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"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me"
- Cher

"Preface"
This page is dedicated to my personal struggle with Endometrial Cancer.  It contains my thoughts and experience with cancer.

I found the song "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" by Cher very inspirational.  I was brought down to my knees with the diagnosis.  I was pushed past the point of breaking with chemo.  At times I felt broken, feeling sick and depressed.  But I can take it I am strong.  It might take me awhile but I will be back on my feet. You haven't seen the last of me yet!

I posted the lyrics at the bottom of this page.  Also, I legally purchased this song. 

"Diagnosis"
After ignoring symptoms for at least 2-3 years, I finally went to a gynecologist in December 2013.  He did the appropriate exam and tests.  About a week before Christmas 2013 I was diagnosed with Endometrial Cancer.

I was referred to an excellent Gynecological Oncologist at The West Penn Hospital.  Fortunately I was able to get an appointment quickly.   

"My Initial Thoughts"
Well, I was shocked and mad at myself.  I had ignored symptoms for two reasons.  First I did not have health insurance 3 years ago.  Second, who likes to go to the gynecologist? 

Although three years ago I probably would have needed a hysterectomy, perhaps the outcome would have been different?  I will never know. 

Now I am facing missing work for at least a month for surgery.  This will no doubt cause a financial burden, but it has to be done. 

"Surgery"
January 9, 2014 I had a complete hysterectomy.  The surgery also included the removal of 17 lymph nodes in the pelvic area, 7 lymph nodes in the paraaortic area and a tissue sample of the abdominal wall in the left pelvic area.  

I stayed in the hospital one day.  Whip-tee-do!   One whole day!

Going home was interesting.  Could not button my pants!  Sore and swollen from the surgery.  Who cares?  I just pulled my T-shirt down. 

I pretty much sat in my recliner for a week.  I slept there too.  As with most surgeries, pain diminishes daily. 

"The Results"
January 20, 2014 my doctor called me with the pathology results. 

Bad and unexpected news.  My doctor was a shocked as I was.

Uterus (and other parts) tested positive for Endometriod Adenocarcinoma.  So did 16 out of 17 lymph nodes in the pelvic area and 4 out of 7 lymph nodes in the paraaortic area.  Most unexpected was the metastasis of the cancer to the left paracolic peritoneum (left side of my abdomen in the pelvic area).

Now there are all kinds of terms used for staging. 

The primary tumor (size 9cm x 5.5cm x 1.1cm) in the uterus (et. all) was a FIGO grade 2, possibly 3.  Cervix was not involved. 

The lymph nodes were pT stage = pT1a, pN stage = pN2.

The left paracolic peritoneum also tested positive for cancer. 

A lot of technical crap which basically means the final results indicated I was a Stage 4B for Endometrial Carcinoma.  The cancer had spread outside of the uterus.

"My Thoughts on the Results"
I am a complete asshole for ignoring symptoms!

Three years ago I was working part time at a good job, but I did not have health benefits.  I did not go to the doctor because I knew I could not afford a doctor bill let alone any other bills for treatments.

Two years ago I became full time and had health benefits.  I still ignored symptoms because of what a gynecologist said to me when I was in my middle 20's.  She was unkind and it turned me off to going to the doctor.  Yeah, it was related to my weight.  I am sensitive to my weight. 

I finally went to the doctor in December 2013 when the symptoms also included pain. 

Had I waited too long?   Probably. 

Yeah, I felt like it was all my fault.  But I did not dwell on that fact.  It is what it is.  Time to move on and do what I need to do.

I will do better the next time I have ANY symptom!

"Chemotherapy"
Because I was Stage 4B chemotherapy and radiation were proposed. 

Chemo would consist of 6 treatments of 2 drugs every 3 weeks.  The main cancer drugs were: Carboplatin and Taxol.  I would also receive other drugs for nausea.  In total my infusion time would be about 5.5 hours.

I had a chemo port installed in my left chest area.  This will help save my veins from abuse. 

The main side effects would be: hair loss, changes in my blood count specifically low red blood cell count, numbness in hands and feet, fatigue among others. 

I would have CT scans after the 3rd and 6th chemo treatments to check on the status of the cancer.   I also had bloodwork done every week. 

Yes I discussed long term prognosis with my doctor.  He gave me some statistics.  I honestly can't remember them.  I have a fight ahead of me. That I know!

"My Thoughts on Chemo"
My first chemo was February 10, 2014.  I was there for 9 hours!  I almost walked out at noon after sitting there for 4 hours waiting. 

Side effects:

Fatigue:  Fatigue is something that is hard to describe.  It is more than being tired.  Sometimes you can't sleep even though you are exhausted.  One can wake up from a nice nap and still be fatigued.  Doing small chores around the house are extremely challenging.  Walking to the mail box can require sitting down when you return.  Even taking a shower is a major effort.  Most people don't comprehend fatigue.  I only ran into a couple people that did not seem to believe my fatigue.   Fatigue continues long after chemo and radiation are complete.  Only time, proper nutrition and supplements help fatigue. 

Hair Loss:  My hair started coming out after my 1st chemo treatment.  I felt nauseated watching my hair come out in clumps.  Your head actually 'hurts' right before your hair starts to come out.  Weird feeling.   I was so upset at losing my hair it made me sick to my stomach every time hair came out.  I finally called a friend and she shaved my head.  I actually felt relieved!  I was surprised that I looked OK bald!  Yeah, I have a really nice looking wig, some turbans and hats too.  I actually prefer to walk around bald.  I can wash, dry and style me hair in less than 30 seconds!!  LOL  I also lost all of my eyelashes and eyebrows.  My legs are really smooth too!!   My hair is supposed to start growing back in about a month after my last chemo.  We will see . . .

Numbness in Hands and Feet:  This is called neuropathy.  I have it in my right hand and on the balls of both of my feet.   For the most part it does not bother me too much.  It seems to come and go.  Occasionally my left and right wrists go numb.  Sometimes the neuropathy goes away and sometimes it is permanent.  Only time will tell. 

Nausea:  Even though I was given a couple anti-nausea drugs with my chemo, I still had some nausea.  I noticed it most after my 4th, 5th and 6th treatments.  I did have some anti-nausea pills to take.  They helped some.  Basically you just have to ride it out for a few days until the feeling passes. 

Food Aversion:  I did experience aversion to food.  Some foods smelled really bad.  Some tasted really bad.  Sometimes just looking at food made me nauseated.  Water actually tasted bad!  So did Ginger-Ale.  Again, you basically have to ride it out.  It passes after a few days.  I only was really sick once for 8 days.  That was after my 4th treatment. 

Joint Pain:  Almost like clockwork I had joint pain starting on the 3rd day after chemo.  It lasted 3 whole days.  Nothing helped the pain.  Not tylenol, not motrin, not even vicodin.  I was very restless during these days.  It did not matter if you sat, laid down or stood.  There was constant joint pain.  Sleeping at night was almost impossible.  As the treatments progressed it seemed that the joint pain lessened. 

Face Flushing:  Always the say after chemo I had a red face and it was hot to the touch.  Just a typical side effect from the one chemo drug.  A little annoying but tolerable.  Always gone by the 2nd day after chemo. 

Bowel Issues:  Yeah, this is my favorite topic!  NOT !!   All I can say is there are many bowel issues caused by chemo.  It is a delicate balance trying to be 'normal'.

Weight:  I did have some weight loss.  A lot of the drugs they give you are steriods.  So, one week I would lose weight and the next week I would eat a lot.  Only once did I lose 10 pounds in one week.  That was after my 4th treatment.  This treatment was my worst.   Overall I am down about 24 pounds.  My long term goal is to consult a nutritionist.  I want to eat healthier.  In the long run that will equate to more weight loss.

"Radiation"
Radiation will start June 19, 2014 for 5 sessions (2 per week) lasting until July 1, 2014. 

Some say the side effects from radiation are worse than chemo.  They were specifically referring to fatigue.  We will see when I get there. 

"My Thoughts on Radiation"
We will see. . .

"Follow Up"
For the next two years I will follow up with my doctor every 3 months to check on my status.  Statistics state that a patient with my diagnosis will most likely have a reoccurrence within two years (if there is going to be one). 

"Lessons Learned"
Ladies, do not ignore anything that is not usual and normal. 

Gentlemen, make sure your mothers, sisters and other females you know go to the doctor on a regular basis. 

I will never ignore anything that is unusual again. 

"Support and Thanks"
I am very grateful for all of the support I received from my family members, fellow teammates at work, friends and neighbors.  I was overwhelmed!  I did not know so many people cared! 

I have a stack of cards that is about 4" tall.  I received so many emails, text messages and Facebook postings of support.

I am grateful for my health insurance.  While I did have a lot of bills to pay, my insurance saved my ass. 

I am grateful for my insurance changing to Community Blue.

I am grateful for finding a wonderful PCP that referred me to another gynecologist.  He did an excellent job and then referred me to an excellent gynecological oncologist. 

I am grateful to my gynecological oncologist who spent many years studying to become the best of the best.  He took time with me.  Not only did he fully explain my situation, he also drew pictures!  He always returned my phone calls.  Under his care, I feel I have the best chance possible for a long life. 

I am very open with my cancer.  If you have any questions please contact me. 

 

Lyrics:  You Haven't Seen the Last of Me
by Cher

Feeling broken
Barely holding on
But there's just something so strong
Somewhere inside me
And I am down but I'll get up again
Don't count me out just yet

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven't seen the last of me
You haven't seen the last of me

They can say that
I won't stay around
But I'm gonna stand my ground
You're not gonna stop me
You don't know me
You don't know who I am
Don't count me out so fast

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
You haven't seen the last of me

There will be no fade out
This is not the end
I'm down now
But I'll be standing tall again
Times are hard but
I was built tough
I'm gonna show you all what I'm made of

I've been brought down to my knees
And I've been pushed way past the point of breaking
But I can take it
I'll be back
Back on my feet
This is far from over
I am far from over
You haven't seen the last of me

No no
I'm not going nowhere
I'm staying right here
Oh no
You won't see me begging
I'm not taking my bow
Can't stop me
It's not the end
You haven't seen the last of me
Oh no
You haven't seen the last of me
You haven't seen the last of me

This song is legally owned.


 
 
 

    Copyrightę 2014 by the DigitalHorsewoman .
  Last Update - June 11, 2014