An Update – The Good Kind

I’ve learned two things about me this past two and a half years of health chaos:

1. I only read brain candy when I’m mentally preparing for a doctor’s appointment.
2. I can’t ever seem to get around to reviewing. My head just isn’t in it, so it doesn’t happen.

Today I had a doctor’s appointment, which is why I’ve been so silent all week, if you’ve been wondering. I’ve been reading a lot of the kind of books I don’t review, and mentally boning up for my appointment.

Let me bring those of you up to speed on what’s been going on in my life so you can understand how amazing today was for me:

I was diagnosed with cancer in October, 2010.
Tumor removed in November, 2010
Six weeks of cancer treatment starting in December, 2010
January, 2011 I learned I couldn’t finish my treatment because I was pregnant, 9 weeks along, baby due in August. No, I didn’t have a clue.
February, 2011 my spine severely herniated, smashing two nerve roots that controlled the function of my right leg. I lost feeling and spent the rest of my 6 months of pregnancy on bed rest and unable to walk.
June, 2011 I learned that Fiona (my kid) was high risk for a chromosome disorder that was life threatening. I was asked if I wanted to terminate the pregnancy and I was also told that my cancer treatment (I was going through a hormonal treatment to keep the tumors suppressed during pregnancy) increased her risk of mental retardation.
August 2011, Fiona was born 100% healthy and despite concerns for mental retardation and no Trisomy 18. At almost 2 years old, she is currently considered mentally advanced for her age.
October 2011 – Switched cancer doctors, my new one wanted to wait and see how severe my cancer was until we decided on a course of treatment. Thus began the period of “waiting to see what happens” which is HORRIBLE. This began my period of 6 week checkups that never ended well.
October, 2012 – FINALLY had back surgery
December, 2012 – Learned my discs reherniated.
December 28, 2012 – After observation and biopsies, we learned my cancer had not only reappeared but had metastasized. Decided to wait until after treatment to have my next back surgery.
January 2013 – start treatment
February 2013 – go into quarantine, finish treatment, learn I treatment triggered cells in my nodes, saliva glands and even in my chest.
March and April – Recover from treatment.
May 2, 2013 – go have another back surgery.
May 3, 2013 – get rushed to the ER. Learn my surgery worked for an entire day before I reherniated. Went through overnight observation to determine if I needed emergency surgery.
May 16th, 2013 – Have a 3 level fusion – 5 days in the hospital
May – June – recovery from surgery
June: Go to cancer doctor, get the official word from his mouth that I am, to all appearances, cancer free (after 2.5 years). While he told me that over the phone right after I had my scan after quarantine, it was really, really nice to see his lips actually forming the words after doing an ultrasound. Not only had treatment made me cancer free, but I have remained that way.
Today: Go to surgery doctor and learn that, after 2.5 years of back problems and SEVERE pain and loss of feeling in my right leg, my back is 100% fixed and my nerves appear to be “coming back to life.” It might take a year, but hopes are high that I’ll be able to feel my right leg and foot again.
Today: Talked to my boss at work (the job I only worked twice before I had to have surgeries and I haven’t been able to work since). I learned that all the managers have said that even though I only worked twice, I’m “worth waiting for.” Yes, I am still employed and I’m welcome back at any time.

And perhaps after you see all that health drama and all the hell I’ve been through these last two and a half years, you’ll see why today’s appointment was amazing. I am closing the door to another huge health issue I’ve been struggling with. I’m amazed that I’m still sane and mentally functional. It’s been hell and now I no longer have cancer and, while I’m still recovering from surgeries, I no longer am struggling with my leg the way I have been for two and a half years. Though I would have rather not had to have my back fused at such a young age (30 – and that concerns me on some levels), sometimes life doesn’t end up the way you want, and I would have done ANYTHING to end the nerve pain. People who have felt severe nerve pain before will understand that. I told the doctor before my fusion, “Either fix me, or cut my leg off. I don’t care anymore.” This appointment could have gone any possible way, but after so long of hearing about how bad my back is and how my tumors are spreading, it’s amazing to hear two doctors (cancer and surgery doctors) both tell me that “everything looks perfect” in the same month.

I was worried, so I was quiet and now I’m in some weird state of shock. Health problems have dominated my life for a long time and now they are basically gone. It’s time to learn how to live without these oppressive worries again. I’ll admit, when I learned that my cancer metastasized in December, I lost all hope that I’d ever hear “all clear” from any doctor again. Now that I’ve heard it twice, I’m realizing that I’m in a mental recovery zone of sorts. It’s time to pick up the pieces and learn who I’ve turned into after cancer forced me to face my mortality, and I underwent three surgeries that really upset family life.

And I have to admit, when it’s all said and done, I’m damn proud of myself for making it through and I’m amazed. You never really know how strong you are until strong is the only option you have.

P.S. Before I go, I’ll brag a bit. I went on a photo shoot with the supermoon this month and learned that my photo has made it to the television news in three different states. That’s just damn impressive to me, and completely worth bragging about.

Now that that’s over, I’ll be back to reviewing on Monday, and I hope the next half of this year isn’t as stressful as the first half has been.

10 Responses

  • Congratulations!! I’m so glad you are feeling better!!

  • Good times ahead!! *fingers crossed for you*

  • See my *eartoeargrin*? Very, very happy to hear all your good news!! It’s said that how we face life’s struggles says the most about who we are – I would say you’ve come through yours with grace, and courage. Let yourself revel in the relief – you have more than earned it!!

    • Thank you! I plan on enjoying a (hopefully) absolutely, completely, most boringly healthy life from now on.

      And you say I handled it all with grace, but you never saw all the nervous breakdowns I have had. I’ve perfected the art. My husband deserves an award for putting up with me these past few years.

  • Kerry

    I’m a lurker, but this is such good news I had to pop up to say “Congratulation and wonderful”. I suspect it will take a bit of time for your mindset to adjust back to “well person”. It’s awesome you’ve got the time and good health to do that now.

    • Yeah, I’m quickly learning that it is going to take me a while to get back to thinking about life like a healthy person. There’s an adjustment that takes place when you get sick, and there is definitely an adjustment to not being sick anymore after such a long time with it all, but this is a good adjustment. 🙂

  • Congratulations! What a horrible 2 1/2 years it must have been. I can’t even begin to imagine what you’ve been through and how strong you must be to have survived all of that. You’re an amazing woman. 🙂

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