“Go and Live your Life”

by Nola on July 2, 2012

Almost a year ago now, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. That diagnosis started a process unlike any I’ve experienced before. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s kind of like being pregnant, in that one embarks on a medical journey that is largely out of one’s control, a journey that lasts many months and results — hopefully — in a happy outcome.

Following a total hysterectomy in October — performed via robot; how cool is that? — I learned that the cancer had unexpectedly spread to my ovaries. So instead of going on my merry way at that point, I began a five-month course of chemotherapy. This is the part that kind of reminded me most of being pregnant, in that I reported every week to my doc’s office, gave blood and had a checkup. I then spent a couple of hours lounging in the “chemo suite”, being tended to by a bevy of kind and proficient nurses. I came to call it my “kimo spa day”, because the process and surroundings were actually quite restful.  I did not experience any of the unpleasant side effects of kimo aside from hair loss, discolored toe nails and a little tingling in my feet. I know I am lucky in that regard.

Before beginning chemotherapy, my doc had installed a fancy little gadget in my upper right chest called an infusion port. This little port allowed blood to be drawn and the kimo chemicals to be administered easily and painlessly. Although my initial reaction to the idea of a device being installed under my skin had been one of revulsion, I grew quite fond my port. It worked flawlessly. I named it “Port Charles”.

Following completion of the kimo phase, I had a few specially-targeted internal radiation treatments called brachytherapy. While the treatments themselves were not difficult, they did make me anemic and tired me out much more than the kimo had done. Not cool.

After radiation, I had a CT scan done. NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE. Good words to hear. I’ll be having one of those scans every year for awhile.

My doc expects that my cancer will not recur, so last week he removed my little port in a quick office procedure. (I got to keep it. It’s purple. I’m thinking some kind of funky pendant.) Afterward, he gave me one of his wonderful hugs and said this blessing: “You have done everything we asked you to do, and you have done it well. You are no longer a cancer patient. Go and live your life.”

Big words. Still bring a lump to my throat.

– Nola

 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

judyb August 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

I just found your blog and wanted to tell you CONGRATULATIONS!

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Nola August 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Thanks, Judy! Glad you took the time to write.

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