Survivors

Survivors
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  • Hi, I am writing because I have a lovely 50-year-old sister, my only sibling, who has been on the cervical cancer roller-coaster for the past 8 months. She is unmarried, no children, so my parents, my husband and I have basically been her support system. Unfortunately, she had not had a PAP test for many years. She woke up one morning, unable to urinate. (Of course, she had other symptoms, which she ignored.) She had to have a double nephrostomy (tubes inserted into both kidneys) and found out that one kidney was functioning at 11%. The tumor had grown so large that it was blocking the ureters and the flow of urine to the bladder. She was diagnosed with FIGO stage 4a cervical cancer, very large and deep tumor, with a fistula (hole) in her bladder. She was a real trooper through her combination chemo/radiotherapy, but the brachytherapy was more difficult, especially because it affected her intestines. She is now in constant pain because of this and taking painkillers, and mostly bedridden (she is living with my parents, all this is taking a toll on them, they are in their seventies and, thank God, quite healthy). Now her post-treatment scan revealed that the tumor has shrunk quite a but, but not disappeared, and also that the cancer has metastased to her para-aortic nodes and lungs (5 tiny nodules). Exenteration (radical surgery to remove and replace organs), which had been considered, had to be ruled out because of the spreading to other organs. Now she is supposed to undergo more chemo... She is down to about 80 lbs (she is about 5 ft 1) and I am concerned about how she will withstand the chemo. I am the only one in the family to have access to some much info on the Internet, but according to what I read, it looks quite bleak. Perhaps some women have lived through this and come out strong? Anyway, it just feels good to share. I admire her for keeping her morale through all this, she is a trooper! And although I have felt some anger at the fact that she didn\^t take care of herself (and that I ignored the signs myself), now I am looking ahead and will be there to support her, no matter what. Thanks for \"listening\".
  • 06-26 -2008
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