Even more cancerific caringbridge posts (originally written 2011)

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Bada bing, bada boom!

Where to start, where to start?  I had my radical hysterectomy on Monday, and everything went very well.  After a fabulous overnight stay at the luxurious St. David North Medical Center, I checked myself out, so that I could come back to Chez Marquez.

The service here can not be beat!  I would say this is definitely a 5 star establishment, and the help is unbelievable!  My mom and dad, my friends Kellie, Hector, Debbie and Katrina, and my Aunts Leila and Sandy have all been A-MAZING!  My children have been awesome, and that is not the narcotics talking.  My husband, in his own way, has been very caring and loving(he thinks he’s funny at times, but that’s ok).
Tuesday, before checking out the doctor came in to let me know that they were waiting for the pathology report. He said that he had good margins, and once the pathology reports came in at the end of the week, we would schedule our next steps, namely chemo and/or radiation.
After a grueling week with a catheter, I was able to go in today to have it removed:)  Big yay for me!  Also, the reports came in, and I am happy to let you all know that my margins were clear, and all of the lymph nodes they removed came back negative!!!  He also said that he has never seen or heard of a case of small cell carcinoma that was contained in one area!  Now, I may not know exactly what this all means. Margins and such confuse me, but I do know that this is excellent news.  I am pretty sure this means that I will not have to go through radiation, which is a huge relief.
Now, as to what this means to me personally.  I have found out that it absolutely pays off to be a good person.  I would lay my life down for my friends and family, and if there was any doubt on my part as to whether the reverse were true(there wasn’t), this would have gotten rid of it!  My faith has grown in leaps and bounds!  I am a true believer in God and all of His miracles.  The power of prayer is a real thing, and to those that don’t believe, I will testify!  Please, take a moment, if you haven’t, to look up small cell cervical carcinoma. Very rare, very aggressive, and very scary when looking for a prognosis. I’ve been told by several people, on several occasions that they have put me on their prayer list, or that they were praying for me.  There have been people who confessed that they have not been very prayerful, but even they have sent up one or two.  My past few nights have not been the most restful, but to wake up to a warm sensation radiating from my chest, and KNOWING that it is everyone’s prayers, humbles me and affirms my belief in Christ.
My dear friends, this is not the end of my battle.  I will still need to go through the rest of my treatment, but as long as I have all of you beside me, I know that everything will be fine.  Thank you to all who have been there for me physically.  Thank you to all who have been there for me in heart, mind, and spirit.  Thank you to all who chose not to be there for me, because you allowed me to see who my true friends are.
Keep the prayers coming, and I promise to keep the faith!
…If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

The waiting is the hardest part.

It has been one whole week since I have been home from the hospital.  I am healing well, and the pain has lessened to a burning sensation when I stretch too far.  I can’t drive for 2 weeks.  I am not allowed to pick anything up over 10 pounds for 6 weeks…which means I can’t even vacuum. I have already had a few bad days.  It’s depressing when you are used to being a strong, independent person, and you have to now rely on other people.

I don’t want to sound like an ungrateful brat, because I really do appreciate everything people have done for me, but it’s hard for me to ask for/accept help of any kind.  My mother is amazing, and I depend on her so much.  My friends have shown incomparable kindness.  We have a fully stocked freezer with foods kids love due to one couple’s thoughtfulness.  Another friend, who owns a cleaning company, has generously offered to do our laundry until the completion of my treatments.  Another friend graciously offered to watch my children, so that my husband could go to work. I have not had to cook since being back, because if my mother isn’t here, another family member is bringing food.  It has all been so wonderful, and so overwhelming at the same time.  It makes me laugh when someone leaves the house, and makes me promise, PROMISE to call if there’s anything I need.  They all know that I’m not going to, but they also want to let me know that they know.
Pity…party of 1, your table is ready.  I want to hurry up and start the next step, because if I can do that, I can hurry up and get well.  It’s also a control issue, and I totally get that.  My life is chaos right now.  It’s disordered, helter skelter, turbulent even. I’m used to being able to get the kids ready, and go for a ride somewhere, at least.  We are all trapped in this house, and we are all getting tired of each other.  I snap at my husband, and accuse him of wanting to leave me.  I cry at the drop of a hat.  I read stories of women who are going through, or have gone through this kind of cancer, and sometimes it is not too hopeful.  One of the ladies contacted me, and I told her that I was doing well, but I felt, sometimes, that I was never going to be rid of this because God was not finished.  She told me that God is not who makes us sick, the devil is.  I had to explain that I knew God didn’t make us sick, but he allows things to be done to us, so He can do things through us.  If He can use us as His voice, believe that He will.  I know that I am up for the challenge, but it all comes down to fear for my family.  Sure, they will be alright without me.  I just don’t want them to have to find out for sure.  Control issue, again.
I’m praying, and allowing myself to be prayed for.  I’m trying to give the controls over to someone who knows better.  I’m trying to be selfish, and let people know when I need something.  I. Am. Trying. To. Survive.
Keep the prayers coming, and I will keep my faith.
I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled of afraid. – John 14:27

Chernobyl, or not Chernobyl…THAT is the question.

I am angry! I am frustrated! I am so tired.  I feel my world spinning out of control.  I know, I know…NOW her world is out of control?  She has been fine through diagnosis and surgery, but force her to make one simple decision, and the world is off its axis?

This has been an awful weekend!  I feel like I have been run over…several times.  I don’t want to do radiation!  I feel like a rotten child saying it, but I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna!  Everyone tells me that this is the best course of action, but I just feel like one huge experiment.  “Well, this worked on so and so, let’s try it on Shanna”. Nobody knows what works for REGULAR cancer, so how the heck do they know what works for a rare type of cancer?!?  So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  I went to my consultation with a radiologist at the start of last week.  She really didn’t tell me anything that would have convinced me that radiation is going to give me any better chance.  I was not convinced that the side effects are worth the small chance that it will help along with the chemo.  Come on! It’s bad enough that I have cancer, but to possibly have to have a colostomy bag for the rest of my life? How is that fair? Yes, it is a small percentage of people who have to deal with that, but guess what?!? Less than 5% of women contract this type of cervical cancer.  The odds are kind of against me.
Next thing, so I can get out of Debbie Downer mode.  I went to my pre-chemo dentist appointment this past Friday.  If you thought it was bad that I hadn’t been to a lady doctor visit in 3 years, you’ll love this one!  I haven’t been to the dentist in 16 years.  Yeah, I know. I’m a slacker.  The only reason I went this time was because my mother’s dentist suggested it, as his wife had cancer, and it helped alleviate a lot of her mouth issues.  So, as if I weren’t strange enough, with the diagnosis, and clear margins, etc.  16 years, and I had one line of decay on one tooth!  I have one broken tooth(not due to decay), and he noticed wear as a result of grinding my teeth at night…ya think?  So, good news from the dentist!  I will have my teeth cleaned on August 18th, so wish me luck.
 I think what has been the hardest on me lately is trying to keep everyone else’s spirits up.  It is very hard work to be optimistic all the time. I know I don’t have to, that’s just the way I’m built(as a friend so lovingly put it).  I try to be upbeat, and it is wearing me out.  There is nothing upbeat about this.  When I try to make jokes about it, I am usually met with 1 of 2 reactions. 1) Hysterical laughter(because they think I am crazy) 2) Crying(because they think I am crazy).  I am not crazy, nor am I going crazy.  I’m sleepy, angry, and humor is my defense mechanism.  Just want to reiterate that, because even those of you who know me well are having some difficulty dealing with my dark humor lately.  I am in no way trying to make you uncomfortable. On the contrary. I am trying to make myself more comfortable.
Speaking of comfort…I bought my first wig today.  I don’t know how it will feel when I don’t have hair, but it is pretty darn comfy right now.  It is blue with light blue streaks.  I was going to get a teal wig, because that is the awareness ribbon color, but decided to go a little darker. You know. Because of my skin tone.
Anyway, I suppose this is enough rambling for now.  I am tired, and I want to take a pain pill. Port o catheters hurt.  Please, please, please keep the prayers coming, because I am trying really hard to keep the faith.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:  for thou art with me; thy rod and they staff they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

Day 13: Your opinion about your body, and how comfortable you are with it

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I am overweight. I am in no way comfortable in my own skin. I don’t like being in public and thinking that I am being ridiculed.  On the other hand, my selfie game is strong.  I know which angles look best. I can photograph myself and paint a very flattering picture. This is with headshots and full body shots. I know there are some out there who will only post photos from the cleavage up, and they will crop the fuck out of the photo, as well.  Though I’m not a fan of cropping, I understand the impulse.  We all have that one thing that we think doesn’t look good.

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(strategic angles)

I’ve had two children via c-section and a hysterectomy. To say my pelvic muscles are wrecked is a bit of an understatement.  That’s not to say that there is nothing that can be done.  I can exercise and eat right, I just choose not to. That’s why I don’t complain about my weight. It’s nobody’s fault but my own.
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(angles, filters, and high heels)

My biggest problem, I think, is that I look for outside validation.  I was on Instagram, and the comments from men AND women absolutely made my day.  Unfortunately, I married a very jealous man, and my flirting was too much.  I can understand that, as well. I am not a jealous person, but I knew this about him 14 years ago, when we first started dating.  So, I voluntarily left the site in order to bring some peace to our household. Sadly, I am now getting into a rut, and feel like a blob.  I know what I HAVE to do, but the motivation to do it just isn’t there 😦
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(cropping out the gross parts)

More Cancerific Caringbridge Posts (original posts from 2011)

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My name is Shanna, and I am a carboholic!

The first step is to admit you have a problem, right?  I go in for my pet scan tomorrow, and I am on a no carb/no sugar diet until then.  No carbs?!? No sugar?!?  I really didn’t realize how addicted I was, until it was taken away.  How many times do I reach for potato chips when I want to snack?  How often do I grab a glass of tea when I’m thirsty?  Peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  Not today, sista!  It’s like Adkins on crack in this house!  On the bright side, I can have as much water as I want.

I’m worried about what they will find tomorrow, but I am so ready.  I am very thankful to those of you who have taken a moment to read my journals.  I am also very excited to know that my story has gotten the attention of several of my girlfriends who were putting off their check ups.  Keep the prayers coming, and I will keep my faith.
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62: 1-2)

Barium liquid…need I say more?

I had my first ever cat scan yesterday.  I was quite impressed with the tasty drink they gave me beforehand….that was sarcasm.  Two cups of “mocha” flavored barium liquid, yumm-o!  The tech did tell me that had I been scheduled for a cat scan only, it would have been worse.  They are allowed to water down the liquid for pet scans, so hey, bright side!

The cat scan wasn’t that bad.  If I were slightly more claustrophobic, I probably would have had issues, but I only had slight chest pressure going into my sarcophagus.

Afterwards, I was treated to a carb-filled lunch at Olive Garden.  My mom is THE BEST!  She also said that my children behaved themselves, which was a relief.  I can’t explain my children.  They mean the world to me, but they are an acquired taste to many of my friends.  My mother says I expect too much of them, but I just want them to be liked.  I have had too many friends who are a little annoyed by them, and it hurts me.  I completely understand, because there are some children that I can’t tolerate, but I try to not let it show.  Everyone has their own personality, and my kiddos definitely push the boundaries.
Ugh, I digress.  The oncologist’s office called me today, and informed me that they have received the images, and there is definite activity on the cervix, but there are also 2 enlarged lymph nodes in my pelvic area.  They cannot tell if they are due to metastasis, though.  Ever hopeful, I am trying to imagine them to be like my tonsils…extra large.  I will go to see Dr. Loar tomorrow, so we can figure out my “game plan”.
So far, I am looking at surgery and chemo with a possible radiation chaser.  Now that the waiting is basically over, I am freaking out a little more, but my mother and I have an ongoing wager.  Whoever breaks down the most during the week has to buy the other one Baskin Robbins ice cream.  I win this week!
Keep the prayers coming, and I’ll keep my faith(I think this will be my regular sign off).
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33  

Countdown to wellness!

Tomorrow is the big day!  I am on a liquid diet today, so that I can be prepared for my surgery tomorrow at 1:30.  I am having a radical hysterectomy(which I call a totally radical hysterectomy, in my best surfer tone).  My doctor has said that we should be able to do this laparoscopically, and I should be out the next day, so fingers crossed.

Today is gonna be a rough one….for one thing, I have to be on a liquid diet, and this girl likes to eat! The other thing is the medication that I will have to take to “cleanse” before surgery.  Ick, ew, gross!  I’ll spare you all the details.
I spoke to my children today, but I don’t think they really get it.  My son was a little concerned, but he saw something shiny and got distracted.  They know that mommy is sick, and she will be going to the hospital tomorrow, so the doctor can take the bad stuff out, but that’s about it. I told them they can ask me anything they want, and the main thing they wanted to know was if it was going to hurt me. I told them that I was going to be asleep, so I wouldn’t feel a thing, but I might hurt a little after, so they were going to have to be very careful with me.  Of course they promised to take really good care of me:)
I seem to be slightly more scared than I have been, but I guess that is to be expected.  This is all getting real for me now.  I am praying for an easy recovery, and that the hospital food won’t suck too bad.  Just kidding, I know that is more than anyone can hope for.
Keep the prayers coming, and I will keep my faith.
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. – Proverbs 29:25