Since I have been home from the hospital, I have gone through my usual routine of being a hermit – or so I thought. Usually after any of my surgeries, I spend a lot of my time recovering quietly. Sure, I will go out the odd time, but always try not to make those times too social. I am never interested in talking to anyone – I just enjoy the peace and quiet. So this time I have been the same way, except I should be starting to turn the corner by now. I have been in a “funk” emotionally for the past few weeks and could not figure out what was wrong. At first I thought it was the recovery process, and then I thought maybe it is the stress of the wedding. Both of those do play a part in the way I am feeling, but they still were not enough. Yesterday I finally broke down and figured it out. I’m entering into a world of unknown. I have been here before, last summer to be exact. I had a successful surgery and entered into the “monitor” stage, only to find out after my first scan that everything was back. So this time I do not have the same delusions in my head that maybe, just maybe, I have finally beat this cancer shit. After my post op this week I just am left to sit around until October when I will have my next scan. It weighs so heavy on my mind.
If you are reading this and wondering how my surgery went, I apologize. I was called by my surgeon 3 weeks ago and told that he had to bump me. There was a patient he had who has a more complicated problem and needed my time slot. So my new surgery date is July 5th. I have been asked a lot, “How do you feel about that?”. Truthfully – I feel fine. I’m confident my surgeon wouldn’t have chosen me to move if he did not think that I would be ok.
The other interesting piece of information I found out recently is that I will no longer have to go back on chemo. During my post operation appointment, Dr. Jay let me know that after my last lung surgery I would be put back on chemo, particularly Oxaliplatin (or Eloxatin). This is the drug that is used in the FolFox treatment. I spoke up faster than he could finish his sentence and let out a big “Hell no”.
If you want to know why I was so fast to react – please refer to my posts in October 2015.
Dr. Jay was quick to respond and let me know that this was the only drug which is proven to work with cancer that has not yet formed a tumour. But my answer was still no. I am one of the rare people whose bodies cannot handle this drug. I told Dr. Jay that my oncologist would back me up but he wasn’t hearing it. I get it – I am known to complain about being on chemo because I hate it. So I assume he just thought this was me being dramatic. Jokes on him.
A few weeks ago I met up again with Dr. Jay and he let me know I was right and he should just listen to me moving forward.
What he did say however is that he had a meeting with my oncologist and THEY decided that I cannot be on FolFox. It does not react well with my body and it would do more harm than good.
So – no more chemo for me this summer. This news is amazing because I really didn’t want to be sick and bald for my wedding in September. I am slightly worried however. I have been off chemo for this long before and just exploded all over again with tumours. So I am being cautiously optimistic. Not one of my doctors is saying, “After this next surgery you will be cancer free and we will never see you again.” Actually what they have said is, “This most likely won’t be the last operation you have – just so you know.”
Over the weekend I gave into the temptation – I ate red meat. This decision was not made hastily. During my chemo on Wednesday I spoke to my nutritionist about it and she let me know that it was completely my choice if I decided to continue to cut out the cow. She cautioned me if I did however choose to try it again, to start with ground beef rather than a big steak. Perfect, cheeseburgers are my go to meal anyways! My surgeon also said, “If you want a cheeseburger, have one.” So I kind of felt like they were all on the “Yay Red Meat” train right???
So Saturday night I had one side cut rib. Super small and barely anything to write about. The whole time I was still nauseous and having stomach pains so I chalked it up to just regular old life for me. Then Monday came.
Still nauseous but out and about I thought that after my hard week I deserved it. I have been off red meat since August and I should be able to treat myself. So I went for it. Single patty cheese from good old McDonalds. As I took off the wrapper I could tell – this shit was perfect. It is like they knew my addiction and they made it just for me. Every bite had the perfect ratio of cheese, onion, ketchup and mustard. No dry or greasy piece in site. I raved on about this perfect burger for the next hour. And truthfully if I was not with someone else, I would have stopped at a drive-thru for a second. Sure enough though, no more than two hours later, the stomach cramps began. My intestinal gas pains, acid reflex and debilitating cramps lasted until last night. A full day and a half of pain. Never again. And I mean it this time. The amount of discomfort I experienced is not worth the pleasure my taste buds enjoyed so much.
I do not consider myself a failure for trying red meat again. I never declared 100% that I would be off the stuff forever. (If I did say that in my old post, please ignore then….). I am human – we are not perfect and have set backs. I am just hoping that writing down my experience will help me to remember that it is not worth the agony afterwards. That, and I also need you people to slap me if I ever am tempted again.
Ever have a jar with a super tight lid? When you can’t open it the first thing you do is bring it closer to your body to try and help with the force. Well I just did that and was surprised by my sudden and long lasting lighting bolt of pain. Yes, even something as simple as opening a jar has now become scary. Why? Well my scar is still pink and puffy which makes is super sensitive. Even if my shirt rubs against it the wrong way it can hurt me. Reaching to turn on my bed side table light – think again as my skin pulls on my scar and again causes a jolt of pain. Overall I will take all of these painful moments if I could just wear a normal bra again. I was cut high enough that any chest support system would come into contact and constantly rub on my scar. Although the no bra movement is liberating and comfortable – it’s hard to get cleavage that way. Thankfully I’m no double D so I don’t have to fear that months of no support will cause sagging. Life gave my cancer but thankfully also gave me a nice B cup that stays in place without help. Must be why I am going as a safari animal this year and not a “sexy” something or other for Halloween. Kind of would need some cleavage for that.
With the temperature dropping more and more daily it is time to start investing in multiple baggy sweaters. I would hate to be in the supermarket and let everyone know just how cold it is outside. Stop staring at my chest you pervs I have cancer.
Would you like to hear something hilarious? A few days ago I was called “sir”. Yep, that’s right – “And sir what kind of sub would you like?”. After hearing my voice that young boy proceeded to fumble over the bread. No more than 3 days later a young lady at the gas station said – “Ooo I like your hair cut”. The way the world works is so strange.
Well, just 4 days left till surgery. 4 days left till a 20% of liver failure. That is the statistic that seems to be sticking in my mind. 20%. I know that number could be worse… but who wants a chance at liver failure at all? The positive side is I see myself back at work. I see myself working and laughing at the past. Little thoughts like this get me through the statistics.
These next few days are quite busy for me. I am trying to do as much as possible since I know I will be laying on my rear for the next few weeks. Wish me luck! I will be in the hospital for a week so once I am feeling like myself again I’ll post about my time :).
Now that I have been off chemo since June, all of the chemicals are right out of my system. What does this mean? Hair growth – and I was just getting used to never having to shave. My head hair is not sparse, and is growing in quite thick. I look less like a cancer patient and more like a girl who just chose to cut her hair short. I still wear my wig for more public outings like a nice restaurant date. I look at it like an accessory. Yes, you can go out with no jewellery on and still look nice – but do you not feel that extra dolled up once you have bling’d yourself out? That is how I feel about my wigs. I am confident in public without them, but I feel that extra special when I am wearing one.
The one thing that is really getting on my nerves now is when I am asked for ID. I have always loved going to the casino, but since my diagnosis I find I am going more often. It seems to be the only place where my brain shuts off completely, and all I think about is what machine I should sit at next. A full mind vacation. (Do not worry. I have discussed this with my therapist and she said it is perfectly healthy.) So as you can imagine I am now being asked for ID more than usual. Every single time I am now, it is a long process. I guess I look extremely different without hair? (I beg to differ). Honestly, there are moments after countless signature signing that I am tempted to just lift of my shirt, show them my wound, and ask them “Now do you believe me?”. I know it is there job but come ooonnnn. Next time I go I might just wear a wig. When they ask me to remove my glasses, maybe my hand gets caught a shifts my hair back. Give them a good scare. I would love to be asked to remove my wig in public. Oh the words I would have for that guard.
I am so close to feeling like myself again. Sleeping is still a challenge but everything else is almost back to normal. My wound is still open which is a pain though. I still have a nurse coming to the house daily to clean it, and now pack it. Oh packing – the worst part of the day. Right now they are packing approximately 5cm worth of gauze into my wound. This sounds just as fun as it is. I cry every time. I wish they could just leave it, since it will all be cut right back open again in 3 weeks – but they have to promote healing.
Even though I am not looking forward to my surgery, I am thankful it is hopefully going to happen faster than originally anticipated. I would like to get back on chemo as soon as I can. All those microscopic cells floating around my body worry me. Just inject me with the poison and let’s kill them all!
Life could be worse though. Every time I watch the news there is always some story of someone’s life who actually has it worse off than I do. Is this the life I planned or wished for myself? No, of course not. Could it be worse? Absolutely. That’s why I am able to move forward with my new version of life everyday.