My Cancer Journey

It all started Tuesday February 7, 2012.  I was having a headache, and this time it wouldn’t go away. I kept rubbing my forehead and telling Steve (my husband) that it felt like sinus but not exactly like sinus.  Went to bed that night and the next morning around 3:30 am it hurt a lot, I kept trying to find positions I could be in to fall back asleep.

At 5:00 am I rose out of bed to see what was going on.  It was swollen, very swollen.  I decided to make a doctor appt. because of the pain that was associated with it.  I had an appt early that morning, and by the time I got there I could barley open my eye.  The doctor said I shouldn’t be driving because I couldn’t read the letters on the chart except for the E haha.  Well I can see I just couldn’t read!

The doctor said it was blephoritis and gave me some antibiotics and some salve to put in my eye. During the night I cried all night, it was so painful I kept throwing up every time I did anything.  Steve stayed home from work and took me back to the doctor the next morning.  Although it was a different doctor.  That doctor sent me to an eye doctor in Riverside.  That doctor took one look at me and sent me to urgent care and wanted a CT scan done.  When I got to Urgent care they gave me meds to help stop the pain, and after a while they sent me to x-ray.  X-ray showed no problem.  They ended up having to give me morphine to stop the pain.  I was sent home with pain medication and told to return the next day to be rechecked. I was back the next day, Friday and they said it was celluitis and was looking worse but less pain cause of the medicine.  Over the weekend it kept feeling like something was pushing my eye out of my head.  I made an appt with my regular doctor because I didn’t want to see anyone else.  So Tuesday Feb 15th  I seen Dr. Mc Bride.  She agreed, the mass was pushing my eye out and down.  She sent me back to the same optometrist in Riverside right then and there.

When we got there he was shocked! He didn’t understand why urgent care didn’t do the CT-scan like he had wanted them to do. He sent me to a specialist in Fontana that same day.  The doctor I seen was Doctor Li, she looked at me and said she needed to do a biopsy ASAP.  She also mentioned that she needed to do an MRI to know the size of the mass she would be dealing with.  Okay so I get a valume and do the MRI, then I head over to out patient surgery.  While waiting for surgery, Dr. Li comes in and tells us we have the results of the MRI, and said it’s worse than they thought.   There was a large mass behind my eye very close to the optical nerve.  There was also a spot above the eyebrow in the same area, and another one across the forehead from that.  So, a nurologist was called in to biopsy that too.

2/16/2012  Surgery went well, it helped my eye pain 100%.  I was told that what came out after they cut the eye open was clear liquid like water and blood, as thick as motor oil.  They were all astounded and didn’t know what to think of it.  I was feeling very good with all the pressure removed from my eye.  I was finally able to open my eye a little since the 8th of February.  I was happy to be able to see, even though it was double, I could still see.

Things seemed to be going fairly well, I almost went home that night. That afternoon I was told they wanted to do a contrast CT-scan..  So, okay what ever I’ll do another one.  No big deal.  So, the next morning 2/17/2012 they come and get me for the CT-scan.  Still everything was going well.  Physical therapy came by and I was given permission to walk.  I was told I’d be going home soon.   Yay, I was up and walking around feeling really good, so excited to have this over with!.

2/18/2012  The next morning 3 doctors came in and said they wanted to do another MRI because they found ‘abnormalities’ on the CT-scan.  I found out it was going to be ab hour long MRI.  Started crying and told them that I needed to be knocked out for that. I couldn’t be in a tube for an hour.  They left to see what they could do for that.

About an hour and a half later Dr. Steiner the one who did the biopsy came in.  And quite bluntly says “You have a legion on your lung, hip and lower spine.  It’s cancer and it’s metastasizing.”  At that very moment my whole body lit on fire and my whole world changed.  No one was in the room except myself and the doctor. I asked the doctor if this was normal.  He said “what?” I told him my whole body is like 20-30 degrees hotter all over.  He said, yes that’s an instant reaction to stress.  I looked at him and told him I’m not doing the MRI.  He said okay I’ll cancel it and you can just go home, and he left the room.

I called Steve, all I could do is cry and say his name over and over again.  He said he was on the freeway and he’d be there soon.  So, we hung up and I called Bridgette.  I thought I could keep it together, but I couldn’t, I did the same thing with her.  Just cried and said her name over and over again.  I can only imagine how those words felt to each of them, I’m sure it’s something neither of them will ever forget.  After a while she calmed me down enough and asked what was wrong.  For the first time I had to say the words “I have cancer”.  Upon saying those words my whole body felt on fire again.  She was silent, for a moment and then we talked for a while.  She wanted to come and pound on the doctor for the way he told me.  Steve showed up so Bridgette and I hung up.  I told Steve what the doctor said, it was quite a shock.  Not the news we were expecting.  As Steve was processing this, Wyatt called and wanted to come to the hospital.  So, I told Steve go ahead and get him.

During the time Steve was gone Pastor Jim called, and I told him what the diagnosis was.  I told him that Steve had gone to get Wyatt.  He offered to be there when we told Wyatt, and I said yes, indeed.  So he came to the hospital.  Telling Wyatt was hard but there was only one way to tell him and that was to just do it.  He seemed to freeze up, just kind of sat there trying to process it logically I guess.  I asked Wyatt to pray for me because I knew he needed to cry at that moment.  Even if he didn’t do it again for a while.  He did pray for me, and toward the end of the prayer he broke down and fell into my arms and cried his heart out.  That was when Jim left the room.  Too much emotion and to give us some privacy.  We just all held each other for a few minutes.  Then Wyatt went to get Pastor Jim.  I went home Friday night.  There was no need for more tests, no need to stay there at all.  I just wanted to get out of there!  Believe me, I was HAPPY to be home.

The hard part was next, telling my mother.  She was beside her self, Bridgette and Alex were coming out with Wensdae and Mother rode with them.  She told her she needed to see me.  It was nice to have them come over.  I know mother needed to be next to me.  It was Shabbat so it was nice to have people there.  After Shabbat services the Eastons came over.  Aaron, Josephine, Jessica, J-Anne, Marsha, Dana and Neece.  It was nice.  Jessica started playing the piano and we ended up singing.  Just the women, the guys had left to check out the barn.  So that was nice.  I cried and said I didn’t want to have cancer.  I did’t mean to burst out like that, but it is true.

Since this time I have been on a roller coaster of emotions.  Wanting to laugh a lot, crying and being mad.  Wyatt and I went to see Dr. Mc Bride again and she was so sorry to hear the news.  She showed Wyatt and I where the spots were, she ordered an appt with my own urologist in Riverside.  That was nice, I didn’t want to go to a new one in Fontana just to do all the stuff over again.  She told me to start on a total vegan diet, and to get the book “The China Study”  So, I did.   She said to start juicing so I want to start juicing soon to get extra nutrients quickly into my system.

Now, I’m suffering with the waiting game.  Waiting to see the oncologist to see what the steps are next.  2/27/2012 I’m supposed to see the oncologist to find out what type of cancer it is and how to fight it.  BUT 3 hours before the visit they called and canceled the appt.  What JERKS!!  The doctor wasn’t even in that day.  I don’t understand why they couldn’t have given me an appt for the day he was in.  So, I called my doctor and asked her for an appt to Riverside to switch doctors.  It’s closer for one and I like Riverside office better.  Hopefully it will happen soon!!

2/28/2012  IT HAPPENED!!  I have the referral to the Riverside oncologist!!  Tomorrow I can make my appointment.  WOW, I don’t have to do that, they called and I see them Monday!  YAY, so Monday I will know more.

3/5/2012  Well today was my appt with the oncologist.  What I have is lung cancer that has spread.  He gave me an expiration date, based upon his knowledge and whether or not we do anything to fight it.  That’s fine, he doesn’t know MY GOD!!  I will be healed I know this. I trust God for this.  I will pray believing that I will be healed.  I will shout it from the roof tops!!   I have such a wonderful support group.  My FICH friends have been coming over bringing dinners since I left the hospital.  As soon as they found out it was vegan, they hopped right on it and started bringing vegan meals.  Some are totally YUMMY!!  They have been sending me videos that are stand up comedy to watch.  Sending me little messages to let me know they are praying for me, that they love me and so on.  It’s been wonderful.  Bridgette has jumped on line and found out things for me to do and take to help fight this.  She bought me a blanket to take to my chemo appts.  She bought me a blue ray player so I can watch netflix, hulu or amazon prime or just dvd’s!!  How sweet is that?  Keisha sent me a big gray purse and a couple of DVD’s to watch.  So funny!  Wyatt has been checking on me and coming into the room when he feels I’ve been holed up too long.  Just to make sure I’m not getting depressed.

Steve, has been my rock through all this.  He is so understanding, so willing to help and just to be there.  He said something so touching one morning.  He was about to leave for work and stopped, sat on the bed and said “I love you, I’ve always loved you. But till now, I have realized just how much I love you!”  I think sometimes we get complacent and just take things for granted, or just assume it will always be there.  This turn in our road has shown us how fast that road can change.

I told my mother what the doctor said, and it really hurt to see her so hurt.  I mentioned to her that I’m doing all I can.  And that we were waiting for $$ to come in so I could get a juicer.  She said “you’ve got it”  I looked at her and said … Mother it’s like $435.00.  She cried and said don’t tell me no!  If I can’t spend that much to help try and save my daughters life then what is wrong with me?  I held her and told her, I would never tell her no.  I would accept her blessing.  She called into work and told them she wasn’t coming in.  So, we took off and met up with Bridgette and Alex and Malcolm.  We went to a market, then went to Ikea to get lamps.  Then we popped over to a place called Native Foods.  Talk about YUMMY!!  It was so good.  We all loved it and it was all totally vegan!  From there we went to Whole Foods and did a little shopping.  Mother was so happy to be out of the house.  Bridgette and Alex took her home for us so we could hit the toll road.  I enjoyed spending the day with her.  I want to do it again soon and head back over to Native Foods!!

I had my first round of Chemo, and discovered that I’m starting off with 6 rounds.  So far so good.  I didn’t get an upset stomach.  But I am having trouble using the bathroom, headaches and feet are like ice cubes. That’s okay, I’m thrilled I’m not throwing up!  I hate throwing up.  But as more medicine gets into my system who knows what will happen.  They said that my hair would fall out, but that would be after a few times.  I don’t really care.  I’m prepared for that.  No big deal.  I have scarves to cover my head with.  And wouldn’t you know it, while we were gone getting my Chemo, the juicer came!  haha  So they delivered it the next day instead.  It works wonderful, when it says that the food comes out dry it does.  We can take that and use it when we make bread.  But fresh carrot juice is awesome! Well folks, I need to rest.  My good friend is stopping by today to bring a meal and fellowship.  I’m looking forward to it!!

This is an ongoing journal so I will be adding more later.   Until then … Peace Out, and may God Richly Bless You,

3/20/2012 Hello, today was another doctor appt.  It was with the doctor who let me know I had cancer. Today I seen a totally different person.  He was very kind and truly upset over the findings. He was glad that they discovered what was wrong though, as I was.  He hoped that all my treatments would heal me.  I mentioned to him that I was total vegan and he began telling me things to eat.  And mentioned that he too was vegan.  Then he said something that surprised Steve and I.  He said that his colleagues were thinking of writing a paper for the American Medical Journal.  They wanted to put my case in there.  I would remain anonymous but the case would be in there.  He said it was a very strange case and a strange way to discover lung cancer. It would help other doctors and give them something to look for, as well as be a precedent case.  I agreed, heck if it can help someone else fine.

Then I showed him my arm.  Last night it started hurting, and of course after my eye, I was pretty nervous about it.  I have a red line that goes along the vein and it feels bruised.  He said to call the oncology dept, and they might say to put a warm compress on it and keep it elevated.  He said it was blocked, which happens sometimes with Chemo.  When I got home I called and that’s exactly what they said to do.  I have been using a heating pad, but there’s been no real change so this time I’m going to try a wet warm compress and see what that does.  If it doesn’t change by tomorrow then I have to head to urgent care.

Yesterday I had a wonderful pumpkin soup delivered by a wonderful friend and today I had a 3 bean chili delivered.  I feel so spoiled!  Anyway, that is all I have for now.  It’s late and I need to rest.  God Bless You All.

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4 thoughts on “My Cancer Journey

  1. I know all of this already, but having read it brought tears to my eyes. Your strength and resolve is an encouragement to me and so many others. I love you (you know this) and YEP–I’ll be there today with dinner, for a visit and a BIG hug. Love you tons, my friend.

  2. Thank you Kristi! I don’t mean to make you cry, through all this I hope that someone can be encouraged. Not that I have a lot of followers LOL! Guess because I don’t write that often. Who knows maybe through this journey I will spend time writing!! You’re supposed to be here soon, guess I should use some deodorant and change my shirt HAHAHA!!! Love you!!

    • It was great to visit with you today, Pam. Loved seeing you and just laughing and talking. I’m glad we get to do that on Mondays now! See you next week!

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