that this helplessness is quite normal, it was more comforting that it came from someone I actually could put a voice to.
Take care – Be strong; be healthy, grateful and free!!!
Subject: latest blog
It was very interesting to read your latest blog. I spoke to my radiation oncologist about the feelings of anxiety now that Tx is ended and I fell as if I am cast adrift to manage on my own. He reassured me (didn’t do a convincing job) that it is very common as you feel like they have done their thing and we just are expected to pick up where we left off- Not! I see my medical oncologist at the end of this month and then it’s go back to your GP and call me if any problems arise in future.
I had my first post Tx mammogram and was tearful when I had to go back the next day for an ultrasound – déjà vu all over again? Anyway, it was a false alarm but it has crystallized in my mind that I don’t want to go thru this every 6 months when I have to go for a mammogram so I will ask my breast surgeon about removing the other breast when I see her in a few weeks.
Your story about the croissants was so funny. I took a double baked almond croissant from Thomas Haas to thank the receptionist at the X-ray office.
Did I tell you I went to a fund raising lunch for Ovarian cancer? I was a guest of a friend who had made a large donation to the VGH Ovarian cancer research team. They are doing amazing work and will be rolling out a new campaign soon to launch Ovarian awareness in the public and medical fields. 250 women are diagnosed with Ovarian cancer each year in BC – a relatively small number compared to breast cancer hence the lack of funds raised. So much work with such brilliant minds who need funding to continue their research.
Paul didn’t ski once this year as he was busy driving me to all my appointments etc. You are so right in that you get so busy with just getting though the appointments and surviving the treatments that you have no time to reflect.
Think of you often. Hugs,