Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why Not, Let's Add Cancer

No one wants to hear those fateful words "You have Cancer" but for me it was real. I wasn't in as much shock as they thought I would be because the more we delved into what was wrong with me, more and more and it started looking like Colon Cancer. After my CT scan, I had a strong hunch. I , of course, didn't want to believe it, but kept preparing myself for the worst news. After the Colonoscopy on October 26th, 2016,  things have been a whirlwind, which is why I am just now getting back to updating my blog. 

Oct 26 found out I had Colon Cancer. Surgery was Nov 1 to remove tumor that was 1in in size and length of my sigmoid. Lymph nodes tested with 5/22 cancer cells still in body.Nov 5th I went home. Nov 14th got CDIFF infection that attacks colon.  Now on major antibiotics to heal. Start chemo in January after incisions heal from Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery. 

I had barely woken up and Ben was just arriving to pick me up from my colonoscopy and the GI doctor, Dr. Nichols, says to both of us, "Can you drive over to see the surgeon right now? We need to get this tumor out of you, as soon as possible. " He showed me pictures and told me my tumor was so large that is covered my colon and was the length of my sigmoid. He said he had to push through the tumor to make sure I didn't have another one on the other side and was happy to report I did not. However, the tumor was so big that he had to take large biopsy's and the colon camera wasn't bigger than the end of a pen and he still could hardly get through. The nurse has just barely handed me a cranberry juice and I was not even sitting up yet. I got dressed and slowly via wheelchair went out to the car. Ben went to go get the jeep and away we went. 

The surgeon Dr. Hornbarger and Ben and I spoke about surgery and scheduled it for Nov 1st. That was the first day the surgeon could get for the Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic, Sigmoidectemy and Colon Resection. Basically they were going to take out the infected area of the colon, pull it out through my old C-section scar and I would have five small incisions on my stomach where the robot helped.Then they would re connect my colon together and resect it. We discussed any complications and all the what ifs. He gave us pamphlets and had me stay on a soft food diet so I wouldn't have to drink as much Golightly to prepare for surgery.

I left there well informed though nervous about this upcoming surgery. In my past when my youngest con was born the epidural didnt take and they had to shoot locals in my stomach until they got him out and then they put me under. It was NOT a pleasurable experience and left me haunted about surgery for years and this surgery was no different. 

That night I was in a lot of pain and my bowels had huge chunks of blood in them. The next morning, early I called the on call doctor because I wasn't feeling well. Things didn't feel right and my pain level was going higher. They suggested I go to ER and after much crying about it and deliberation, we decided to go. Ben and I got a bag ready in case I needed to stay over and away we went. I checked myself in and then I was put in an ER room. They ran some tests, gave me some Dilauded for pain and then came back stating they thought I had an infection. They insisted I take some antibiotics for this "supposed" infection. I made them argue with my surgeon about it and the final consensus was that I would take them. I was ER most of the day and went home to get healed.

The closer the date to my surgery , the more panicked I became. On Sunday October 30th, I couldn't take the fear anymore. I went to and found the missionaries number to call for my area.I called them at 7 am on a Sunday morning. They called me back and I told them of my situation and asked if they would come give me a Priesthood Blessing.  

They came over that night with some members form the church and after talking a little they gave me a blessing. I immediately felt peace and tranquility come over me. My heart was at peace and I was no longer worried or had any concerns about the colon/tumor surgery. 

A few days before I had to start prepping and did not handle it well. I had a hard time getting migraines and stomach issues. The day before when I was supposed to drink the Golightly, we had thought that is I stayed on soft food, broth, yogurt, jello, etc that I wouldn't have to drink the whole gallon. Unfortunately, I was so blocked by the tumor that I nearly had to drink it all to clean out. 8oz every 10 minutes. The two hours to finish it wasn't enough time. I was down to the last two 8 oz glasses and my body would not let me take anymore. I kept gagging and barfing every time I would take it. The Suprep for the colonoscopy was much easier to take as it had a sweeter flavor to it. This just tasted like yucky saltwater.

I called the surgeon's office to ask them what to do and they said I was ok if it was only the lat two. My bowels were nto perfect, but they were ok with "cloudy" The rest of the night was awful. I was starving and couldn't eat anything. The antibiotics the surgeon gave me were huge and strong. I had to take the Zofan just to get my pills down. 

The day of the surgery , my friend Donna came over and went with us. My mom wanted to come but I felt she needed to stay down in New Mexico to take care of my Uncle and Dad who were not well. She is the caregiver and I worry about her leaving them for me. They are over 70 years of age and I am 46. I felt like I could do it.
With Donna and Ben there, I knew I would be fine.

Right before the surgery me and the doctors were laughing and cutting it up. I felt happy and totally at ease. My surgery was 4 hours and my recovery time was 2 hours. It was a lot longer in recovery than they thought it would be and some visitors ended up leaving and coming back. Evidently, Donna and I had a whole conversation that I didn't even remember when I woke up in my room.

I already knew from the Colon Cancer Support Group I was in on Facebook that I needed to do a few things before they would release me: Walk, Eat, Poo. Almost as soon as I woke, I sat straight up. The next day I was walking with my pole around the hospital. By the next day I was walking alone. And boy did I walk. I walked and walked nearly any chance I could get and I would scoop into every wing of Skyridge Medical Center and just walk. If I was feeling down, I would walk. If I was ancy, walk. In the middle of the night, when I couldn't sleep was when I would walk the most. From 2-4pm was always the hardest for me. I don't know why, but it was. Too many thoughts in my head I guess.

A few days later, more bad news. They DID remove the tumor and I was resected ok, however, there was Cancer in the surrounding lymph nodes so that moved me to Stage 3b Colon Cancer and I was going to have to do Folfox chemo starting January. That , of course, put me in a bit of a tailspin but I had so much love and encouragement from others that I snapped out of it. 

Early Friday morning I finally had a bowel movement. That was good news because then I could move to a more normal diet and get off just soft liquids. The food at Skyridge however was not as good as everything else. People here in Colorado kept telling me they call Skyridge "Spa Ridge" because it was so nice. In every other way it was, however, the food was horrible and the kitchen staff was horrible about getting it to you on time. My hot food was always cold and my cold food was always warm. Blech.

They said I could go home Friday night but I felt safer waiting another day. Saturday they allowed me to go home. The Compassionate Service ladies from the church brought me meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to help out and I had a lot of visitors.

I was doing so well and walking at home and walking nearly 5 miles every day and then Saturday, the 12th hit. I had a lot of visitors that day but wasn't feeling quite right after they all left. I started having severe diarrhea. Sadly my loose bowles did not stop and come Monday, I was starting to get worried. I called to make an appointment and they got me in that day. I called Ben at work and told him I needed him to take me and I was worried. He had me call his stepmom Anne and while her and I were talking Ben came home early.We went to the doctors and they had me tested for C-Diff. A lethal diarrhea infection that can be deadly if not caught early enough. A few days later, his office called and stated that I had the infection and needed to get on the antibiotics right away. I had Ben go get them as soon as they were ready and the pharmacist called me to warn me not to take this with any alcohol or anything that has alcohol in it, mouthwash, cough syrup etc as it can cause a violent reaction and be fatal.

However, on the flip side, the doctors told me I could take some Mylanta for my sour stomach  and to get off the Zofran, as it can make it worse. The second day I was on the meds I took some and not long after Ben came home and fixed me dinner did I start throwing up. I thought it was just my migraine as the barometric pressure had shifted that day. The next day when I was feeling a bit better but still sour, I go to pur another dose of Mylanta. AS I was pouring it, all of a sudden I noticed it says it has 2% alcohol in it! good grief! They trying to kill me? No wonder I was so sick.

Two days later, I had a followup with the surgeon and he said I could take some pepto chewables or the drink instead. Otherwise, I was doing well and the incisions were healing nicely.

Yesterday, I had a followup with my Family Care Physician, Dr. Kaiser and he said he is putting me on another round of the antibiotics and to start taking these probiotic pills they carried at Clinix. These ones the Spectra Nutri- Probiotics. These ones have over 30 microorganisms that start getting your gut health back to it's natural state. I am to take them twice a day and Ben to take once a day for safe keeping. We don't want my Hunepants sick as well as me. That won't help me at all. 

This has been a crappy road, but I think It's slowly getting under control. I am taking a b-12 sublingual daily for a bit more energy and it has helped. I also started taking my CBD/THC chews as well and needed to get more, so Hunepants took me to the dispensary so I could. They have really made a difference in how I feel and in my appetite without me having to smoke anything. I like that. 

Most days I am very positive and upbeat and know I got this, I can make it through this.

God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers.

There is nothing my Heavenly Father and I can't handle together.

This is just another fall in my life and as I always say, the only thing to do when you fall is look up!