Letter-c Day 32

In case you’re new to my blog and wondering why I name my posts the letter-c. with the day.  I’ll save you time scrolling back thru my posts. I have malignant cancer cells in my bile duct. On May 14th, a biopsy was done when they removed the stent that had been placed in the bile duct to allow it to heal on March 8th after being aggravated by gall stones that had escaped when they removed my gall bladder back on January 8th. Yes, we’re talking about a six month time frame. I’ve had multiple blood screenings which thus far haven’t shown the protons that pancreatic cancer emits. The blood screens are helping the doctors monitor my liver numbers since haven’t gone back down to the norm. Which is also another warning that things are not right.

Today, I met with my doctor. The poor man had no idea how stubborn and determined I am to be active in every part of the decision of my treatment. A month ago, he indicated that his patients trust him. He scheduled an MRI and blood work before having me come in to discuss what he thought was best. I took the time today to explain where I come from. I told him all about my family history, yes there’s a lot of cancer. It’s not a question of trust. It’s because I made the mistake with my first and second rounds of cancer to not ask enough questions or to push for my care.

My first abnormal pap smear happened when I was 22. They did pap smears every three months. Every one was abnormal but they took a wait and see approach. I became pregnant with youngest daughter and then thr doctor said I couldn’t carry my baby to term because it was too risky. He recommended an abortion. Wrong! I changed doctors and carried my daughter full term. Then I had a radical hysterectomy followed by chemo. I was 24 years old and naive.

When I was 44, I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Once again, the doctor took a wait and see approach. That also didn’t work out well and I had to have surgery followed by radiation. Bonus gift from the radiation, I ended up with breast cancer. Doctor didn’t tell me how high the risks were because he felt it was the best choice. I wish I had known all the risks and been included in the decision but I wasn’t given that option.

I had two different doctors this time, a wonderful surgeon (woman) who talked openly with me about the risks of leaving my breast in tact and doing the lumpectomy. The other doctor (man) was pushing strongly for me to have both of my breasts removed because of my family history and the fact that I have the BRCA1 genetic factor. I was divorced, in the early stages of a new relationship getting cut up wasn’t something I wanted. I knew the risks but I also remembered how devastated my grandmother was after losing her breasts. It wasn’t easy for her. I was lucky the surgeon did an amazing job, all I have is a minimal scar. The chemo stole my hair, and I was sick for a long time. I was lucky. So damn lucky. That was fifteen years ago.

I learned a lot with each experience but the most valuable lesson was to be my best advocate. Good decisions are based on having all the facts regardless. I’m 64 years old and this is my fourth cancer diagnosis. My doctor listened today, made a phone call to an oncologist that specializes in gastric cancers. The oncologist added his thoughts to conversation. Gastric cancers are typically bile, pancreas,liver, small or large intestine and stomach. I go July 7th to meet the oncologist in person. During the conference call, we decided to do another blood screening because my liver numbers are important indicators. I have to schedule that yet.  On August 11th, I have an upper gi screening, colonoscopy and the endoscopic ultra sound. Three important tests to make sure all the bases are covered.

I came home today feeling less stressed because they listened, really listened. I don’t feel as afraid as I did. It’s a good thing because putting on a happy face is exhausting.

It was very warm today at 91 degrees.. Early this morning I watered my herbs and
veggies in the rail planters but this evening when I went to water the lower patio garden
I checked. They were bone dry. I watered the upper garden and lower garden. The
weather report indicates were in for very warm days for the next fifteen days here in Jersey.
I love the seasons but I wish summer hadn’t rushed the heat. I expect July and August too be hot but not June.  It was 97 degrees in Caribou Maine. That’s crazy. The last time that happened was in 1977 and before that was 1944. I hope the high temperatures aren’t going to be like this all summer.

In 1983, was the first time I heard this song by Eurythmics. The lyrics could’ve been written for me. I was looking for something, and it seemed like every direction something happened. I never found that something but I knew I couldn’t stop because I was so very unhappy in my marriage. My children were my world and I buried myself in them and stopped looking until they were adults. In 2003, I filed for divorce.The world was mine and I knew what sweet dreams really were. Being single was mighty fine and nothing to be afraid of at forty-seven.

“Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused
Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I traveled the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something”~ Eurythmics
It’s been 34 days since I’ve slept peacefully, tonight is looking good.  Even the strongest women get tired at times. ❤

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