Round 6 of Chemo, Scan Results and More
This post has been a long time coming. I have wanted to let everyone know how things were going but also paralyzed to write it all down and memorialize the fact that the cancer returned and I’m now in the depths of my second battle. The lung nodules I mentioned in my last post unfortunately got bigger and a few more popped up and a cluster of lymph nodes located to the left of my belly button and close to my spine appear to have been invaded. Liver still looked clear, Colon still looked clear but the cancer found new places to go. I was in a bit of shock. In finding new places to go the nodes were also found to be pushing on my ureter and causing a back up in my kidneys. Luckily, we caught this early so it does not appear that I have any permanent kidney damage. I did have to have a stent placed to allow the ureter to open up and my kidneys to be able to function properly. If anyone needs a good urologist go to Dr. Chako and her PA Tom Bosma. They are fantastic!
What did this all mean? Well, it meant getting back on chemo, upping my healing sessions, because clearly I did not do all the work I needed to do the first go round, back to Dr. Han and figuring out how to wrap my head around it all, which has been a much harder endeavour than I thought.
When I was first diagnosed with cancer I was overwhelmed with grief but after my first surgery I woke up with a clear vision that I was not going to die and that although the statistics were bleak and I was looking a 6 months I new in my heart that was not my truth. Once you have gone through it and hit the day where you are told there is No Evidence of Disease you hope and pray that those words will never change and that at some point the doctors will declare you cancer free. Not a day goes by that you don’t think about the what ifs but you hope they will never come to fruition. In my case, the what ifs came true. I felt like I did everything right the first go round and even after being declared No Evidence of Disease I continued with a good diet, exercising and tried to continue on being my authentic self. If you did everything right but the cancer came back then what do you do?? I can tell you what you don’t do, You don’t give up! You don’t curl up into a ball and let the cancer take over you! You don’t let the what ifs cloud your judgement! You strap on your big girl pants and figure out a plan even if mentally you feel defeated and can’t wrap your head around the situation because sooner or later you will conquer the thoughts swirling around in your head and it will all fall into place.
Yesterday, I met with Dr. Woliver to review my newest scan results. All good news! Everything is responding. All nodules in the lungs have reduced in size and the nodes are smaller. Better news would have been we can’t see a thing but I will take what I can get and focus these next two months on eradicating the remainder. I will be continuing on chemo for another couple of months and then we will do another scan.
My chemo is a little different this time around. Last time I went in for an infusion every three weeks and then took Xeloda, chemo pills for a week thereafter. This time the doctors did not want me taking anything that would compromise my kidneys so I am going in every other week for an infusion and leaving with a pump for two days. They call this regimen FOLFOX. I have been going in on Wed mornings for chemo and getting the pump out about noon on Friday. I’ve had some very rough days. Headache, nausea, cold sensitivity which triggers neuropathy in my fingers, this weird jaw sensation that is excruciating pain every time I try to eat something, almost like my jaw has to warm up, days of constipation followed by a diahrrea cleansing, low energy and the overall feeling of having the flu. Luckily the major side effects only last for 4 or 5 days so by Monday I am feeling much better and able work, be a mom and a wife.
My amazing team has once again assembled. I can’t thank everyone enough for your kind thoughts, prayers and reaching out to see what we need. Thank you Linda Meyer for being my rock, listening to me, taking me to chemo, fielding calls, setting up meals and more. Thank you Mike Meyer for giving me so much time with your wife. Thank you Jody and Bryan Kaufman/Thompson for coming over to help with the girls on chemo days that Jon is working, taking the girls when I’m having a bad day and always being there for our family. Thank you Darya Bronston for coming over every infusion night to help my body deal with the chemoterroism. Thank you Jenny and Brock Hoffman and Jon and Heidi Ziskind for always being there for our family. Thank you Krista Kieding for always listening. Thank you Mindy Wolfe for offering to take the kids and coming over and straightening up our house. Thank you Brady Charrette for being available to jump in anytime and the delicious soups. Thank you Cat and Jen Cora for the lentil soup and offers of help. Thank you Chris Chiarappa for taking my husband out for some epic surf days. Thank you Holly Parker, Mary O’Flynn, the Gordniers for being there for whatever we need. Thank you Kim Blair for our talks and hanging with me at chemo. Thank you Sarah Martin for continuing with me on my healing journey. Thank you to everyone that has taken time out of their days to hang with me at Chemo (April Medina, Serena Weddle, Julie Estabrook, Jenny Hoffman). Thank you to my mother and father in law who have jumped in and helped at all hours of the night! Thank you Jen Gamble for convincing me to reach out to hospice to get some help on navigating cancer as a family. One of the best things we have done. Thank you to the Friendship Paddle for always checking in on us. Thank you to our wonderful Mesa community that I know we can call on at anytime day or night. You know who you are.
Yesterday, after Linda, Kim and Jon Z by phone met with Dr. Woliver he asked so how many more are there on Team Tara? The answer is too many to count. It is with your love and continued support that I know I will be able to conquer the cancer one day at a time.
I leave you with this quote:
You can be a victim of cancer or a survivor of cancer, it’s a mindset. – Dave Pelzer
I choose survivor even on the hardest of days.
Hugs and Kisses,