I am officially Cancer Girl New Mexico

As I was recovering from my hip replacement, my RA doc thought it might be time to try the biologic Actemra. It worked for me before hip issue. It was time to do it again. But, she said, first we needed to check out the change in my uterus that was noted on my hip MRI.

She ordered an ultrasound of my uterus that included a vaginal probe (didn’t know they could do it.) Actually, she handed me the probe and told me to put it in. I did it.

Results showed a thickened uterus consistent with tamoxifen use. It also showed a mass.

Next stop was the GYN doc who thought it was a polyp not cancer since there was no bleeding.

Next stop was outpatient surgery of a D&C and biopsy. She was optimistic.

The results weren’t good. It is sometimes called Uterine Serous carcinoma, or uterine papillary serous carcinoma (UPSC), or serous adenocarcinoma. It is easily googled just writing serous cancer.My doc said she didn’t know much about this cancer. She referred me to a GYN oncology surgeon who I saw in three days. In the meantime, I googled it. And it scared me,

Serous cancer is a rare, subset of endometrial cancer that is aggressive and carries a poor prognosis. It is erratic in its behavior similar to that of ovarian cancer.

I am in the lose hair stage of carboplatin/taxol first infusion. Not as bad as I thought it would be,

So here I am, back in the world of cancer. I was expecting it, but not expecting it. Hope I can be of some use to my fellow cancer travelers.

 

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What happens at a CT scan

purple flowerT-Day

I have to admit I was afraid.  I had set it aside while on my trip. But today was the day. No more ignoring the possibility of more ca.  Today was CT scan day.  I start my day with my normal routine. Thyroid pill.  Load the Starbucks beans. Enjoy as the grinding releases the unmistakable aroma.  Coffee brewing in the dependable Cuisinart.  Check the blood sugar.  Say hello to Max and give him breakfast.  He is busy, but he definitely is not a morning person.

Settle into the first coffee of the day.  Comfy chair.  TJ bouquet is Fall colors. Nice.  Journal out. Start writing.  Write about yesterday. Tough as my RA was flaring again.  Probably because of the 25% cut in prednisone.

Light breakfast.  Need three hours of fasting for this test.  Just make it.

Front Desk Procedure

I arrive at KM Hospital x ray department.  Take a number from the automated ticket dispenser. Sit in a room full of unhappy looking people.  Waiting.  Number called.  Electronic signature times two.  One for permission for treatment.  The other is something about abuse?  My check was less than the test amount.  No problem. I  will be sent a bill.

Next I was sent to see another woman at another desk.  She gave me a form to fill out.  I filled it out and waited until 10 minutes after the appointment time to be called.  Mary she calls. This  new woman did not identify herself.  She asked me for another form.  I did not have it.  She went back to the second woman and got it.  Sat me down in still another waiting room to fill out this form and left.  About 10 minutes later the third (no name) woman returned and led me off.

The Big Machine

The scanner looked like a big electronic donut. I was asked to remove my bra (might wear a sports bra next time) and a dental partial.  Metal.  Was led to a table.  Place for my head. Support for my knees.

An IV was started. (For GI things a drink is given.)  This IV was connected to a fat syringe attached to the scanner.  Head position was checked.  And without a word, my nameless woman left me alone with the machine.

The machine started without warning or pleasantry from the control room.  The machine told me when to breathe and when not to breathe.  I could feel the dye as it entered me and then washed through me as a saturated warmth.  Two doses for two scans.  Quick.

Done

My nameless woman returned.  Removed my IV.  Wrapped the site in a purple stretch bandage.  (I like them.  I feel special like a kid with a super hero band-aide.)  Said I would  hear the results in a few days.  Gave me an instruction sheet not to take my metformin for 48 hours and a card. I finally knew her name as I walked out the door.

Waiting

This is the hard part.  Waiting for the results: what will it be and what will happen next.

thyroid cancer doctor visit April

Nice having many of my doctors in one place: endocrinologist, rheumatologist, medical oncologist. It is chronic disease alley.  The pain clinic is also there. Haven’t been to that  one yet. Lucky for us, the nurses and assistants are very helpful people. The place is always decorated for the current season or holiday. Coffee and tea are served as well as juices and graham crackers. There is never more than a few minutes wait. It is a welcoming, reassuring place. We even have our own lab. Never more than one person ahead of you.

Other areas of the hospital should follow their example. I don’t dread my appointments.

Dr L is an expert in her field. She is conservative, thoughtful and considerate. Her visits are never rushed. I am 100% confident in her choices for me.

I had not seen her(had talked to her on the phone) since my RAI (Radioactive iodine) treatment. The pill that had been presented to me in its 20# lead container was impressive and got my son’s attention that day. Being radioactive was fun only in that my meals were delivered to me.  I read, watched movies and chilled. The next week I had a full body scan(doesn’t include knees down for some reason).

The complication came suddenly with severely inflamed salivary glands, throat, total mouth and tongue. Quite painful! Impossible to eat. Dr L ordered prednisone and soon my whole head and neck was feeling better. This is a common complication. Avoid it if you can. Drinking a lot of water is really the only help.

My Dr L’s appointment started as 20 minutes but ended up an hour. I have new cancer. The RAI might have helped it but in all likelihood it will still be there for the next ultrasound. Another surgery would be the next step. The suspicious lymph gland may not be receptive to the RAI, may be gone, may be something else. A biopsy might be next with possible external beam radiation. I’m still hypothyroid so more levothyroxin for now with a possible change to medication with T3 as well asT4.

Courage

Might just as well feel like a hero in your own movie.

CA Attitude: Survive and Thrive

Balloon Fiesta
Lookin for the Good Highs

My goal for this web page is to show others fighting the good cancer fight that there are wonderful resources to help you to  survive and to thrive. This site is new and I have a lot to add. A person with cancer does not have to be alone. There are endless individuals, organizations and also professional who would love to help you on your journey. My plan is to introduce you to many in Albuquerque. We have much more than Breaking Bad.

If you are looking for something now. Email me at:   marymann@comcast.net and maybe I can point you in the right direction. You do have to do the work to survive and you are surviving by being here. Thriving is a challenge too. A little more fun than surviving but both are equally important.