FYI – I have lots to share and open up with you all! So – bare with me because my mind is a little all over the place.
To think your life can change in a blink of an eye is surreal. It can change when you least expect it. This most resent surgery I just had, I did not really know what I would be waking up to. My surgeons and oncologist did not really know either. There was a lot of unknowns, but I knew regardless I was going to have a hysterectomy no matter what and hopefully kill whatever remaining cancer was living inside of me. Everything else was up in the air until I was placed on that table and cut open.
A lot of processing has been going on in my brain of mine. Mostly, I have been thinking about what all has happened in my life within the last month and even within the last 2 years. Let me just say, I have been through A LOT. Mentally, I have been through so much in my life and especially during this cancer life of mine.
As I reflecting over the last 2 years of my life, it is overwhelming to say the least. I have gone through so much trail and error with saving my life along with lots of ups and a lot of downs. It is hard to wrap my head around it all sometimes. Being told my appendix needed to come out ASAP in August of 2017 to hearing my appendix was fine to hearing I have cancer instead at age 26 blew my mind. Blew everyone’s mind. I didn’t really know what to think, but I knew I needed to fight to live and fight like my mom did when she battled ovarian cancer several years ago. My life sure has changed in the last 2 years – extreme changes to my body, changes mentally and physically, and changes in relationships with certain individuals who have come and gone in my life. That is what the cancer life is about – so many changes can happen with so many different things. You find out who your true cheerleaders are and who really stick by you through everything because it is not just about appointments and treatments, it is also about the mental side of it, living life to the fullest, and enjoying the good times you have. I have really learned you are your most important person in your life. Take care of yourself and do what is best for you and only you. I have truly learned who I am as an individual and what I am capable of, which is so much! And it is okay to really put yourself first. Testing your limits, but not pushing it too much is important because even with cancer, you still should live life. Know your body and know you cannot do everything and that is okay because eventually you will. The cancer life is hell though and can be such a rollercoaster and such an unknown. You can never get too comfortable in this life. A lot has changed for me. I have learned so much about myself and cancer has truly helped me find my voice. It has helped me realize what all I am capable of and how I want my life to be. Many feeling run through my head as I think about how big cancer was and still is a HUGE part of my life. The last 2 years I have been “the cancer patient” and some of it seems to be such a blur, but some of it I think to myself WTF did I go through the last couple of years. When going through treatment, you are so preoccupied with your medications, appointments, treatments, diet, etc that you don’t have time to mentally internalize and process anything else. That is your life. I am beyond proud of how far I have come and excited to see where this “new life” will take me. I would be lying to you all if I said, I wasn’t nervous or scared of what there is to come for me – I am excited though, but I am freaking out!
What did all happen in my life the last 2 years? Well, I have been battling Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer. Way too many different chemo treatments along with immunotherapy along with so many CT scans along with so many blood draws and a couple big surgeries in between. This cancer life sure flipped my world. However, I wasn’t just dealing with being diagnosed with cancer and fighting for my life, I was also grieving a huge loss as well. A few weeks after being diagnosed and having my first big surgery, my dad passed unexpectedly and that was difficult in itself. My dad was my buddy and my rock. I was thrown the cancer card and was also grieving the loss of my dad who passed way too soon. Although, I know my dad has been by my side this who time. I mean my huge surgery I just had happened on the day my dad passed 2 years ago. Crazy how things all work out in the end!
I am overwhelmed with so much to be grateful for. The team of cheerleaders I have in my life help keep me going and I cannot thank them enough. Specially, my wonderful team at Evergreen, my amazing oncologist, and my amazing surgeons – they are all amazing and helped save my life. My body and mind not only has gone through so much the last 2 years battle Stage 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer, but this last month was sure a whirlwind of emotions and craziness. A rollercoaster of a lot of downs in the beginning when I got released from the hospital. Weeks of not able to keep anything down not even fluids were sticking. Constant vomiting was happening. Major weight loss. A couple ER visits with results coming back normal, but no answers as to why I cannot keep things down. One of my surgeon’s said, “This is very unusual and out of the norm”. That was reassuring, but story of my life. I was so dehydrated and malnourished that something needed to change. I contacted my oncologist because I wasn’t improving and he immediately got me on daily fluids. So – since Wednesday September 25th, I have been going in for 2 hours to get fluids/potassium and will continue to do that until the 14th of October. It has helped so much and as of last Thursday, I have been able to eat and keep it done. Gosh it feels so good to EAT and not vomit.
I was so weak and completely not myself. Getting up out of bed was difficult and having conversations with people was exhausting. I ignored a lot of phone calls and text messages. I did not have the energy to explain or just talk. On top of that, surgically induced menopause at age 29 is difficult and I am keeping my true feelings PG-13 because it SUCKS and I know I have a lot to go through during this time of adjusting. It is hard. I have already had moments of feeling really down and depressed that I went through the hysterectomy portion of the surgery, but I know it was the right thing to do. My oncologist, surgeons, and cheerleaders have reassured me it was the right decision. The crazy hormone changes suck though. Between you and I, it has been hard to wrap my head around it all. It is a huge change to go through and a huge adjustment. But, I know by doing that, I have prolonged my life. The other side of the surgery which included the HIPEC did NOT happen. It was not needed!!! That was so exciting hear, but shocking! Every piece my surgeon removed to test or send off for biopsy came back either benign or endometriosis. The endometriosis shocked us all because we didn’t know that was what was in me. We thought it was just built up tissue, but it wasn’t. They removed all the endometriosis along with getting the whole hysterectomy done. The best part, there was no cancer to remove! Shocked us all. Shocked my team. But, thank you God!
THE CRAZY AND EXCITING PART OF THIS ALL – I never thought I would hear the words in my cancer journey, NED (no evidence of disease) because of the type of cancer I have. Prior to starting immunotherapy, there was a lot of worry going on as to what could happen to me. My oncologist was concerned. But, seeing my oncologist last Friday, he told me I am not go back on any treatment plan and I am considered NED. WHAT? Big smiles on our faces for sure that day. On mine for sure! I am thrilled and filled with so much joy, but I also do not know how to really react or what to really think. For the last 2 years of my life all I have been focusing on is saving my life and being a cancer patient. Countless doctors appointments, infusions, surgeries, medications, blood draws, shitty side effects…the list is endless when you are considered a cancer patient. I have been doing all I can to stay alive and hopefully kill this cancer. NOW I AM NED! My journey is far from being over. Endless check-ups will continue for me every 3 months to make sure this nasty disease doesn’t return, but in all honesty – it very well could. I am just throwing that out there. Cancer is a nasty thing, but right now I am flourishing. Just not exactly sure how that will play out quite yet. We will see and I am looking forward to what this “new life” will be about.
I do what to be clear up for those who may not know the cancer lingo, I am not in the “clear” yet, meaning I am not considered in remission or cured from cancer. I am considered NED which is so freaken fantastic! I will take this news any day. I am shocked…my care team is shocked this is the outcome. I never thought I would hear those words EVER from my oncologist. BUT I DID! My oncologist’s exact words were, “You are an anomaly”. I like to be different anyways so what’s new! 😉
I have a lot to wrap my head around and a lot to thinking about what is next for me other than my check-ups every 3 months which will happen for several years, but I am going to continue to get stronger, gain some weight from surgery, eat whatever I am craving right now, keep enjoying life, and most of all celebrate big for being NED after battle State 4 Metastatic Colon Cancer for the last 2 years. This is pretty damn cool!
This blog is not over for me. I will continue to take you on this crazy ride with me and I thank you all for supporting me and taking time to read my blog. It has been so good for me to get my thoughts out there for you all to read and I hope I have helped some a long the way.
Now, it is time for me to celebrate BIG because I am kicking cancers ass! It also feels pretty damn good to know I am NED. Still in shock though!