Survivors

Survivors
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  • Jeana
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  • I am a cancer survivor
  • It all started in the summer of 2007. I began have abnormal bleeding every time I had intercourse. So after a few months of this I made an appt. with my gyn.

    She did a pap and gave me a Rx for antibiotics to take and said she really didn\^t think it was anything to worry about. After a month of taking the meds I was still having the abnormal bleeding so my gyn had me come in and they did a colposcopy.

    She also informed me that I was HPV+, add to the I have a family history of cervical cancer I guess I was destined to get it.

    A few weeks later I called her from work to see if the results were back and she said that they found cancerous cells and referred me to an oncologist.

    It was now Jan of 2008 by this time. I went to the oncologist and he did his own exam and scheduled me for a conization. Another few weeks of waiting and it was now late Feb. I went for my results and was told it was defiantly stage 2b cervical cancer.

    My oncologist recommended a radical hysterectomy and said I may need a few radiation treatments after wards. I wasn\^t too happy about it but I had already had 2 childern (a son & daughter) and wasn\^t planning on having more (though the option would still be nice) & my life was more important.

    So a few days later on Feb.26,2008 I went into surgery. When I woke up my boyfriend, my mother, and my aunt were all gathered around which at that point I thought I\^m dead and can now laugh at when I think about it.

    I had a tube up my nose, IV\^s, a catheter, compression devices on my legs to prevent blood clots and I felt horrible but I was alive and that was a great thing.

    The day after my surgery my dr. came in and told me the surgery went well but they had removed my lymph nodes because they found cancerous cells there so my few radiation tx\^s had now become 6wks of chemo and radiation.

    A few days later the tube came out of my nose and a weeks later I was sent home with the catheter still attached. Needless to say I refused to go anywhere because I felt so embarrassed.

    A week after my surgery I went for a follow up with the oncologist. The catheter was removed to see if I could void on my own which I still could not so I opted to self cath myself rather then leave the catheter in. I think it helped that I was a nursing tech so I already knew how to do it and it wasn\^t painful.

    The dr. said it would still be another few weeks before I would be able to void on my own but it would happen I would just have to be patient. Within a few weeks I was voiding on my own and I was so happy. My staples came out and the wound was healing great.

    Towards the end of April, beginning of May I started my chemo and radiation tx\^s. I had chemo once a week which was an all day thing. They gave cisplatin and with that they gave a diaretic via IV to help flush out my system after wards. That was annoying jumping up every 5 minutes with an IV pole to run to the bathroom.

    The next day after my 1st chemo the side effects kicked in and I was having a hard time keeping stuff down. I ended up on several nausea meds in order to keep from being sick all the time. And the only things I could stomach were crackers, cheese sticks, frozen fruit bars and some fruit.

    At first I could only drink ginger ale which was funny because I had never liked it and then I couldn\^t stomach that anymore and could only drink sweet tea (god bless McDonalds.

    This really sucked for me because I am a huge pepsi drinker and couldn\^t drink it because I guess from the chemo meds it made it taste horrible.

    The first week or two of radiation wasn\^t too bad although having to go every day got tiring. But into the 3rd week the side effects started appearing.

    I had horrible pain in pelvic area and was going to the bathroom much more than I liked to the point where I would be in the bathroom crying because it hurt.

    It didn\^t hurt because I was going 2 or 3 times a day but because apparently when you have radiation to that area it causes your bowel system to become irritated and inflamed. So now not only was I taking several meds for nausea, med for pain but now had several creams for my neither regions.

    About a quarter of the way through my treatments I began running a high fever and discovered my white cell count had dropped very low.

    So they had to stop tx\^s for several weeks until it came back up which eventually it did and I finally in late July I finished all my treatments. By this point I had lost my job because I was on leave too long and then lost my health insurance.

    In Sept of 2008 my left leg started mysteriously swelling but with no insurance there wasn\^t much I could do. I went to the ER several times fearful that it was a blood clot but the ultrasound was always negative. Though lymphadema was mentioned as a possible cause.

    Fast forward to January of 2009 I finally found new job and had med ins. so in Feb I made an appt with my PCP to find out what was going with my leg and by this time had developed bad pain in my lower back that I thought was from shifting my weight off my bad leg.

    The PCP sent me for a CT of my abdomen and 2 MRI\^s of my lower back. Two weeks ago I got the results and was told they found a mass in my abdomen and in my lower back that they say looks like cancer.

    So now I have to go have a PET scan, see the oncologist next week, and get a biopsy done of the mass in my lower back. And they still don\^t know what is wrong with my leg.

    I feel so defeated. I thought after all that I had been through last year that it was over and I could now get on with my life. I am worried and I cry almost every day.

    But in the end I haven\^t lost hope yet and I will keep on fighting....I have to for my children and they are what keeps me going & what gives me hope that I will beat this and I will get better.

    Having cancer isn\^t pretty. It can be painful, make you sick and push you to the edge but never give up, never stop fighting....every day we wake up is a blessing & a gift so live it to it\^s fullest, don\^t take little things for granted and never forget to tell those around you how much you love them.

    And please, please make sure you see your gyn regularly and if you haven\^t got it then get the HPV vaccine & get tested for it and encourage the women in your life to do the same.
  • 03-28 -2009
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