Survivors

Survivors
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  • I am a cancer survivor
  • This is in answer to Sherry\^s post. You wanted to hear from women who have been there and done that, so here I am. I was diagnosed with 3b in January 2007. I had a fairly large tumor and one lymph node that was involved. After an MRI, a CT scan, a PET scan, an appointment with a radiation oncologist, an appointment with a gynecological oncologist, mapping my pelvic area for the radiation and a second MRI (to make sure that the bones in my lower back weren\^t affected by the cancer even though they lit up on the first MRI), I started my course of treatment--5 days/5 weeks of external radiation, 5 chemotherapy infusions (low dose of cisplatin, once a week for five weeks), 8 radiation boosters and 5 internal radiation treatments.

    The chemo infusions didn\^t affect me much, a little constipation that subsided a day or two later. The external radiation treatments caused me to be fatigued, but I had taken a leave of absence from my job and was able to take a daily nap. On Saturdays, I took two naps. There are plenty of women who go to their radiation treaments early in the morning and then go to work. There are others who go to treatments and then go home to take care of their families. I\^m 54yo, my kids are grown and I am on my own, so I could sleep as much and as long as I wanted to. The radiation also gave me diahrrea, burning during urination and a bit of a loss of appetite.

    I\^m not sure about what kind of internal radiation treatments you will be getting. I was being cared for at a major cancer institute in the Northeast which, I am told, is one of the few places that does brachytherapy (internal radiation) on an outpatient basis. I went into the hospital in the morning, they put me under anesthesia, I had the internal treatment, and four hours later I was in the recovery room. A friend would drive me home and the next day I was fine. Other hospitals have you stay for 2 or three days because they don\^t have that new technology.

    Anyway, I regained my strength about 6 weeks after I was done with treatment, had a PET scan three months after the treatment was done, and the PET scan showed no evidence of disease. I go for Pap smears every three months and, after a year, I am still cancer-free.

    Of course you are nervous and it is kind of scary, but you can do this. Just take it one day at a time. Ask lots of questions, tell the doctors and nurses what is on your mind, and be kind to yourself. I hope this has helped you and anyone else who might have read this.
  • 06-05 -2008
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