Sunday, April 25, 2010

The One Where I Feel Guilty

Feeling guilty is one of those useless emotions (like jealousy) that can eat you alive and is so hard to stop. I"m 3 days post my first chemotherapy treatment and so far I haven't really gotten sick as I expected. I've been extremely tired and pretty much slept all of today and had a few waves of nausea that passed quickly. It seems my medication is working. But generally speaking, I am ok so far. I've just become a prisoner of my mind though. I woke up sneezing so I was paranoid that I was sick. All night when I kept waking up, all I kept thinking was "is it time to be sick? am I sick?" I just feel very fortunate that so far I'm not one of the sick ones. I should probably knock on wood.

The only problem is that I feel really guilty when I get upset or scared. For instance last night it just hit me again. I HAVE CANCER! I just completed my first round of chemo. It just is very surreal to me. I'm not in denial, it just doesn't seem right. And with that being said, I cried for a while last night. I"m scared of the unexpected. I just don't want to go through all this. But then I feel guilty. I"m guilty because here I am whining because I'm tired and because I've got to be treated for cancer, a cancer that is VERY TREATABLE, while others around me are going through much worse. When I was getting treatment last Thursday I was most definitely the youngest person there, and by about 50 years. The other people were really sick and were really in pain. Others around me have brain cancer and even stage 4 lung cancer, which is much more scary than what I'm going through. But yet, I can't get those feelings out of my head that I"VE GOT IT BAD! I'm so thankful that of any cancer diagnosis, this is what I have, but at the same time it's very hard to be THANKFUL for cancer.

I'm scared to wake up every morning or after every nap right now. I just don't want to be sick, but that sounds like too much to ask. The good news is that this upcoming week I don't have a doctors appointment for the first week in about 2 months, so I'm thrilled I don't have to see a single doctor! WOOHOO!

Oh, I also chopped my hair off and dyed it brunette. Mid life cancer crisis I suppose.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The One Where I'm Ready To Fight To the Death

So the past few days have been hectic for me. I was finally able to make a trip to Nashville and visit all my friends. I can't tell you guys enough how much this meant to me to see everyone and how much it lifted my spirits. Had I not been able to visit everyone, i'm sure I would be deeply depressed.

Today sadly I had to come back to Memphis and back to reality. As soon as i got back into town I had to head straight to the doctors office. He informed me that my cancer is in a stage 3 due to the fact that my spleen is huge and the tumor in my chest is larger than expected. Also with that being said the doctor sprung it on me that I may have to have radiation as well, but we would cross that bridge in about 4 months.

Chemotherapy starts tomorrow at 10 am. I'm beyond nervous and beyond scared. I have no idea what to expect. I just can't believe this day has finally arrived that I have to stare cancer in the face and have a showdown to the death. I'm betting on myself! I hope to be able to update as the chemotherapy kicks in but I'm not sure how I will be feeling as everyone really reacts differently to the treatment. I am definitely not looking forward to the nausea and the vomiting. Not that anyone would be. Here's to CHEMO!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The One where My Prayers were Answered

Last night before I went to bed, I had a lot going on in my mind as usual. This week I've had my portacath put in and a bilateral bone marrow biopsy that has left my hips so sore that it's been hard to get up and down and walk around. It has been a physically tiring week but an even more tiring emotional week as I haven't stopped crying for 3 days! I have been planning a trip to Nashville for next week, being as that it might be my last chance before chemo starts. I need to see my friends. I miss all my friends there! Not being able to see them week after week kills me. I'm so thankful to be surrounded by my family but my friends are just as close to me as they are. So I laid in bed and cried. I was hurting and it got me thinking I might not make my trip next week. So I prayed as I do every night, but I prayed that He would just take my pain away. I didn't want to hurt anymore and I want to see my friends. I woke up this morning and just crawled out of bed and started going down the stairs and it hit me like a pile of bricks. I felt NO pain in my hips. I got up with ease and just flew down those stairs almost as if I had never had the procedure. I cried immediately knowing that God had answered my prayers. I know that my prayers do not go unanswered but I needed that reminder that if I just have faith and put it in His hands, He will carry me. I just couldn't believe it. Today is a great day! I love the good days because on my bad days I know that once again I will feel great if I just give it time!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The one where I Screamed!

Today I had my bilateral bone marrow biopsy. Let me just tell you I wouldn't wish that upon anyone. That was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life and I screamed in the room. Thank goodness my mother was right there with me to comfort me. I'm having flashbacks tonight about that pain and it brings tears to my eyes. I had an amazing cry at the hospital today. Sure I was hyperventilating and balling uncontrollably but it felt so good to get all of that out. Next week my chemo should start and I'm not sure how I'm feeling about it. After what I went through today, I can't imagine anything being worse. But for the rest of this week I have no more procedures and I'm hoping to heal nicely. I hope to visit Nashville next week before the Chemo starts. I'm missing a lot of people there. It's hard being away from friends.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The one where Reality sinks in

Today was a hard day. I had my portacath inserted today. I was emotional most of the day cause it just hit me that I HAVE CANCER! They let me know I would have minimal pain, however that wasn't the case. After they made the first incision, they realized that scar tissue from my previous 2 biopsies was in the way so they had to make another incision over my old one. Afterwards, I was in pain. I was having trouble lifting my head because of the pain in my neck. I felt like most of it was in my head. After my last biopsy I had a good 4 days of miserable pain and I was just having a flashback of that and praying I wouldn't go through that again. They gave me 2 percocets and that seemed to help and make me really really loopy! I spent a good hour in and out of crying. Once I got home my mom had to ice my body down because i was so hot and sweating. I finally fell asleep and once I woke up I felt alot better. God got me through today and I know he will get me through every day. 

Tomorrow is my bilateral bone marrow biopsy and i hope it's a better day. I'm so thankful I have my parents by my side. I wouldn't get through this without them. This biopsy along with the PET scan will help determine what stage the cancer is in.  No matter the outcome, the treatments are the same.  I just pray it is not in the bone marrow.  If it is that increases my chances of getting secondary cancers, primarily Luekemia.  BOO.

Chemotheropy:  My treatment will consist of a 6 month plan with me receiving cycles once every other week.  After 3 months I'll have another PET scan to see if the tumors are shrinking. If they are shrinking to the doctors liking, it looks like I won't have to have radiation which is great news.  I'm scared to death honestly.  I'm not looking forward to being sick.  Nausea, throwing up, fatigue....HAIR LOSS.  At this point I've accepted that I'm going to lose my hair.  I'm too tired to fix it anyways so I'll be rocking a wig and some scarves.  Maybe I'll just walk around bald.  That seems much cooler.  I'll probably need a hat so that I don't burn.

The one where CiAnna officially has Cancer 4/6/10


I received my official diagnosis today of Hodgkin's. Giddy up. I'm headed to see my oncologist tomorrow to get my next steps scheduled including a PET scan, a bone marrow biopsy, and talk about the port surgery. Not thrilled about any of that, but hey, it is what it is. I wasn't shocked when my doctor told me today, as he told me initially a month ago that's what he thought it was. So i've been living for a month knowing I had cancer. But earlier today I had a mini breakdown. I guess I can only laugh about it so much until it hits home and I realize I'm getting ready to go through a lot of not fun chemo and possible radiation.

On another note, I took my boxer dog Wrigley to the vet today because he's been limping on his back leg for about a week. The vet says he has an inflammed knee and should stay off of it for about 4 or 5 days. Yeah, easier said than done. He's almost 2 years old, full of energy and has 3 other dogs to play with here at my parents house. So this week will be a challenge with him, but he's my baby and I love him soooo much! He knows mamma has been sick and he's been really comforting to me the past few weeks.

The one where my life is frozen 4/3/10


I just had my second biopsy done on Thursday. The doctor made an incision right over the last incision and he dug in much deeper this time. I am sore all over and can barely move my neck. This recovery process is going to be much longer than from the last surgery a week ago. My onc thinks I can get my results on either Monday or Tuesday.

I met with my onc again this past Wed. and he explained to me that I have swollen lymph nodes in more places than I thought. I thought I just had the large one in my neck that was 3cm and the one in my chest that is 14cm. HUGE. Grapefruit sizematic! Turns out they are lined up and down my neck, trachea and into my chest. I haven't had a scan yet to see below my abdomen. THis was pretty shocking at my appointment cause I realized it is worse than I thought. My doctor is convinced its Hodgkins and now we are just waiting on the results on the second biopsy.

I lost my job back in January and have been living back in my parents house since then. Of course losing my job was a blessing in disguise. I never would have gone to the doctor had my mother not forced me to go. SO it's great that I found out about HL, but on the other hand, I feel like my entire life has been put on hold. All my friends are in Nashville. I have no job, which takes a lot of pressure off of me I guess, but I'm bored outta my mind. Dating has been put on hold. I had been having a great time dating around trying to find the right guy but now that is SOOOO on hold. I recently just lost 100 pounds and a whole new world has been opened up to me and now I feel like it's been shut down. I just feel so far away from my normal life and it kinda sucks. I thought 2010 was going to be MY year!  Not so much!

I'm honestly just ready to get passed this and move on with my life.

The one where I get no answers 3/31/10

March 31, 2010

To my surprise my doctor called me Monday morning with my results. He stated the biopsy showed the node was not malignant just inflammed and infected. However my doctor said he was not convinced and was still sure it was hodgkins with all my swollen nodes and symptoms. So I'm going under the knife again. In 2 days they will cut me open again, take another small node, take a wedge from the large one on my neck that is about the size of an orange, plus do a needle biopsy on the largest node just to make sure they have enough. 

Like my doctor said, if it isn't HL, its something and we've got to figure it out. This will be a riskier surgery due to the location of the largest node on my neck so that makes me even more nervous. I was terrified at the last surgery and I'm feeling scared again even though the surgery was a piece of cake. Hopefully this time I'll stay calm and the nurse won't have to baby me by calling my mom and letting me watch looney tunes with the 9 year old in the bed next to me.

I am still meeting with my oncologist tomorrow even though I already have my results. I just have a million questions and I'm going to just drill him. Maybe Alex Trebek style and make him answer in the form of a question. Yeah that sounds great!

The one where I'm Waiting for Answers 3/28/10

March 28th, 2010

All the symptoms were there. Coughing for 8 months, night sweats, itchy skin, fatigue, oh, and that huge lump on my neck. However none of them seemed related. The coughing was because I was just sick. The night sweats were because I was just hot at night, plus had a 60 pound boxer sleeping on top of me. I was just itchy every now and again. I was tired because I was just lazy. I actually had the lump checked out about a year ago and had an ultrasound. The doctor said it was clear but told me to call if it didn't go down. Well it never went down and I never called.

I was in Chicago about 3 weeks ago with my parents and my cough was so bad this week that I literally threw up everything I ate for 8 days. Once I was back in Memphis, my mom forced me to go to the doctor. He gave me a chest xray and there it was. A mass on my lung the size of a tennis ball. That set the next events in motion really quickly. After getting a CT scan and getting about 3 opinions all my doctors have diagnosed me with what is probably Hodgkins Lymphoma. HMMM.

I just had my biopsy done on Thursday. Being put to sleep is a terrifying experience. I'm 27 and while I was laying in pre-op I started sobbing like a baby. Luckily my nurse saw I was a big baby and snuck my mom back there to see me. That was comforting. The surgery went well. They removed a small lymphnode that was attached to the huge swollen lymph node on my neck. Now I'm healing and waiting.

My results will be in on Wed. and I have a meeting with my oncologist then. I am guessing the results will confirm what they've all been saying the past few weeks. I'm ready to just get a confirmed diagnosis and start whatever treatments I may need. It's scary but I'm at peace with it. There's nothing I can do about it but kick it's butt and move on.

Until Wednesday....