The Big C

A journey through Stage Four Cancer

Great Update

I went to my oncologist on Halloween , to tell me the results of my latest CAT scan.  I call it the CAT scan from hell because I’ve developed an allergy to the contrast fluid and had diarrhea from shortly before the scan until about a week afterward. Not fun!

The good news is that my tumors have not increased in size or number.  I am scheduled for another CAT scan after all the holidays are over, sometime in January.  The bad news is that the Dr told me that more chemo is in my future.  With all the good news, I asked how needing chemo fit in?  I was surprised, and a bit take back.  The short answer is that the kind of tumors that I have won’t stay dormant, at some point they will start to grow again and I will need chemo to knock them down again.

I wanted to yell “No!”, but this is his profession, he’s seen this beast many times. He knows.  But I’m not laying down with a lily on my chest.  I am going to continue to start every day asking the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be my Patroness, to ask her son to please grant me either a remission or a cure.  I’m going to continue to take my vitamin D and my yucky mushroom supplements.  I’m going to try to keep a cheerful mood .  I am going to continue to refrain from alcohol because that is what the Dr’s have told me to do.

I am going to continue to take it day to day, and be grateful for the day that God has granted me.

The bills continue to be, spectacular.  Today I don’t feel guilty for living.  My family is grateful to have me.  I am continuing to write my book “The Development”, although inspiration hasn’t been as strong as it was previously, but maybe that is because I am now writing hoping for commercial success instead of just telling a good story.

I’ve also taken pictures of my daughters cats with pumpkins, Jack O’Lanterns and Christmas garland and then submitted them to SnapFish Stock Photos and had them accepted.  I’ve been told not to expect to make my fortune selling photos, but anything I do make will help pay the bills.

I still have the pain in my leg, the mystery pain because it isn’t from the tumors.  I’ve been trying to find a wheel chair from Craigslist, thrift shops, even pawn shops, to no avail.  Maybe people are selling wheel chairs instead of donating them in this economy?  My knight in shining armour has come through again, and ordered me a new one.  It should be here before Christmas, so soon I won’t be home bound anymore.  Even walking in my yard is too much for me now.

So, there is my mostly great, update!

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Cancer has

Cancer has

made me a different person, but if you didn’t like me pre-cancer, I doubt you’ll like me post cancer.

Cancer has

made me more patient with my loved ones and less patient with people who just want to stir up trouble

Cancer has

made me dead tired and yet I can’t stay in bed much later than 6:30 in the morning because I don’t want to waste a minute of my time with my children.

Therefore, cancer has

made me more annoying to my children, and yet they don’t mind helping me.

Cancer has

made me less independent and more dependent.  A hard pill for an adult American to swallow.

Cancer has

not made me more religious but made me a firmer believer.

Cancer has

not made me less of a sinner but more repentant

Cancer has

made me realize every cloud has a silver lining.  Even the cancer cloud.

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Life Extension and Somer’s “Knockout”

As I’ve mentioned before, I was hours from death when we found out that I had stage four colon cancer and that it had metastasized to my ovaries.  I was a critical case, and options weren’t many.  In fact, the only option was to wait for me to die.  Or so it seemed, except for my team of doctors for whom I’ll be eternally grateful.

I wish though, that right after my operation, I had been graced to read the book “Knockout” by Suzanne Somers.  There are things that I would have done differently if I had only had the information in this book.

Some say that supplements and vitamins are little more than sugar pills, but what if they are not?  As I read through more and more things about the progression of Stage Four Colon Cancer, I’m realizing that it is following faithfully in the footsteps of Stage Four Colon Cancer before it.

First, you have the tumor and it metastasis, ie, the cancer escapes from the colon and goes to other areas, my ovaries.  The cancer is removed, but some cells do escape and reappear at a later date in the abdomen or liver.  That cancer is put under control, remission, and reappears in the brain, liver or bone.  Then you die.  Thus the short 5 year survival rate.

So I’m depending on prayer and also I’m going to start the supplements, and hope that it’s not too late.

There is soo much in “Knockout” and my mind is still spinning, so I’m not going to try to relate any of  it.  However, I am starting to take cimetidine (found in Tagament B and as a generic product in WalMart and Walgreens just to name two stores), citrus pectin and PSK  to build up my NK cells.  This will not interfere with my chemo at all, and might actually help it to be more effective.  Life Extension.com works hand in glove with KNOCKOUT.

Even if you don’t have cancer, I really hope that you will read this book and start taking supplements to avoid ever getting cancer in the first place.

In other news, my book “The Development” is coming right along at over 20,000 words now.  If you would like to read a snippet, it’s at Marynate.blogspot.com  Please let me know if you like it.  My hope is to make it into an actual book to help pay my medical expenses.

* Please remember, I’m not a doctor just a person with terminal cancer.  Please don’t take any of this as medical advice and consult with your doctor before starting to do anything.

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Broadsided

So, I’m blogging a lot today, huh? 🙂

That’s because I procrastinated on blogging about my dreams that were getting me down, and then I Got The Call.

Back to the dreams.  They really had me feeling down.  Then two of my sons talked to me at different times, because I had told them about my dreams.

The dreams affected them also.  The dreams depressed them.  I find that really astounding because these were only dreams!  Something to hear, roll your eyes about, discount as a dream, and forget.

The first son is my youngest son, and he had just finished reading a book by Father Amorth who is the head excorcist at the Vatican called “An Excorcist Tells His Story.”  The contents of the book are still fresh in his mind, and on his mind, if you know what I mean?

He asks me if the dream makes me feel depressed? Sad?

He is sure the dreams are diabolical (from the devils influence), reminds me that the devil is also referred to as “the father of lies” and to totally dismiss the dreams for the poison they are.

And before the doctor called to tell me that the cancer was back and that I must come into his office, I begin to be able to follow his advice.

They were weird dreams, but dreams all the same.

The afternoon that the doctor called, the memory of the dreams come back to me full force.  I can’t keep the tears from my eyes and the second son reassures me that I will be fine.  This time, they are catching the cancer early.

But I have trouble accepting his reassuarnces, and I tell him for the first time about the second dream – the one with satan and the calendar.

Now he is upset too.  We make a fine pair.

Eventually he leaves the room.  For the sake of the rest of the people with me, I try my best to turn off the tears and concentrate on the television, although I have no idea what program we were watching.

He comes back into the room a little later.  There is confidence in him as he sits down next to me and takes my hand.

If the dream is from satan, which I am sure it was, then he is not to be believed, because he is the father of lies.  More than that, why would he know what the date of my death would be?  he has no idea if God has a cure or a remission in His plans for me.  Surely, God doesn’t share his plans with his arch-nemesis?

So then why the dream, when he must have known as a Catholic I would not look for or accept his fortune telling?  But I did, for some amount of time.  And I allowed it to depress me.

Yes, I allowed the dream influeneced by someone who despises me to depress me.

Worse, now that the cancer has returned, I have allowed the dream to depress me and without my son’s intellect, I could have been too depressed to fight through this next occurence.

Not now.  Oh no, not now.

I am assembling my arsenol.  My doctor, who is brilliant, is making the battle plan to fight the enemy in my physical body.

My Catholic Faith is assembling the weapons to fight any infilltration into my soul.

The Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary will be my refuge and strength.

The rosary will be my weapon.

And I won’t fear the enemy that can take my body, but only the one who can steal my soul. Matt10:28

Yet, after finding out that I had cancer again, I found myself playing the blame game, even though it wasn’t for very long and even though I knew better.  What did I do, not do, eat or not eat that made the cancer come back?

My pragmatic husband said “How do we know that the cancer hasn’t been there the whole time?  That when the tumor was removed last January (yes, almost exactly a year ago), that a few cells didn’t break away and now they are see-able on the CAT scan?”

Which gives me the small hope that may-be this time, after chemo kills the cancer, there won’t be any more cells to break away and come back again.

And I guess I should end this too, too long blog while my dear readers are at least slightly awake.

 

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Sunshine and Lollipops

I’ve been debating with myself on what kind of posts do I want to do.  The whole purpose I began to write this blog, was so that other people diagnosed with stage four cancer might find a place of hope on the internet, in between all the depressing statistics that are stage four cancer.

I don’t want my blog to be depressing, but on the other hand, I don’t want my blog to be so sunshine and gumdrops happy, that it is really out of touch, and useless to people who aren’t feeling optimistic.

Because the truth of the matter is, stage four cancer is a monster.  It is a psychopathic stalker that you always have to keep your eyes open to.

What to do? What to do?

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Monday at too early o’clock was my CAT scan.  It’s been about 3 months since my last scan and something has changed in CAT scan in that short time.  The awful, chalky, glug-gy, retch inducing fluid has been changed.  Now the fluid is clear, like water, and tastes like fake, flavored water.  It was a lot easier to drink and one of the dreads of getting a CAT scan is gone.

You still have to drink 32 ounces of it in an hour, which is not easy for me, but in the world of medical procedures, is really a non-issue.

And the person who started my IV reminded me of my daughter-in-law-to-be; full of life, considerate, kind and caring.  The insertion had a minimum of the ouch factor.

It was such an easy scan, it’s hard to remember that it’s done for a serious reason.

I can almost forget that I have to continue looking over my shoulder for the shadow of the stalker.

God is good.  Merry Christmas!

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Refining Silver

A friend just e-mailed me this.  I found that I could identify this so much with having cancer.  I hope that you enjoy:

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, ‘How do you know  when the silver is fully refined?’
 
He smiled at her and answered, ‘ Oh, that’s easy — when I see my image in it.’  
 
This is so much like having cancer.  We are the silver that is being refined.  God is the refiner.  While we are in the hotest part of the fire, God is holding us up, supporting us.  He is sitting right in front of us, watching us, never leaving our side.
And when He can see His image in us, He removes us from the fire.  He doesn’t allow us to stay in the fire one second longer than is needed.
I pray, that when I am once again in that fire, I never once forget that God is there, never leaving my side, watching me.
I hope you have found a blessing in this post.
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Thank-you!

I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments, good wishes, prayers and support!

Believe it or not, I haven’t figured out how to reply to my comments, without having to post and then approve my own comments.  I know that can’t be right? Can it?

Thank-you again everyone!

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Feeling shaky, or Why I Began to Write This Blog

I tried to find this blog on the web, but I couldn’t find it because I had put stage four first, instead of cancer.  What I did find was a plethora of entries about stage four cancer;  how long can you expect to live after a diagnosis?

Then it came back to me, the hoplessness, the feeling as though there is no escape, the finality of the “sentence” of stage four cancer, that happened to me when I first looked my diagnosis up on the web.  Learning that you have stage four cancer is more than a diagnosis, it is a sentence.

A death sentence.  If this was a play, the stage directions would indicate a mournful sound, and the stage going black.  And then blacker.

I can’t argue, finding out that you have stage four cancer is a death sentence.  But guess what?  Being born is a death sentence too!  Yes, from the moment that you are born, it’s a count down to the day that you will die.  The only difference is usually on the day of birth, the lifespan of the infant seems to stretch on and on through the decades.  On the other hand, being diagnosed with stage four cancer seems to contract the years in a few years, months, even weeks.

To put it into perspective, as my cousin Tara pointed out, tomorrow morning you might step out of your house and get hit by a car.  In that case, it didn’t matter if you were 100% healthy or if you had stage four cancer.

My diagnosis was over a year ago.  I’ve had chemo three different times, and radiation once.  My fingers and toes tingle as a result of it, but otherwise with a few restrictions, I feel fine.

The statistics say that I have roughly three and a half years left.  I feel good.  My doctor reports seem to find that I am healthy.  I remind myself that it is the exception that makes the rule.

So, if you are feeling depressed because of all the non- encouraging facts that turn up when looking up about stage four cancer, feel heartened.  Yes, take care of yourself and don’t “do” to excess.  Get sufficient sleep, rest throughout the day.  Enjoy time in the sun.  Enjoy doing things with your family, your friends and your church.  Don’t let the specter of mortality hover over you. LIVE!!!!!

And be careful when leaving your house in the morning and crossing the street!

Want to read more of my writings?  Marynate.blogspot.com

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