Thursday, January 24, 2013

CANCER CAN SUCK IT!

I think it is safe to say that anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer is always worried about one thing.  No matter how hard you try not to think about it, somehow it always creeps back into those dark places in your mind.  You know those places, the ones where you stick all of those unpleasant things that you prefer not to think about so much but are still important enough to file away.  This one worry is made even more intense if you have been able to wrestle it into submission with either one of all the combinations of chemo, radiation, natural therapies, supplements, positive attitudes, green smoothies, coffee enemas, acupuncture, acutonics, acupressure, shamanic healing, praying, making sacrifices, or performing rituals.  What is that one lingering fear, the one that never, ever, EVER goes away no matter how clean your last scan was or no matter how good your blood counts look?  For this Cancer Assassin it is the fear of it coming back.

One of my biggest fears came true last Friday.

My mom and my aunt came down to Portland so that they could go with me to my appointment with the oncologist. We to hear the official results of the CT scan that I had done two days prior.  I think all of my friends and family expected the scan to be clean.  They have been clean for me since August 2011, just a short 17 months after my original diagnosis which baffled everyone.  Upon diagnosis my liver was literally COVERED in tumors.  Some were clusters of smaller tumors spattered throughout my entire liver, others were 3-5cm and another one was a whopping 9cm!  Everyone wondered how I was even standing in front of them.  My ALP (alkaline phosphatase) was off the charts, however my CA19-9 was never elevated.  Needless to say 17 months later my scans (PET) showed no living tumors, they were all dead!  This inactivity of cancerous growth lasted until my most recent scan done on Jan 16.  The prior scan done back in July was also clean.  In 6 months I had grown a tumor that looked a lot like a snowman, two tumors touching, both approx 3cm in diameter.  This is the one that they are going to perform Y-90 direct radiation treatment on (radioembolization) in the next couple of weeks.

This Y-90 treatment is the same treatment that I went in to see a doctor about on August of 2011.  The same doctor that I am seeing now actually.  The same doctor that performed the PET that said "complete remission" although no actual doctor ever said those words to me.  I guess that scan reports are not necessarily the gospel.

I call it the "black hole"
Anyway, my recent scan was not clean.  The cancer is growing back and in a brand new spot! At least it is still in my liver and hasn't migrated out to any other organs yet.  They say the next typical place for my type of CC to go is in the lungs....  I knew something was up.  I was just in too much pain and discomfort recently to feel like I was ok.  I kept trying to tell myself that the pain was just the "feeling of healing" but my mind kept wandering to those dark places where I kept my fear.

Now, let me just say that yes, it sucks.  I don't really know how I feel honestly.  I am not afraid really, not so much of the cancer anyway, actually I am more afraid of having to get more chemotherapy.  I know how bad it is for me.  It kills so many good, healthy cells and not enough of the 'confused' ones.  I think that it is almost worse in a way because I know exactly what to expect from chemo.  I will feel sick all the time.  I will walk around taking note of all of the places that I could vomit if I needed to.  I will have to pull my car to the side of the road from time to time to throw up.  There will be angry, itchy, hot rashes on my face making me look like I am going through puberty all over again.  There will be neuropathy in my arms, legs, hands and feet (feels like needles and pins when your not kind of numb feeling).  There will be bone pain that feels like growing pains multiplied by 1000.  I will lose my  memory, concentration, word recognition and ability to make even the smallest of decisions like soup or salad.  Small decisions such as these literally sent me into a panic attack last time, freaky huh?  More chemo induced menopause complete with hot flashes so severe that I just want to peel my skin off.  Sleepless nights jacked up on prednisone, the chemo buzz you get after your last treatment from all of the toxins off gassing, and my favorite, constipation from all of the pharmaceuticals you take to control all of the side effects from the chemo...

In a way I suppose that knowing what to expect is also good.  THIS time I am going to try to prevent some of these nasty side effects because now I know, right?  Right. :)

It is weird.  When I was first diagnosed I found my "comfortable" place with my "terminal illness" diagnosis.  As I have always said "I make my own statistics" and labels don't apply to me (or you!).  After I "killed" so much cancer and had a clean scan I was skeptical.  I was happy, but I was also skeptical.  I know that cancer is sneaky.  It doesn't care that your scan was clean.  It just wants to live and grow and grow some more.  Like I said, "confused" cells.  I don't hate my cancer.  To me those cells are as much a part of my body as my nose.  They somehow, somewhere along the line got misdirected and confused about what they are supposed to do and how to grow sustainably (hmm...sound familiar?).  I wish I could just reach into my liver and cup my hand around my tumor and massage it and give it love and guidance.  I actually do this in my mind every day.

Back to sneaky cells....Having cancer can make one very skeptical of placing too much hope in one thing (like a clean scan).  It is like it almost dulls all the senses in a way, at least for me it did.  I always take my good health news now with a grain of salt.  I am very appreciative of good news and still very happy about it.  BUT I feel like I can never ever let my guard down, I have to remain ever vigilant and in tune with my body.  I felt like I was doing so much before but now I feel like it obviously wasn't enough and I still need to do more...

Once again it all comes back to money.
I only really have two choices right now.  1. I do chemo and radiation and continue with my supplements and the multiple other things I do naturally to keep my body as healthy as I can or 2. I don't get chemo and just continue doing what I have been doing which obviously isn't working 100%

It costs sooo much money to even see a new naturopath and get on a new type of natural therapy such as mistletoe extract or enzyme therapy.  It is nearly $20K for the Gerson clinic in Mexico and then you also have to redesign your entire lifestyle after that and have someone to help you out 24-7 which is impossible really (unless you have a partner or spouse who you live with that is willing).  My only option really is chemo and radiation.  This new tumor is in a bad spot, pushing up on my stomach making things very uncomfortable.  IF it grows then we could be looking at even more trouble with blockages etc.  My oncologist actually told me that people with blockages usually don't fare well....I have been incredibly lucky so far to not have any blockages.  If they saw some small tumors scattered around I wouldn't be feeling so drawn to the toxic treatments.  But like last time I feel that this one is a bad mofo and needs to be taken down before it has a chance to do major damage.

Now if you have been on my blog long enough you know that I really didn't want to do any more chemo.  Not just because of the immediate side effects but because of the long term ones like kidney failure and secondary cancers.  Kidney failure is NOT on my agenda.  I will go out in a pain riddled blaze of glory somewhere beautiful before I will ever be chained to a piece of equipment for the rest of my life.  Im selfish like that I guess.  The trick is to not get enough chemo to damage the kidneys beyond repair but that is a fine line and yet another fear to place back there in that dark place in the mind.

A little message from the Universe to me
Although you might not really think so after reading this post, I am actually in good spirits.  Still smiling and as dorky as always.  I figured that I would most likely be getting "maintenance chemo" from time to time but I was hoping that I could put that behind me and not really have to do it.  But hey, if life always worked out like we planned then it wouldn't really be all that fulfilling or exciting.  One thing is always for certain, there is never a dull moment in the life of The Cancer Assassin :)

22 comments:

  1. I like your attitude!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I will pray for you right now and ask the Blessed Mother to come to your aid and I will ask the cancer saint for his intercession too. God bless you. Jude

    Prayer to Saint Peregrine

    O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.
    For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you.
    (Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick for whom you are praying)
    Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy.
    Amen.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Laura :( I'm so sorry for this news. I will pray that you are able to fight like crazy without hurting those Kidneys. Love you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I salute your courage and determination. Will pray for your recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Laura, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'll be sending you healing energy and thinking of you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you so much everyone for you warm wishes! They mean more to me than you know.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Laura,
    I came here to check out things because I see that you have linked to my site.

    I am so sorry that your cancer is back. My sister is a lung cancer survivor, and my step mom - breast cancer. I know the feelings of fear that are always there, even when you're not the one who has it.

    You know, Charlotte Gerson says that most people die of cancer because they won't stick to the diet. Drinking nothing but vegetable juice for the foreseeable future is not a pleasant thought, but neither is chemo. Except the special juicer is really expensive!

    Have you watched the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? It's about his 60 day journey with juicing. We got a juicer after that. The juices are really good actually. Watching that might help motivate you.

    You know, No Sugar, right?

    I'm not saying to buck conventional medicine, but maybe you can ward off the worst, or at least make it more tolerable. I don't know. I wish I did. Steve Jobs gambled and lost. Weigh your decision carefully.

    Here's a page that you might find helpful - http://sanesuperwomanclub.com/members/index.php/food/50-the-lists/healing-foods/414-cancer

    Let me know if I can help you at all.

    Carole

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very useful information about Cancer assassin…....thanks
    Cancer Management

    ReplyDelete
  9. Carole,
    I haven't seen Fat Sick and Nearly Dead but I will watch it. I do juice on an almost daily basis (ulness I don't have the energy). I love green juice! Thanks for all of the wonderful links and info!!! I will check into them to see if I can learn anything new :) Please give my best to your mom and sister <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Laura. I have not been here in a while so when I logged in today and saw this, My heart hurt. Please know that I will pray for you and tune back in. This is where I wish I could do something but for now my prayers will have to do. Please don't give up as this would be a darker world without you. Much love, Carl

    ReplyDelete
  11. So sad to see your news, Laura. Please know I'm thinking of you and sending hugs. You're so right, cancer can suck it. xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Laura, I'm so sorry your scan did not come back clear. I'm sorry you are facing lots of decisions and uncertainty yet again. I wish I had some gems of wisdom to impart... Just know I'm out here thinking of you too. Hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, crap, Laura. Cancer = Crap. No lie. Sending you a cyber kick in cancer's nasty butt. With both feet. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Laura, this really sucks. I totally understand not wanting to go through chemo again. The treatments for cancer are horrific. Sending you love and hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you so much Stacey,
    I will take hugs any day :)
    oxxo!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you Nancy,
    I think of you often as well. Just knowing I am on your mind is better than words of wisdom to me :)
    oxxo!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Accidental Amazon,
    Hells yes!!! Apparently the cancer just doesn't know who it's messing with...
    ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much Beth!
    Sending love and hugs right back to you too!
    OxxO!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey, Laura!

    Thought I would see how things are going, and saw your latest post... :( I know you will fight as valiantly and proud as ever! Thoughts are with you!

    -Frank

    ReplyDelete
  20. I decided to share this because i am so glad today and happy that i am alive to see another new day and not just that but also to share the goodnews of how i survived a deadly stage 4 cholangiocarsinoma (bile duct cancer). I was told by my oncologist that i had just 6 months left to live and i was so scared to lose my wife. I was lucky to contact Dr Mrs Aleta who i told all about it and she is the nicest person i have spoken to. She recommended a herbal medicine for her which she took that cured her in less than a month. Well for more info about the medicine and cancer treatment simply reach her on aletedwin@gmail.com she can help you too. Contact her for any form of cancer too.

    ReplyDelete