Wednesday, July 27, 2016

We Talked...

Earlier this week I met my friend, Sandy, for lunch. Sandy and I first meet when we attended the Gynecologic Cancer Support Group meetings at our cancer center in 2007. We were both diagnosed in 2005 with stage 3 serous epithelial ovarian cancer. We became friends and have stayed in touch even though Sandy now lives half the year in the Florida Keys.  Since she returns to NJ for the summer, we took this opportunity to get together.

Our lunch conversation was not about politics or the heat wave. Nope we talked about our gynecologic oncologists and our nurses. Even after more than ten years, those doctors and nurses still play an important role in our lives. Both our doctors are practicing in different locations now. So we talked about what went into the decision to stay at our cancer center or follow them to their new locations. Not an easy decision at all.

Then we talked about how even 11 years out,  we still worry about a recurrence. We laughed about how we can't multi-task any longer because when we do, we forget things. We weren't talking about forgetting where we left our keys or glasses. We were talking about finding the right words / names for things. We talked about how on some days we still need to nap because we are too exhausted to function properly. We talked about how our toes are still numb and how we can literally trip over our own feet- and it is not the shoes we are wearing.  We talked about how we still get nervous when we need to have our blood drawn for our CA-125 level. We talked about gaining weight. Do you feel bloated? ( One of the signs of ovarian cancer.) We talked about how neither of us have had a CT scan in over 2 years. Should we get one? We don't want to expose ourselves to the radiation but we know that for us that is the only way we will find a recurrence. Decisions, Decisions.

I talked about my advocacy work and she talked about her paintings and recent gallery exhibits. We talked about our families. We have been blessed and we have accomplished a lot over the past 11 years.

Then we talked about Pam and Sharon and Rita Kay and others from our support group. We can't understand why we are two of the lucky ones- women who have lived ten plus years after an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Sure we try to exercise more and eat better - less red meat , more fruits and vegetables but nothing dramatic.

Honestly, we don't know why we are still alive... and why our friends are not...eleven years later.

Every Day is a Blessing! Blessed to be celebrating my 11th cancerversary on July 29th.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your cancerversary. I passed my 6th year in February and I was just thinking about how I used to be a little afraid about thinking too far into the future - not that I don't live my life, but just that maybe if I plan to do something too far out, I will never see it through. Anyway, Before my recurrance in 2012, we were planning to build a house on some land we own and when I found out I had cancer active again and that my mom needed more care and we were going to have issues getting utilities to our land, we just decided to put off building until things were feeling more like the right mom came to live with us, I underwent treatment, another recurrance, surgery and more treatment. Last year my mom passed away and we decided a few months ago that we were finally at a point where we wanted to go forward with our house. Since then, everything has fallen into place. I am still getting treatments but they are less frequent and my DR has been cutting back on the dosage, my CA-125 has continued to go down - this last time it was 6.9! We have built a large metal shed, gotten utilities and will even be closing on the sale of our house in two weeks. We found a nice used 5th wheel that we will be living in while we have our house built and it just happened that the builder we really wanted to do our house is able to start early this fall.

I cannot say how many times I secretly thought that I might never get to be part of building our house but I have never felt better in the 6 years since I was diagnosed...I also have some memory problems - the inability to multi-task as well as I used to be able to has recently really bugged me. I have gained some weight, but I have been slowly (very) been taking it off. Many, many times a day, really, I am thankful for still being here and very thenkful for all I have been able to do that I was not sure would happen. I am getting ready to "test-drive" a new Dr as my original Dr just retired last week. He even called to change my appt so he could see me one more time and say goodbye. I will really miss him but he is impressed with the Dr coming in to replace him - he is fairly new out of resedency, from UIC in Chicago and is up on a lot of the new treatments like PARP which I would probably go to if I recur again.

Thanks for still posting and sharing all of your activities. Stay well!
Karen Herrmann (in Kansas)

Dee said...

Hi Karen,

Thanks for reading leaving such a nice comment on my cancerversary post.

Right after I finished treatment for my recurrence in 2009 my husband and I decided it was time to move. Kids were grown and we wanted a home with the master bedroom on the first level. We had been living in a split level. I was nervous I would recur right up to the day we closed on our new home in 2010.

I hope you have a great relationship with your new doctor.

Take care,