Update

Cosy Cottage

We are home now. Home sweet home. Thanks to Larry and Christy for personning the fort and taking care of the animals. Thanks to Soa for housecleaning. Nice to come home to all things taken care of.

As stated before, the gyncological oncology (gyn-onc) team declined to do the full surgery based on the laparoscopic exploration which showed that the cancerous cells have spread beyond that which they were confident they could remove surgically. So I have two small incisions, have been relieved of 4 L of fluid aka ascites (feel much better), have soreness, have post-surgery edema (more fluid in weirder places), and post-anesthesia dizziness periodically.

We visited with the anthroposophic doctor in Denver while we were down there. Anthroposophic medicine recommends adding mistletoe treatment, so that is on order.

Today I had an additional Myers nutritional intravenous treatment at the primary care physician’s (pcp) office.

The gyn-onc had recommended starting chemo Wednesday, but we declined, with the understanding that that would/could be done in Fort Collins. Luckily, both the gyn-onc and the pcp like working with a particular oncologist up here.

However, that doctor is out of the country, and both pcp and gyn-onc don’t want me to wait to start until she gets back, so we’ll be going back down to gyn-onc for first chemo session mid next week. Sobering. The point is to reduce it all enough to make it more surgically removable. Gyn-onc thinks it is stage 3c.

I also had a good session with an IFS therapist who is attached to my pcp’s office. We did some good work about what my body is trying to tell me through this. I think I’ll keep that to myself for now. In any case, emotions have been released and aired. I will continue in this good work.

I have additional bodily fluid testing to be done for the pcp for her to create a plan to support my body while it is going through chemo. I will be at her office again Monday and Wednesday.

Sooo…. Chemo…. Will probably cut off my hair before that starts. Maybe they can make me a wig out of my own hair. That may be asking too much too soon. My hair has mostly been long, and varying shades of blond, and to some degree sometimes, has felt like it has not been entirely mine. People are attached to it. Well, get ready to unattach. I am. It is simply the hair that grows on this head of this body that I’ve been inhabiting in this life so far. It might be quite liberating to be free of it. It might also be quite a shock to be without it.

I have recruited my dear friend and fashionista Lizzie to make me some moo-moos and matching headdresses, as my belly just really does not want any kind of waistband around it. And shortly my head will be, um, shall we say, needing decor.

My beloved Grant found an interesting TEDTalk about eating to starve cancer. In the process of watching that, and reading a little bit more about angiogenesis inhibitors, which cut off the blood supply to cancers, I discovered that there are some products which are available for ovarian cancer, which are not available in the U.S., but are available in Europe. So I am more than halfway tempted to get myself over there, visit family and friends, and do that kind of treatment there. However, the speed with which plans are moving here, make me wonder how well I would be able to withstand international air travel after the start of chemo. Both pcp and gyn-onc have some serious urgency about getting me started, presumably to prevent it moving on to stage four.

Also, we are waiting to get results of blood tests which will show if I have the BRCA gene(s) which make one more predisposed to female cancers. If so, chemo will actually work better, so I guess in this case I’m voting, “Go BRCA!” ??!!

Now that we are home, I have to protect my front middle with a pillow at all times as certain fur-people really love walking on me, or jumping on me, or cuddling with me, and I cannot have that. CANNOT. The pillow is my coat of armor.

Sorry if this is disjointed. I am feeling disjointed. As Grant says, surreal. It is all a bit surreal. And yet, one foot in front of the other, is all we can do.

I am so grateful to be able to say “we” because my dear Grant is with me in this, and so we are “we.” Many of you have expressed your gratitude to him for being with me in this as well. “We are so glad you have Grant!” He is caring, and dogged, and has good intuition about things. And in the best Jesus-ian tradition, has been washing my feet, because I can’t bend myself to reach them.

We enjoyed our extra few days of motel time to recuperate, sleep well, eat well, check in and check out. Glad we did that. Cannot imagine if I had just been released from the hospital today with a 12″ incision and then driving straight home. First of all the drive would have been hard, and culture shock/reentry would have been hard. That was a barrier and a resting place and I would highly recommend it to anyone else in a similar situation. Thanks to Mel for the friends and family discount.

We are trying not to use the “c” word, as much as possible. We don’t want to give it any more power. We don’t want to glorify it. We don’t want to have my identity tied to it or built up around it. It is a “life situation” as Eckart Tolle would say. All life situations are inherently temporary. It is simply cells that have gone awry a bit, have expanded a bit beyond where they ought to be, cells which have lost their correct programming. I don’t want the fear or terror associated with the “c” word. I don’t want that for myself, and I don’t want that for my family and friends. We are also not using the “f” word (fight), as the state of fight, flight, or freeze is probably half of what got me into this mess. The body doesn’t operate healthfully when always in adrenalized, cortisolized fight mode. The body is healing in rest and digest mode. So no “f”-in’ “c” for me. Instead: resting, digesting, and healing my body. Rest. Digest. Heal.

We are so very grateful for all the support all of you have shown us in many ways.  As Grant says, there have been many silver linings which have shown up in this process.  Community connection is one of those for us.  Thank you.

6 thoughts on “Update

  1. Elaine (mamacita) April 7, 2018 — 3:15 am

    Your beautiful letter was so uplifting,so glad you have so many wonderful friends and support. So glad you have grant,he is the best and yes so caring. Sending you all our best and love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Elaine!

      Like

  2. You are an amazing woman Andrea! Thank you for sharing this journey, keeping you in my thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nat! Since I know two Nats, can you please enlighten me as to which you are? 😉

      Like

  3. Michele Throne April 8, 2018 — 1:35 pm

    Really love your entries Andrea. I really appreciate you sharing your journey through this… perhaps we can all learn from you! I can’t help but think of Frida Khalo with the pillow on top of you and the animals all around … and Grant cleaning your feet. I can see the painting :).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Read your blog, checking in to see how you’re doing. You write well! Thanks for keeping us posted. I will be looking in on your blog, and of course in our prayers. Mark

    Liked by 1 person

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