There are other cancers besides boob cancer….(original posts from 2011)

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“How, Chemo-sabe”

How, indeed!  I did very well for this being my first day of chemotherapy.  I don’t feel nauseous, just tired, but that could be the Ativan they give during fluids 😉  I was able to see my very good looking doctor beforehand, so yay me!  I was also able to make him jealous, because I told him about my dentist appointment.  I don’t think I have ever made a doctor cuss, so this was a first, as well.  I was totally prepared(well, almost).  I had my phone, my iPod, my laptop, and a word puzzle book….7 hours, man!  The only thing that I should have taken, was a sandwich.  Though they are kind enough to supply snacks, and drinks, the snacks consisted of peanut butter, cheese, or plain crackers.  I had two packs.

Let me just say, I understand that we must face trials during out lifetime, and we are rarely prepared. Do they have to be one on top of the other?  Waking up this morning to an 84 degree house was not fun.  Yes, my dear readers…our a/c went out!  My father went to check it out, and has a friend coming sometime tomorrow, but then it is a matter of getting it fixed. Praying that it only needs to be recharged.
Keep praying for me, and I promise to keep the faith.
Shanna
But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.  Psalm 5:11

Guilt should be a 4 letter word!

I finished my first cycle of chemotherapy last week, and I feel great!  Yes, this is what the title is all about.  I feel great, and so many people just don’t after chemo.  This is not to say that I will feel this way the next time, or even the time after that, but let me take you through this short journey, please?

First, I’d like to say, that no matter what you may think of me or my diagnosis, I have only been scared once or twice during this time.  It has never been a fear of dying, or pain…just the unknown.  Normal, right?  Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret….I hate surprises!  No joke. Ask my husband. I badger him for weeks before my birthday and Christmas, because I want to KNOW what I will be getting. People pleaser that I am, I want to be able to school my features, just in case.
I went in on Tuesday for the first round in my first cycle of chemo.  I felt pretty prepared.  I had my laptop, my iPod, a puzzle book, and my phone. Ya know, just in case I got bored.  My chemotherapy regimen is Cisplatin and Etoposide(vp16). These are the chemo drugs that are used for the hard hitting cancers, ie. lung, testicular, stomach, ovarian….you get the picture.  All cancer’s are hard hitting, but just like a snowflake, no two are created the same. Some are more aggressive, some move faster than others. Nobody knows how they are going to react, and nobody knows what will alleviate the reaction.  I have said it time and time, again, this cancer is a crap shoot, and I’ve never gotten the hang of that game of chance.  So, I get to the doctor’s office…on time…believe me, that is a big deal.  I go in for the exam(that nobody told me would occur), and everything checks out.  Next stop, blood draw.  I’m going to stop right here.  If anyone is going through chemo, or may need to go through something with infusions/blood draws, I highly recommend getting a port!  Any doctor who doesn’t try to get their patient one is a sadistic…well, you know.  O.K. – blood draw.  My blood cells come back at a normal count, so we are good to go.  First, because of the toxicity of the chemo, I need fluids to prevent kidney failure.  This takes about an hour.  As they are giving me the regular fluids, it is infused with a very potent cocktail of Patron, vodka, gin, and a splash of lime, but more than likely, it is Ativan and promethazine.  These are to relax me, and keep me from becoming nauseated.  As this is the complete opposite effect that Patron has on me, I’ll stick with this mixture.  I have roughly 5 milliseconds before this kicks in, so I decide to try my hand at some brain teasers.  Next.  Let me try the laptop.  Nope.  Solitaire?  Huh!  All of these things I have brought with me, hold no interest.  Guess I’ll take a nap.  2 hours later, and I am awakened by the beep of the infusion machine.  Time for a potty break.  Hook me back up, Jim!  I’m ready to get this over with.  What’s that you say?  I have 4 more hours?!?  Oh joy!  Long story, still kinda long, I finish my first day with minimal fuss.
2nd day is much the same, with the exception of time.  My 2nd and 3rd day are comprised only of the Etoposide.  This only takes an hour and a half, at most.  The funny thing is, they dose me with the same amount of relaxant.  Needless to say, I am useless when I get home.  I have a 7 and a 4 year old, they need me, and I am asleep all day!  I go back for my 3rd infusion, and I have a bargain that I would like them to meet.  If they half the dose, I promise I won’t get sick!  Lucky day, they decide that since I am doing so well, we can forgo it altogether!  Thursday was a good day.  I finished in record time(at least in my mind), and went home to take a small nap to prepare myself for Friday. Bum bum buuuum.
Friday was a fun day.  I got to go to the doctor, again!  He and I had discussed what sort of actions could be taken to help boost my white blood cells during the short intermission between cycles.  His suggestion – a shot of Neulasta.  Can I get that straight up, please?  Needless to say, it worked wonders on my energy levels.  Friday evening, my uncle and aunt came into town, just in case I needed help this week.  I was very happy to inform them that I would not need their services, though I appreciate the offer very much(there goes that independence, again!)  In my chemo induced brain fog, I forgot that they were coming in, and also invited some friends to stay with us from out of town.  Luckily, we have plenty of room, and very understanding guests.  I felt well enough to clean the bathrooms and wash some clothes!! This is a really big deal, as I have not felt like cleaning in about 6 months.  I do it, don’t get me wrong, but I actually FELT like doing it.
The only other side effect that I assume is from chemo, is heartburn.  I had it horribly on the second day, but the third day, I took Prilosec, and it seemed to get rid of it.  The nurse informed me that with women, whatever you suffered from during pregnancy will probably be what you suffer from during chemo.  Thankfully, I did not have morning sickness with either child, but I had raging heartburn!! I think I can live with that.
I won’t bore you with the details of my awesome weekend. I did that enough with the details of my chemo.  Suffice it to say, I feel major guilt for feeling so great.  I’ll get over it, don’t you worry, but at this point in time, I just wish that I could will my well being onto others that are not so lucky.  My body is an enigma.  My doctor accused me of having super hero blood, due to the healing process of my incisions.  There is a higher power helping me, I can assure you.  I have never stopped praying, as I am sure most of you are doing, as well.  My wellness is nothing short of a miracle.  I am not healed, but am healing.  I can literally feel it.  Keep the prayers coming, because I am definitely keeping my faith.
 (Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV) Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.
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I hate…

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Everyone and everything, equally.  Feminist? Hate that you are so caustic. Misogynist? Hate that you are a douche. English major? Hate that you feel the need to correct grammar/spelling/content. Ignorant? LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR AND YOU’RE!!!

Going through my feed lately has been a real downer.  If I’m not cringing at the blatant disregard for the English language, I’m shaking my head at the abuse being slung. So, you don’t think I should dress like a slut for Halloween? Maybe I like dressing like a slut, and Halloween is the only time it won’t embarrass my children. A woman who said she was a feminist hurt your feelings? Fucking grow a pair! Jesus! You would think that you were the one with the bleeding vagina! Sometimes….just sometimes….sex is just sex. Casual or not. Just because you went through something horrible, that’s no reason to malign others who are perfectly capable of separating emotions from a sexual encounter. It can happen. I promise.

The highlight of the weekend had to be this enlightening post by my new favorite blogger Ann St. Vincent….(please don’t click if you are a prude or a curmudgeon).

I get it. We are all entitled to opinions. Hell, that’s what this whole post is. One. Giant. Bummer. Of. An. Opinion. I do have an excuse, of sorts. I’m clinically depressed. I’ve been diagnosed, but refuse medication, because I hate feeling like an uncreative zombie.

This is the main reason I miss social media. I knew my audience, and only followed like minded individuals. Blogging is so much more different. I have no idea how to go about finding the blogs that I would appreciate, because “tagging” is really skewed. I could search humor, but what I find funny is definitely may not be what others find funny. I just want a place I can escape to when my mind is turning dark and dismal. I want to be able to “like” more than just a couple of the posts from the 100+ people whom I am following. I want to be able to read a post, and not have to wonder if I should comment, because it will probably come out full of snark and ridicule due to all of the grammatical errors.

I enjoy interaction. I enjoy a good debate. I love glimpses into other’s lives, because it takes bravery to open yourself up that way to complete strangers. Narcissistic? Of course it is! If you say that you are writing a blog for purely altruistic reasons, I will stalk you, travel to your hometown, and call you a liar to your face! Nobody goes onto a public site, spews word vomit all over the place, and hopes that nobody reads it! We’re all here to be seen, so get off your fucking soapbox, and write something to entertain me 🙂

On that note, I’ll just leave this right here:

My baby

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My baby is 12 years old, and I’m always scared that when we are out together people are judging her. She’s not as beautiful as she once was, and quite frankly, I’m scared when we go to her annual appointments, they’ll tell me it’s time to let her go.

She definitely could use a facelift, and some extra makeup wouldn’t hurt, but she’s mine, and I love her. I would trade her in for something small, sleek, and black, but I don’t think I could afford it at the moment.

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Day 21: What you hope your future will be like…

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I have to admit, I didn’t want to write this prompt, because it actually said, “How you hope your future will be like” and it made me cringe.

I hope that my future is full of the right choices. I hope my future is long and steady. I hope my future is made of righteous decisions. I hope I’m able to help plan my daughter’s wedding, and dislike my daughter in law because she’s not good enough for my son.

None of us are promised tomorrow, so I hope that my future is devoid of regret. I hope that I can show my children how much I love them, and that they’ll understand that everything I’ve done had been in their best interest.

I hope that I have a long, meaningful future.

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

Cheese and Rice

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753623902952564196_612303784I’m still trying to figure out how personal I want to make this blog. On the one hand, I’m sure that I have some very relatable experiences, but on the other I don’t want to bore anyone with the mundane details of my life.

 

So, for now, I’d like to say that this is me. At my worst. At my fattest. At my neediest. Love me or hate me, I am a great big weird mess.