Sunday, July 06, 2008

Double Troubles in Review

Today starts a brand new week. By the end of this coming week we'll know how my first chemo treatment will affect me.

Sometimes I feel like I'm watching someone Else's life as things unfold.

On March 3rd I saw a gynecologist who diagnosed me with fibroid. I felt like crap, was anemic from all the bleeding and a hysterectomy was what she told me we'd have to do. I anticipated that already and was ready. To be sure what she was dealing with they did a biopsy of the uterine lining but because of the size of the fibroids they told me they couldn't get one. A week later when I went back, there was results of a biopsy. I told her they said they couldn't get a biopsy and she said, "Well they got something." and when she sent it to the lab it came back inconclusive. Meaning, they couldn't tell if there were cancer cells or not. So she sends it to two other labs and one comes back saying still inconclusive, the other came back saying it looked like to them very early stages of cancer. (I received this news over the phone at work). It was not a good day, scared me to death but I let nobody know and after going outside and regrouping, I went on with my work day.

She scheduled the surgery for April 22nd. Surgery went well, the Dr. came in and told me all went well and everything looked good inside to her and I was relieved. That lasted for only a few hours because late that evening she comes back to see me and tells me she has the path report back already. (I never understood how she got it back so quickly). She was visibly upset because there was definitely cancer in the womb, it was 2/3 through the wall and had started traveling down the cervical canal. To her it looked like it was all contained but what worried her was that maybe she should have taken the lymph nodes in the pelvic area. I felt more sorry for her than myself that night. She told me she had some calls in to some colleagues of hers and was going to do some research that night and it could be that we may needed go back in and remove those nodes. THAT is not something you want to hear less than 24 hours after surgery and so the prospect of that scared me to death again.

The next morning she came in and told me that both colleagues and her own research had assured her that we didn't need to do that. She said there was in fact a study now that even though the cancer had reached the cervical canal barely, as was my case they weren't even doing radiation sometimes. But never the less she wanted me to see a Radiologist after a few weeks of healing. And so I went home and started healing.

When I saw the Radiologist he without a doubt was determined that there was no way we'd risk not having radiation. NO ifs, ands, about it. He explained that although it looked certain that it was contained, little micro cancer cells could show up later and we did not want to take that chance. And so that was that. I was very disappointed as I'd been thinking that he'd say we needed no further treatment. HA! He sent me for a CT scan first to make sure nothing was showing up and I went back to see him the next week to see about that. At that time he told me it looked great, nothing showed up. He did talk to his nurse a bit about something the report that came back saying but he didn't see what "she" meaning the xray tech, was seeing. He didn't speak to me about this and when I looked at him, he waved his hand and said "Nothing to worry about , it looks fine." HE told me to go home for three weeks and heal and then I'd come back and see him and they'd mark me up for the 26 radiation treatments I would begin. I'd have them five days a week for 5 and a half weeks.

And so that's what I did. My parents left for their planned trip to Colorado in the motor home, I was feeling stronger everyday and healing really well and then on a beautiful sunny May morning I learned that my 30 year old son had taken his own life. At that point nothing else mattered. I don't remember much about the weeks that followed that except that nothing seemed real. And cancer was NOTHING compared to this. Although I was scheduled to go back to work the next week, I didn't return to work for another two weeks.

I did also change my appointment with the Radiologist to a week later and when I went, well the story had changed once again. This time he had decided that there was a lymph node in my upper stomach that worried him and so he ordered a pet scan. I had that and the next thing you know he is done with me and sending me to a Chemo Dr. This Dr. cannot tell me for sure this is cancer but he says for precautionary reasons we must do this. He says they used to take out lymph nodes near the area where the main cancer was but now they know that nodes can be affected that are no where near the area. Apparently my pelvic area nodes look ok to them. HE says surgery can sometimes cause the cancer to spread if it is there and this is a new study,, to treat lymph nodes that look like they are cancerous with chemo. AND that doesn't let me off the hook with the radiation either.. But they have to be done separately.

And so that's how I got to where I am. Grief mixed with grief. And guess what? Cancer is still nothing compared to the loss of Jonathan. It has however helped me move on from my grief for him to this new thing I must concentrate on, this battle I must fight. And somehow I gain strength though him, knowing he knew how much I wanted to move to Washington, knowing he knew that was where I belong. It was one of the last things he and I talked about.

Jonathan never knew of any of this. I had seen him in February, he was having a hard time, I, trying to protect him had told him nothing of my situation at the time of his death. I had left a message for him to call me about a week before but he hadn't. He was fighting his own battle at that time and for a while I carried some guilt thinking maybe he'd not have done this had he known about me but I had to let that go. I was trying to do what I'd done all his life, trying to protect him from anything that might cause him pain or set him off. Right or wrong, it was what I did.

So, that's my whole story told matter of factly. If you've followed my blog you've gotten in bits and pieces my feelings and thoughts going through this but this is the story without emotions, just with the facts.

I write this for nobody's information but my own, I needed to write it down as it happened to try to understand how I got from "everything looks great" to "you'll need chemo." I write this down for myself to try to understand how the two completely separate experieces have merged and in a strange sort of way, one helps me deal with the other. I write this to show that the human spirit can endure a lot! And I write it all down to look back on and KNOW for sure that I am ready for battle and ready to fight and ready to face what is next to get to where I want to be. And mostly I write it for myself to read and realize this is MY life we are talking about here. And to take that first step into the acceptance stage of both. I may slip out of this frame of mind from time to time but the acceptance is slowly but surely sinking in. And so now I move forward into battle to whatever it takes to make sure I have lots of time left to be with my son,Matthew and Amy and Haleigh (who is not so patiently waiting for my arrival). Matthew and I need to be together more than ever now, to understand together the loss of our special Jonathan. TO remember him clearly and with all the love we gave him as he lived and breathed and now as he passes on to his next journey. It is my beacon in the night, the light that keeps me going, the prize at the end of it all and I intend to get there, just you watch me!


Chellie said...

I'll be here during this battle. How wonderful that you know that at the end of treatment, you'll be moving to Washington!

Tammy said...

I know you can do this Robbin. I needed to see this factual journey to understand the medical end of it. Have you had a 2nd opinion or done any research on removing lymph nodes vs leaving them? Just curious.

I've had five fibroids removed from my breasts over the years but luckily they were all pre-stage cancer. I told them if anymore I'm having them taken off. They sag to my knees anyway. lol

You go girl! HUGS

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Chellie, you've been through this with me from the beginning and I know without a doubt you'll be there and I thank you and love you for it. And you know I'm with you too!

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Tammy, I got really upset because I could find nothing on the internet about treating lymph nodes with chemo but this Chemo Dr. I trust, he explained to me that this was a very NEW thing based on a recent trial they did on 125 women versus taking them out. My surgeon who I know a little bit personally who put the port in tells me the same thing even though he is not an oncologist he says he read the same study very recently. If this Chemo Dude had not been able to explain things to me better than the Radiation fellow, I was all set to get another opinion but time is wasting here and even though I only met with him once he gained my trust right away as I felt he was being honest with me from the beginning. And I was loaded with questions and he sat with me a long time. we go. AND YOU! I told you that you came right when I needed an example of how a true warrior fights, so for that I am grateful. But you already know that .

amy said...

I'm watching, and waiting. We KNOW you can do this, and one day we'll be sitting around outside enjoying the scenery and northwest weather (obviously this will be a summer setting, not a winter one, LOL) thinking back and saying "MAN, did all that really happen????" And it has happened, and is still happening, and it's not pleasant, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I'm looking forward to the day you get to the end of this tunnel.

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Me too Amy, that's the vision I'm working toward and the one I've no doubt we'll experience.
Many people have traveled this road before me and many have traveled a lot harder paths, so ON we go.

linda said...

thank you for writing this as it helped me see your journey up to this point. I can see where your strength is coming from, your determination to be with family and live your life the way YOU want to live it seems to be a continuing thread...I KNOW you will heal, move on with life and be a happy old lady someday...I also know you will be gritting your teeth to get through the chemo ordeal but then, once it's over, you know it's all dead, whether somebody didn't or did remove a node...waht a relief that will be.

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

Linda, thankyou for reading and for being there. Please come over whenever you like. I've been trying to catch up a little on your blog and understand what you are going through. I'm sorry I've not commented to let you know I visit but I will soon.
I admire your art and your ability to express yourself in that form. You are very talented.
Hoping for you a good day.

Aisling said...

Robbin, When you summarize your year in a post like that, it seems so overwhelming. And yet, there you have it: sequential, orderly, detailed. I think that speaks to how you will deal with this... Do what needs to be done, one step at a time.

Feeling light within, you walk...

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

And you too Aisling have been right there through it all with me, your light you share with me an more than you know it gives me the strength that I've found. Thank you for that and I'll never forget it. So here we go on to the next step.

Becca said...

Robbin, thank you for sharing this story with us. So much has happened in your life in just the past few months, and I so often wonder why God gives people so much to handles all at once. Clearly, he must think you are one strong lady :)

And so I'm wishing you all the courage you need to fight this battle. You have a band of sisters here in cyber space standing with you!

Robbin with 2 B's! said...

I sure do Becca, my cyber sisters as Tammy says are my fellow warriors and they give me strength, thanks for stopping by! I'll keep you posted.