A year ago tomorrow was the day of the first surgery, the laparoscopic surgery which showed that they needed to just stitch me back up, and have me start with chemo. I remember waking up after surgery and somehow being informed or checking myself out to see that the whole big surgery hadn’t been done, and that this was was both disappointing and scary, because that meant that the cancer was more spread than they wanted to try to cut out. I was checked out of the hospital the next day, and Grant and I went to stay at the hotel room we had reserved for Grant for the week of the presumed big surgery. And we spent that time together there, just processing and resting, and taking a break from everything. That was important and rich time together.
That surgery was just the start of the whole treatment process. Five chemo treatments and a major surgery. However, this was the surgery where they actually truly defined the diagnosis and the staging, so this was the realest deal to date. Additionally, they drained off the excess fluid which was causing bloating and discomfort, and so after this I felt much better. And had two little holes in my belly. I’ll say, belly hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!
Grant refers back to this surgery often, as Dr. G came rushing out of surgery to find him and let him know what was what. He showed him photos of how far it had spread. I still haven’t seen those photos and probably never will. Grant said something like, “So the prognosis is probably not good then.” Dr. G said, “Well, actually we have pretty good success treating these things.” That meant a lot to Grant, that he didn’t just go down the path of typical statistics, but was hopeful, and positive.
That being said, Dr. G wanted me to start with chemo the very next day, and we declined that, waited a couple more weeks, in order to take it all in, confer with other doctors, get multiple opinions, and really feel on top of the process ourselves. I am so glad we did.
And now, here I am today, a year later, in good form, NED for nearly seven months.
We saw Dr. Fields today for an integrative check up. As I’ve said before, Dr. Guntupalli, the gyn-onc, and his team are like really great firefighters. They are well trained in putting out the fire. They know how to put it out again should it reignite. But they’re not really in the business of preventing it from reigniting. That’s where integrative medicine comes in, with terrain or host care. So we proceed with nutritional evaluations, and other work that makes sure the body is in as good of shape as possible to be able to fend better for itself.
I explained to Dr. Fields about my bladder infection situation, and explained that my symptoms were not, and are not, completely in line with traditional UTI symptoms or interstitial cystitis symptoms. I don’t have the sense that as the bladder fills it gets uncomfortable. I don’t have urgency. What I have is as the bladder drains the last little bit of bladder contraction is uncomfortable. She said that it is possible that due to the cancer and/or the surgery that there might be a stricture there that is preventing full emptying, and therefore stagnation occurs which would predispose me to an infection. So she has ordered up an ultrasound, which I will hopefully have done before I see the gyn-urologists next week and that way we’ll have that much more to go on.
A year ago with Dr. Fields we were asking her opinion on all of this. Should we do surgery? Should we do chemo? Can we take care of this integratively? And her answer was, do the surgery, do the chemo, “download the load,” as she would say, and then we can take care of it from there.
We have come a long way since then, load is offloaded, terrain/host is supported, all is well.