What is Chemo like


When I first found out I had cancer my first question was, "will I need chemo". I watch movies, tv, read books so I knew what chemo was. I knew that it made people extremely sick, caused them to lose hair and was basically HORRIBLE. I was more terrified by the chemo than I was by the cancer itself.

I wasn't too concerned about radiation, surgery or life in the hospital. My main focus was the chemo therapy. I had absolutely no idea what to expect but it frightened me. Well here is the skinny on Chemo for those of you who haven't faced it.

There are many different types of chemo therapy. Oncologists chose what type they will give you based on all sorts of information, what type of cancer you have, what other treatments you are receiving etc....Every type of chemotherapy has different side effects and every person reacts differently to each type. There are also many ways to recieve chemotherapy. Some chemo is taken orally while others are administered by IV. Just like cancer, chemotherapy cannot just be lumped into one category.

My chemotherapy day was Friday. This is how it works. If you are getting chemo via IV you have a day that you receive your treatments. Its always the same day every week. Normally you are taken to a reclining chair. I received treatments at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. At Dana there is a floor where chemo is administered. On this floor there are many many chairs. The only thing that separates your chair from another persons are curtains. There is a small amount of space, just enough for the cancer patient and a loved one to keep them company.

As you may know many people fighting cancer do so while living their day to day lives as well. People fighting cancer go to work, parent, attend college etc...Many times I saw men & women in their suits, mom's and dads who just dropped their kids off at school etc...Myself, I was only well enough to be in a chair for my first administration of chemo. I was very sick throughout my entire treatment. I didn't work, didn't attend school, didn't do very much of anything. Because I was so sick I had my treatments while laying in a hospital bed. I was on the same floor as the chemo chairs, my area was still seperated by the curtains the only difference was I layed in a bed.

The entire process takes many many hours. For me the usual time was between 6-8 hours. First they give you hydration, then the chemo, then more hydration and many times anti neasua. Its a long process. Many times I slept through most of it because I was also on heavy duty pain medications. I can't imagine how hard it was for my supporters who had to sit for so many hours watching me suffer, watching so many people fight against cancer.

My chemo was cisplatin. The side effects of this form of chemo includes severe form of kidney impairment and hearing loss. I did not lose my hair. It was funny because I was certain that when one gets chemo they lose their hair but not every form of chemo has this side effect. My kidneys were watched very carefully. If you have been reading my posts you will know that my tumor caused major problems with both my kidneys. So my kidneys were closely monitored to be sure they didn't fail. I did not lose my hearing. However, I do get ringing in my ears every now and then. Some days my hearing is better than others but for the most part I am fine. Yes I also suffered from the throwing up, neasua etc...Every chemotherapy has that side effect, can't be avoided. But it was doable. I did it, you can do it too. And, the good news is when you are done with treatments you will start feeling better and it will become a distant memory soon enough!

If you have had, having or going to have chemo please comment to this post and share your experience.

Where I am Today

I am going to be featured on this great site called My Hope Space. As part of my feature I was asked to write about where I am today. Here is what I wrote.



What Am I Doing Now?



Right now I am finishing up law school, being a girlfriend, sister, daughter and friend, oh yea and fighting the secondary affects of cancer. My life has finally started to get back to normal. I am re-entering society. People don’t understand how much cancer takes its victims out of society. Re-entry is not easy but I am finding my way.

The secondary effects of cancer treatments can be just as bad as the cancer and the treatments themselves. Personally, I suffer from radiation effects. My colon, bladder, digestive system are all burnt and cause many difficulties and pain. I have surgery every three months due to damage my tumor left. And daily I fight against the emotional scars that cancer left. But, every day things get easier. Each day that I decide to take control of my life I get a little more of it back.


I came back to law school only 4 months after I stopped treatment and 1 month after I got the news that I was cancer free. It was hard but so worth it! In two months I will be a law school graduate! In February I will sit for the bar and in a year from now, hopefully, I will be a lawyer practicing law!

Right now I am also doing everything in my power to raise cervical cancer awareness. I created a blog and post daily, I write into talk shows, papers, radio programs etc…I tell everyone who will listen what happened to me and how I overcame it. You can beat cancer. Cancer only takes from you what you allow it. If I decided not to go back to school, to think of all the things I could never have, cry, scream, pout, become a recluse it would have been my choice.


I have learned how to embrace what happened to me. To make it a part of who I am and who I am going to be. Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have moments of sadness, anger and fear. But, I make sure for every moment I feel those things I create other moments. Moments of happiness, desire, laughter, creativity, goals etc…

If you are fighting against cancer now, beat cancer or are supporting someone please take the time to figure out the positive of it all. Figure out how to take your life back, how to be happy and fulfilled. Cancer will be more than willing to take everything from you if you let it!



Keep fighting.

I'm a Brilliant Web Blog Award Winner

Today is a great day, I won my very first blog award :). Nana's box was kind enough to give my blog the Brilliant Web Blog award. I also had my first feature this week and it was on Nana's Box...I guess I owe a lot of thanks to her and her awesome blog! If you haven't gone over to her blog yet you must. She is an amazing supporter of cancer fighters, survivors, care givers & supporters. Please take some time to look over her blog and leave her a comment :)

Thank you so much for this great award:



Here is how the Brilliant Weblog Award works. The person giving the award chooses blogs that they consider brilliant in their content or design. In return, the recipient is expected to choose a minimum of seven blogs that they like. They leave comments on these blogs to notify the winners. They then post about receiving the award on their blog (like this) and list their choices with links. They also include a mention of whom they received the award and include a link. Pictures are great, but not necessary. Here are my seven:




How do I become my own advocate



I know you hear over and over, "be your own advocate". Okay, great so how do I do that? In this post I will tell you one way to accomplish being your own advocate.

Use your voice. What does that mean? When I was first sick I went to my doctors office several times a week, I called them constantly. Just recently when my pain was unbearable I called my doctors daily asking them to fix me. This was being my own advocate wasn't it, NO! Even though I was using my voice & asking for help I was not being my own advocate. Unfortunately doctors think they know it all. They have already figured you out within the first couple minutes of visiting you and anything after that is just you being emotional or sensitive. They stop hearing you so even though you are using your voice you are not being heard. I have been fighting for my life for the last year and a half and I just recently learned how to be my own advocate.

Call your doctor anytime you need them. I don't care if its Saturday at 8 am or Wednesday night at 11. Doctors have pagers for a reason so get over it and call them. I can't tell you how many nights & weekends I sucked it up in horrible pain because I didn't want to bother the doctor or thought they would think I was annoying! The only person I was punishing was myself. Doctors get paged all the time, its part of their job, so don't even waste one second worrying about what day or time it is. If you are in pain, need a doctor or just concerned call them. Don't think, well im not that sick or it can waitif you do that you are being a FOOL!

If you know what will make you feel better tell the doctor. For me the only thing that works is Hydromorphone. I have a nice supply of it. Before I would wait until I needed it to ask. Then it would become a huge problem because I would be in pain and desperate. Don't be afraid to tell your doctor you need something. That you need it for the future. You should always have a supply of whatever medications you need. We tend to forget how bad it can be when we are feeling well. Be aware of what you need if you start feeling sick so that you are always prepared.

Finally, tell your friends and family what things help you stay healthy. Maybe you need to eat certain food, sleep certain amount of hours, exercise. Tell them to remind you what it is you need to stay healthy. For example, after this surgery I didn't rest for a week like I am suppose to. Instead I went back to school within 48 hours. This did not help me get better. I told my boyfriend and friends to remind me next surgery how bad I felt this time. Sometimes we need a reminder in order to avoid getting sick again.

An addition that I didn't originally include in this post but that is super important. One of the comments kindly reminded me that I forgot this one. If you are not happy with one of your doctors FIRE them and do it sooner than later. I had a terrible urologist. I talked about this in my last post. I tried to make it work b/c he was suppose to be soooo great but he was not great for me. I suffered for a year in pain, incontinent, bleeding etc...Once I fired him and got a new urologist (in July) I started feeling soooo much better. If you are not happy with your doctor, if you are unsure, have a gut feeling etc...look for a new doctor. Its your life, future & dreams so you are the one who needs to take control and make the right decisions. (Thank you Pseudonymous High School Teacher)

Stay healthy everyone and enjoy your weekend!

xoxo

WHY IS THIS GIRL FIGHTING CANCER IS SO HAPPY


Many people are confused yet inspired by my attitude towards my battle with cancer. I am chipper, up beat, smiling & excited when I talk about what happened to me. Don't get me wrong, there are many days when I feel ANGRY, sad and exhausted but I fight through those feelings and leave them as quickly as I can. No matter how pissed off I am I will never be able to change what happened but I have the absolute power to change what is happening.

I know many people are familiar with the Serenity prayer:

God Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the Wisdom to know the difference.

I say this prayer to myself on a daily basis and I live my life by it. Family and friends would understand if I gave myself a daily pitty party, cried a lot, lashed out with anger. Cancer gives me permission to deal with it any way I wish. But I have control over that. I think many people forget that. You cannot do anything about what is in the past but you can stop cancer from stealing anymore of your life by dealing with it in the most positive way possible for you.

Don't get me wrong. If you have/had cancer and are reading this I bet you are a little annoyed. I HATE when people tell me how to deal with my cancer. I HATE when people tell me to look at the bright side of things. That is not what I am saying. I am saying:

TELL CANCER TO F$*K OFF.
TELL IT THIS IS YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL NOT LET IT TAKE ONE MORE THING FROM YOU!
TAKE CONTROL BACK AND RUN YOUR LIFE!

I want to be happy. I want all the things my friends and family have. I want health, family, love, respect, education, all of it. If I take any other attitude than a positive upbeat one I won't get those things. I will get lost in my own self pitty. I will linger in the "what if's". I will get lost in they "why me". I will forget about the many years that lay ahead of me because I am so focused on the time I fought for my life. I fought for my life for a reason, TO LIVE IT. So that is exactly what I am going to do.


P.S. I am being featured on a blog today: Nana's Box

xoxo

Congratulations to all my law school friends


As most of you know I was in law school when I got my cancer diagnosis. Specifically I was in the first couple weeks of my second year second semester. I remember feeling so horrible yet making it to class. I found out later that I had a ripped open kidney, gut filled with fluid and a huge tumor-NO WONDER I WASN'T FEELING WELL! Obviously I took a medical withdrawal and began my fight against cancer.

After my treatments were over I decided to go right back to law school. Why you might ask? Cancer ripped through my life and stole a lot, more than I can put down into words. There was no way in hell I was going to let cancer take being a lawyer from me! I thought if I waited too long I would never return so I hopped back on the law school wagon the following semester. I know crazy right? I almost died of cancer yet only missed one semester. Anyway, the point is when I returned I was no longer with my class.

Most people think of law school and law school students as super competitive. Hiding books, sabotaging each other etc...This was not my experience. I loved my class. They were more than just colleagues, they were my dearest friends. We laughed together, cried, studied, stressed, celebrated, vented etc...I never imagined that law school would bring me some of the best friends I have ever known.

When I was gone my law school friends supported me tremendously. The sent me things daily, cards, flowers, gifts etc...The student body & faculty got together and did two separate fund raisers for me. They had purple bracelets with my name made & did a fashion show, raising money to help me pay my medical bills not covered by insurance. These people made it possible for me to recover and return to law school.

So its an understatement when I say I am beyond proud and happy that they all graduated and passed the bar. The bar results came in on Monday and last night they were all sworn in! I would be lying if I told you it didn't pull at my heart a bit that I couldn't experience this with them. Before I got sick I often imagined our graduation parties, studying for the bar together and celebrating our victories. Now I am standing on the sideline proudly watching but not there with them. I know my day will come that is not what its about. I wanted to share my day with them. These men and women are a part of who I am, what I have been through and future. I probably wouldn't have realize how important sharing the experience with my friends was if I wasn't in my current position.

Congratulations dearest friends! Congratulations on all you have accomplished, all you will and what wonderful people you are! I love you with all with all my heart and you will never know how important each of you has been in my life. Know that I am so proud of you and even prouder to be your friend. Go out and kick some butt, you will all be successful at whatever you do.

Lots of love

Working Girl With Cancer


I submitted a post to the blog Working Girl. I was hoping they would post it but they said it wasn't work related enough. I put a lot of thought and work into it so I figured I would share it with all of you. Let me know what you think, its from the heart :)


To be honest I am not a working girl just yet. I was a working girl several years ago and will be a working girl again very soon. Right now I am a student girl working towards my law degree, only a couple months from graduation, in the sunny state of Florida! I am also a Cancer Girl. I won my fight against 3b Cervical Cancer just about a year ago. That’s right girls I won my fight while I was smack dab in the middle of law school, ugh!

We working girls are fighters. We are determined to climb that ladder, get to the top and then add some rungs so we can climb higher. Nothing can get in our way and if something tries, God help it! When I graduated from the University of Massachusetts I began my working girl journey. I worked as a field director for a United States Congressman, and then I was hired by his district office as a Congressional Aide. When I got everything I could out of that job I moved to Florida to work as an Immigration Specialist for a top firm in Ft. Lauderdale. I was working the late hours, wearing the power suits and just basically kicking butt!

When I reached the top of my ladder I realized I needed to continue my education so I could reach even higher! I took my LSAT, wrote my essay and sent in my application to Nova Southeastern Law School. I was accepted and so back to school this working girl went. To say I worked my ass off would be an understatement. At least eight hours a day seven days a week. I was determined. When I graduated I wanted to be hired by the best firm so I could get my corner office with a view of the ocean.

During all these years I took care of myself. I went to my doctor appointments, ate right and exercised when I could. But, health was certainly not my top priority; actually it didn’t even make it to the top five. When I started feeling sick in my second year of law school I brushed it off as being a result of stress. When I went to my doctor and was told everything was fine I was relieved. However, my symptoms didn’t go away and in fact were getting worse.

During my second semester of my second year I became very ill. I didn’t know what was wrong but I trusted my doctors. In my heart I knew they were wrong. In terrible pain I kept going to class, raising my hand, answering questions and participating. Whatever was going on with me was not going to get in the way of my working girl dream! Sometimes I was late to class due to doctor appointments or because I had completely stopped sleeping. I will spare you the long, painful gruesome story but in the end I went to the ER and was told I had end stage cancer, 3b cervical cancer and had a 20% chance of surviving.

I received two blood transfusions and was flown to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts. There I received chemo therapy, internal and external radiation as well as placement of nephrostamy tubes, the tumor had crushed my ureters causing my kidney to rip open. I went through hell but I also fought like hell.

How did this happen to me? I went to my doctor, basically took care of myself, and was educated. But I did put the working girl before the girl. I worked so hard to succeed that I almost killed myself. I heard what I wanted from the doctors, you are fine, but I knew I wasn’t. My point, be your own advocate, take care of yourself and listen to your gut and what it is trying to tell you. Because, there is no working girl without the girl!!

Now I am cancer free according to the doctors but I will never be free of cancer. When I graduate from law school, by the way I went back only 6 months after being diagnosed, I will be the working girl with cancer. The big C will always be a part of who I am. Cancer has taken a lot away from me; it has left both physical and emotional scars. But, cancer has also given me a great gift; a gift of understanding and appreciation. I am more than just a working girl; I am a working girl who beat cancer!!

If you would like to read more about my story or find information on HPV and Cervical Cancer please visit my blog at www.cancerlost.blogspot.com







Crazy Sexy Cancer

I am sure many of you have heard of Crazy Sexy Cancer. For those of you who haven't: GO OUT RIGHT NOW AND RENT IT!! My boyfriend rented it for me about six months ago. I did not want to watch it. I was scared and not yet ready to face my cancer in that way. I know, sounds weird but it is what it is. For the same reasons I didn't want to join a support group, didn't want to talk to a therapist, I didn't want to watch this movie. But, I watched it and that is when my attitude towards my cancer change.

This woman's journey and attitude really inspired me. She showed me how to take control of my cancer and how to change my life and outlook. Here is a clip but I suggest you go to blockbuster and rent the entire documentary. She also has a great blog site that I am a member of.

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think :)







Sick of feeling Sick!!


Today I cried. I went to my friends son's first birthday party. I was not feeling well at all. Actually, I haven't felt well all week. Yes I had surgery Monday and yes I flew home less than 24 hours after. Within 48 hours I was back in law school. I have to admit, I made a mistake. Rest is what I needed and not less than 24 hours, I should have rested for at least a week. Everyone told me I was making a mistake but as usual I wouldn't listen. For some reason I insist on learning everything the hard way.

There is a reason to my madness. I'm not stupid, I know that after surgery a person should rest. However, I am so sick and tired of being sick. All I do is rest, sleep, relax, take it easy. When will it stop? I want to get on with my life. I want to get over what happened to me and move forward. My life is so frustrating. I know what I want to do, how I want to live my life, where I want to be but its always just out of my reach. When I am done resting from surgery I will be resting for some other reason. Maybe a fever, maybe the pain will get bad again, maybe I will be exhausted. I can't remember the last day I felt like a normal person.

So today I cried because i want so badly to be healthy. I want it more than I have ever wanted anything. Energized, motivated, excited what I would give to have just one day when I felt those things. Instead I fight everyday to put on the appearance that I feel those things. I am patiently waiting for the day that I feel like a normal human being again!

Just an Idea


Its been a very rough week. I have absolutely no idea what happened during the first part of the week and I would bet all I own that tomorrow I wont really remember what i did today. I'm hoping that by next week this time I am back to thinking and seeing clearly.

This week I had a talk with a cancer care giver. It was strange to see it all from the other side. I have been the person with cancer for too long now. Actually, its hard to remember what it was like before I was the person with cancer. Now I am on the other side of the table, the person listening and giving advice. The person who doesn't know what to say and feels helpless. The conversation made me think a lot about my experience. What would I want to hear, what information would I want to get, what would have made a difference for me?

This conversation helped me understand how my loved ones must have felt. I have said it before but I think it should be said again, being a care giver is much harder than being a cancer fighter. The one piece of advice I think may have been helpful was to get your loved ones medical records and ask other cancer institutes to look them over. Even if you or your loved one is at a cancer institute maybe there is a better institute. Maybe there are new treatments or better specialists. It can't hurt to make some phone calls and ask doctors to check out medical records. You don't have to fly to the institute, drag your sick loved one or even make any type of commitment.

I know that if I hadn't gone to Dana Farber Cancer Institute where they had one of the only internal radiation machines I would not have lived! I had my medical records, CT scan etc...faxed to Dana Farber and they said they could help. If you don't know where to start you can call the American Cancer Institute and ask them. You don't have to be the one with cancer to call. They are very helpful and have lots of information so just pick up the phone and call, you never know it could be the call that saves a life!


Not Much to Report on Over Here


Still feeling dizzy and groggy! Wish I had a week to just rest and get back to normal. I am hoping that one day I can say goodbye to these surgeries and get back to a "normal" life! The pain isn't too bad, thank God. My tummy is a bit bloated and I am definitely light headed and tired but things are looking good. I'm taking a bunch of different medications for the next week or so...boooo! Hope everyone has a nice weekend and I promise I will be back on my game next week!

xoxo
Meaghan

Man am I struggling


I had surgery on Monday. Tuesday I caught a flight back to Florida at 7am. Today I have been in class since 8 am. I think I may be pushing myself a little too hard! I feel very dizzy and groggy and all i want to do is go home and get into bed. I have to remember I am only human and I need to give myself a brake every once and a while.

Surgery went well


Can't write much because I just got out of surgery and am a little groggy. just wanted to let everyone know it went extremely well. I was very nervous because I got rid of my former Urologist, he was a jerk, and now I have a new much better doctor. With the new doctor I am having surgery at a new Hospital, New England Baptist.

The hospital was much smaller so I was a bit nervous but it turned out to be sooooo much better. The staff were all friendly and very accessible. The anesthesiologist came to see me quickly and listened to all my concerns, not just head nodding but actually writing it down and using the drugs that I felt comfortable with. I met both the nurses that would be in the operating room with me and they were very kind and took the extra time to get to know me a little.

Best part, when I woke up the same staff were there. They let me sleep as long as I wanted and when I got up to go to the bathroom I would go back to sleep without a hassle. I left when I was ready to go and didn't feel rushed at all.

My new Urologist took a picture of my kidneys and told my mother that it may be possible to remove the stents. We did try this last year and it didn’t go well but hopefully there has been a lot of healing and maybe it will work this time, fingers crossed. In December we will try to remove the stents.

And to top it all off they gave me a rose. I will be sure to go back there and recommend it to anyone. Thanks New England Baptist.

Little Eli and his Mommie Jess



I've posted a lot lately about the Wood family. This picture has little Eli Wood and my very close friend Jessica Wood. The only one missing is Daddy Ben Wood. If any of you live near Kingston RI you should check out their restaurant CALIENTE. The food is awesome and the owners are two of the best people I have ever met, Ben and Jess :) I have added their businesses Blog and will also give you the link to their website. Check it out. Great Mexican Grill, I give it five stars!


CALIENTE WEBSITE

My 3 Month Exam








Friday I had my three month pelvic/PAP exam with the wonderful Dr. Berkowitz. He is the best doctor ever, he saved my life. I have so much love for him I could never put it into words. I am sure the many survivors who read this know how I feel because they feel the same way about the doctors who saved their lives. We fought hard but we know that we owe our lives to these men and women who worked hard to make sure we lived and beat the ugly beast named CANCER.

My appointment went well. I hadn't been feeling well the last couple of weeks and was concerned it was menopause. However, early last week I spiked a fever of 103. I don't really know what to expect from menapause but I know it doesn't usually give you a fever. Its very confusing being a survivor. Its hard to tell what is just being a regular person with a fever, side effects from treatments or signs that the cancer has returned. But when I got to my appointment i was feeling well and had no fever.

The Ativan may have had something to do with my feeling pretty good. Dr. B and I talked a bit before the PAP & Pelvic exam. I expressed my concerns about menapause. While I was taking drugs to relax me I still was brought to tears during our conversation. It felt strange hearing my voice asking a doctor about menapause. This is so far from what I expected my life would be like at age 30. I am completely aware of what is going to happen to me and what things are no longer options but it still stops me in my tracks every time! Dr. B talked to me very openly, honestly and kindly. He explained that I wasn't going to go through menopause I was going through it now. That I could take hormones but I didn't have to. That by not taking hormones I could have bone problems but that they could test for that. He explained that menopause would not cause a drop in my sex drive and that it shouldn't cause extreme hot flashes or mood swings. But, if I found those things did happen I could always start taking the hormones. As usual he made me feel much better!

He did the PAP and Pelvic exam and told me things looked good. No biopsy was needed and I could take a deep breath until the next three month exam. He also told me that in March I would start seeing them every six months instead of the three. This is a great thing to hear. I also gave a urine sample due to the high fever last week. Hopefully that is clear because I need to have my surgery on Monday.

Now all I have left is Mondays surgery. I so look forward to the day i hear I don't need those anymore. At this point I either have to have surgery every three months indefinitely or have the kidney removed. If I had it my way they would be removing the kidney Monday. I am so over the surgeries and ready to get on with my life.

So far so good. Had a little "incident" on the car ride to the Cape but besides that I am wonderful. There was terrible traffic and we couldn't get off the highway and I have very bad bladder control, you put that together and figure out what happened. No big deal though, use to it by now. The Cape is great, as usual. The Woods are kind, funny and just great to be around. The weather is a little yucky but its nice to be in cool weather.

This will probably be my last post for a couple days. I have to be at the hospital at 6 am for surgery on Monday. Hope everyone is having a great weekend and feeling well.

xoxo
Meaghan

Leaving on a Jet Plane for Surgery


Just wanted to let everyone know that I am flying out of Florida today. I will be arriving at Logan airport around 230 and have my 3 month exam at 3 at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Then I will be going to stay with my good friend Jessica on the Cape over the weekend. Monday is my surgery day and I will be going under General Anesthesia to have my stints changed, kidney checked out and kidney stones removed. Tuesday I will be flying back to Florida so that I can get back to school. So I may not be able to post but I will definitely make an effort. I hope everyone has a great weekend and please keep me in your thoughts!

Lots of Love,
Meaghan

Cervical Cancer Spreads in Women with Chronic Stress, Weakened Immune Response


Wow look at this article. It looks like high stress levels may inhibit your bodies ability to fight off the HPV virus. If you are a woman who lives a high stress life you must read this article. And by the way, I don't think I know any women who don't live high stress lives. Click on the link below to read the entire article and please leave me comments with your opinions.

HIGH STRESS LINKED TO CERVICAL CANCER

Valentines Day 2007


The worst valentines day of my life.

I will never forget Valentines Day 2007. It was a Wednesday and possibly one of the most painful days of my life. This was the day that the doctors decided to put in the stints. As I have mentioned before my tumor crushed my ureters because I went misdiagnosed for such a long time. Ureter’s connect the kidney to the bladder and allows the fluid to go from the kidney to the bladder. Because my tumor crushed my ureter none of the fluid in the kidney was allowed to pass to my bladder. This meant all the fluid backed up in my kidneys causing hydronephrosis, swelling of the kidneys. My left kidney did more than just swell, it ripped open.

The kidney heals itself so that is why the nephrostomy tubes were placed. My fluid from my kidney was re-directed to the bags instead of my bladder so that my kidney could heal. The doctors also needed to place stints in the ureters that were damaged by the tumor. If the stints were not placed the damage would only get worse with scar tissue and eventually close completely. If I ever wanted to live without bags collecting my waste the stints needed to be placed.

The stints hadn’t been placed right away because there were so many issues that needed to be dealt with first. It so happened that Valentines day 2007 was the first day they felt I would be able to undergo this procedure. Before I went under I distinctly remember one of my doctors say, “Happy Valentines Day Meaghan”. That is the last thing I remember before slipping off into a drug induced sleep.

Holly-Mother-Of-God!! That is what I remember when I woke up. All I could do was scream the pain was so horrific. If I close my eyes I can still see the poor man across from me in the recovery room. He was eating one of those hospital sandwiches in a box. There I was directly across from him on my hands and knees screaming bloody murder! My blood pressure went up to 200/150, my machines were beeping out of control and I was half dressed screaming.

What happened you might ask? Well apparently there was a slight chance my body would react poorly to the stints. The radiation, the damage from being misdiagnosed and the stints all combined to create a painful reaction. I have never been pain free since. Those stints remain and will indefinitely. The pain they create also remains and varies in degree. There are times, days/weeks/months, where the pain is as bad as that moment when I woke up. There are other times when the pain is much less or only slightly tolerable. What I can tell you is that there isn’t one minute that goes by that I am not conscious of the pain.

Valentines day 2007 is a day I will never forget. Sometimes I think about before I had cancer and the many Valentine’s days I complained about. I was single, my boyfriend didn’t get me what I wanted, my date didn’t go well etc…I can’t tell you how many times I had said, “This Valentines Day sucked” Little did I know those days were perfectly fine. Too many people spend too much time complaining about things that aren’t so bad. So next Valentines Day when you find yourself unsatisfied just think, at least im not getting stints as my Valentines Day present.

Here Are Some Scary Facts About CERVICAL CANCER



Cervical Cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women behind breast.

Approximately 500,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in one year

Approximately 300,000 women will DIE of cervical cancer in one year.

More and more young women are being diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Many cases of Cervical Cancer go misdiagnosed.

Your PAP may be coming back normal when it should not.

Please educate yourself about cervical cancer. Just because you are young, healthy and going to your yearly PAP's does not mean you are protected against this deadly disease.

Fellow Fighter Kelly

Today's guest post was written by a friend of mine from high school. She has had a difficult journey and is currently fighting breast cancer. Please read what she wrote and leave her a comment. If you want to know more about Kelly you can visit her blog at www.bcsurvivor2008.blogspot.com




I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31 – Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, stage IIIA, ER+/PR-/Her2+, with lymph node involvement, size of tumor: big enough to grab on to!

To tell my story I have to bring you back a few years. I had a breast reduction in January 2006. After the surgery I noticed a lump that did not go away. I went back to see the plastic surgeon, Dr. T, more than once and she assured me that the tissue was still settling and it could take up to a year after surgery for the tissue to become soft again. Ok, no problem. Well, a year later and still no change. I went back to see her again in March 2007, same chat: most likely scar tissue, nothing to worry about, but this time she referred me to a general surgeon just to be sure.

In July we found out that my mother had ovarian cancer again. It had been in remission for 5 years, but was now back. I kept putting off my appointment with the general surgeon, Dr. O, in order to be with her. I finally got in to see him in October. He said that based on my previous surgery and age that it was most likely scar tissue or fibrous breast tissue, he added that the only way to be sure was to do a biopsy. He also expressed to me that he didn’t feel that a biopsy was necessary since there had been no obvious change in the lump in over 2 years. I wasn't too keen on the idea of being cut open again so I was satisfied with both doctors feeling confident that it was nothing to worry about. My mom wanted me to get the biopsy but I told her that 2 doctors told me the same thing – it’s nothing to worry about!

In December my mother lost her battle with ovarian cancer at age 56. The last months were hell for her, she was constantly sick from the chemo and rapidly losing weight. The doctors were not able to administer the chemo on a regular schedule because of low blood counts and so on, so that gave time for the cancer to spread throughout her entire abdomen. The tumors were so large that they were obstructing her intestines and she decided that enough was enough; she was done with being in constant pain, it was a living hell. She passed on December 9th, two weeks after stopping treatment.

In January I noticed that my bra was not fitting anymore on the right side. I knew that the dryer didn’t shrink just half of my bras, so obviously my breast was growing - but why only one? Maybe it was stress. I called Dr. O back and told him what was going on and that I was ready for the biopsy. I saw him that next week and he suggested that since I had never had a mammogram I get one done before the biopsy. Fine, boob squish scheduled for January 31st and cut open February 8th. He was still telling me that it wasn’t cancer and that my breast getting larger could be a result of hormones. He said that seeing an endocrinologist would be the next step when the biopsy comes back benign.

The day of the biopsy he told me the results of the mammogram, “suspect multiple cysts in the right breast”. Ok I can deal with that, just drain them. When I woke up in recovery and Dr. O came to talk with me there was a very different look on his face. He told me that it definitely was not a cyst because it was hard as a rock and to be extra cautious he took a large piece of it for biopsy. He made me an appointment for that next Tuesday to go over the results.

February 12th, results day. I remember this day so clearly. Aside from some soreness from the biopsy I was feeling pretty good. I just had an awesome weekend and I was looking forward to planning a snowboard trip out west. My appointment was first thing in the morning so I got in to see the doctor right away. I knew the moment I walked in because he had that same look on his face. “I wish I had better news for you”. What? Wait a minute; you’re supposed to tell me that everything was ok, just like you were saying all along! We spoke for about 20 minutes all the while tears streaming down my face and thoughts of my mother bouncing around my head. He kept telling me that he’s never had a case like this and quite know what to say. His office had already made me an appointment to see an oncologist in Springfield the next day, Dr. K. What a coincidence, she was my mother’s doctor! Before leaving his office, the nurse kept offering to have someone drive me home. Nope, I’m fine – I just need to be alone. I sat in my car for a while thinking what now, how do I tell this to my family and friends. Most of my friends knew about my biopsy and I knew they would be wondering, I didn’t really want to talk to anyone so I sent out a mass text “Bad news, its cancer”, then I called work and let them know that I wouldn’t be in for a few days.

I met with Dr. K the next day. She didn’t immediately recognize me when she came into the exam room, but when she made the connection the look on her face was priceless! We spoke briefly about my mom and then she did an exam. After that we spoke at length about my options and what she thought the best course of action was. Basically, we needed to do a lot more testing to find out exactly how big this was and how far it had spread. It was hard in the beginning to give people information. It was trickling in at every scan and every test. At one point it was like, where the f@#k is the end of this ball of yarn!

February was a blur, filled with appointments, tests, and 2nd opinions. First thing was to get a fine needle aspiration of the lymph nodes to see if it had spread beyond the breast – yup, positive for cancer. I had a CT of my head, chest and abdomen – all clear, an MRI of my breasts – size of tumor 9.2 cm in the right breast and a “suspicious area” in the left breast, a bone scan – negative, genetic testing – negative for the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations and a MUGA scan of my heart to develop a baseline (in case chemo damaged my heart). I also had to have a port put in for chemo (bad Irish veins) and a marker placed at the site of the tumor (titanium clip). By the end of all that I felt like a human pin cushion! When all the info was in the plan of action was chemo, surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.

At the end of most of these tests I went down to Boston for a 2nd opinion at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. One of the great things about living in MA is that many of the best hospitals are at your disposal! They told me pretty much what Dr. K had only some slight differences. On my way back home I called Dr. K to discuss my appointment, she agreed to speak with the docs at Dana-Farber the next day and come up with a treatment plan that we were all comfortable with. I was so glad that she did because I wanted to get treatment closer to home and I was comfortable with her as my doctor. She’s a “shoot from the hip” kind of woman and won’t candy-coat the situation.

I started chemo on March 4th. My treatment: 6 rounds of Taxotere and Carboplatin every 21 days plus Herceptin weekly for a year. The worst part about chemo was the hot flashes, losing taste buds (and gaining a ton of weight), fatigue and muscle/joint pain. Even losing my hair wasn’t all that bad, I got pretty handy with the buzzers and a bic razor! The best thing about chemo – no more allergies! That’s right! I had allergies really bad all my life and for the first time, I was symptom free without medication.

Family and friends came with me to the first few treatments. We joked that I was the Samantha character from “Sex and the City”, only younger and not promiscuous. The nurses got a kick out of us. I would bring my laptop, iPod, magazines, cards and whatever else we could find to make the hours pass by quickly. I was determined to lead a semi-normal life so I was driving myself to my appointments and even went to chemo alone for the last two cycles. I worked part-time for a while but eventually just ended up taking a medical leave. I was trying to get out of the house every day, but some days I never made it off the couch.

On a positive note, I had an excellent response to chemo. After the first few treatments the tumor was noticeably shrinking. I had to start thinking about the surgery. From day 1 the doctors were talking mastectomy. I was hoping that since the tumor was shrinking, lumpectomy would be more like it. I was wrong. I found a great breast surgeon, Dr. C, and also a great plastic surgeon, Dr. B. It became apparent that the best option was going to be mastectomy, but now the question was remove just the right or remove them both, and what type of reconstruction – implants or tissue transfer. After some great advice I decided to have both removed and do an “immediate delayed reconstruction”. Since I had to have radiation it was not a good idea to do reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy. Instead they inserted tissue expanders to fill the breast area and after radiation I would have a DIEP Flap for reconstruction. This is a procedure that Dr. B does not do but would start the reconstruction process by doing the expanders. The DIEP requires a micro-surgeon because they have to sever the blood flow to the tissue at the donor site (abdomen) and reattach it at the chest. There aren’t too many doctors that do this procedure, in my area. I decided to travel down to Boston to find one that did them on a regular basis. I met with Dr. SC at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and was immediately convinced that she was the doctor that could restore my breasts, and give me a tummy tuck in the process!!

I finished chemo on June 17th and had my mastectomy on July 23rd. Even though I was having tissue expanders inserted I was still afraid that I would have a flat chest. I had seen pictures of mastectomies and they were NOT pretty. They removed both breasts, 13 lymph nodes on the right and 2 on the left. The surgery went well but the recovery time was much longer than I had anticipated. I was psyched when I got the pathology from the surgery, “complete response to chemo, no residual cancer in the tissue or lymph nodes”. Finally, some good news!

I was amazed that for 2 years I had this huge lump in my breast and all along it was cancer. I thought that at least part of it must be scar tissue, there was no way the whole thing could be cancer! But, I was wrong. When it finally came time for the surgery, my boob was completely squishy for the first time since before the reduction. I couldn’t even feel a lump or anything abnormal. How could that have been missed for so long?! It is still a mystery to me. I’ve only started my road to recovery. I still have to have 6 weeks of radiation 5x a week. The doctors feel that radiation will be beneficial to reduce the chance of local recurrence. After radiation is finished I have to wait 6 months before I can begin the reconstruction process. In the meantime, I’m still going to the hospital to get infusions of Herceptin every 21 days. I have also started hormone therapy which will continue for 5 years; at least it’s just a daily pill.

Cancer has taken a lot from me: my mother, my breasts, my hair, my period (at least for now) and possibly the chance of having children, just to name a few. Aside from losing my mother to this horrible disease, I wouldn’t change a thing because cancer gave me a new perspective on life. Before the big “C” I was pretty much floating along in my life. I stressed about stupid shit, didn’t make healthy lifestyle choices, and avoided any real responsibility. Now I’m seeing the world through rejuvenated eyes. I have to stop and wonder, why just 1 month after my mom’s passing did the tumor start to grow when it hadn’t changed in 2 years? She knew I didn’t want to have the biopsy, so did she have something to do with it growing to make me take notice? Maybe, maybe not . . . I choose to think so.

Ad astra per aspera – a rough road leads to the stars!

National Non-Profit Organization Brings Cervical Cancer Awareness to Big Apple


Just came across this Article from the Wall Street Journal and thought some of you may be interested. This article is about a great Fund raising project going on in NYC. The non for profit organization, Tamika & Friends is conducting its third annual Walk to Beat the Clock. To learn more check out the article and please leave comments letting me know what you think.

NATIONAL NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION BRINGS CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS TO BIG APPLE

THE SILVER LINING TO MY DARK CLOUD



I have mentioned my 3 month surgery a couple times now so I won’t bore you with that again. However, I will re mention that it is a stressful time for me and I dread it. So, in order to make it through I try to create silver linings. The idea that there is just a silver lining is ridiculous and does not work. Sure, I could tell myself, at least I am alive, can walk, use the bathroom on my own but this just doesn’t make me feel better.

So what I do is create my own silver lining. After my exams my mom and I always go to Legal Seafood, eat awesome oysters and drink yummy wine! While I dread my exams I really look forward to oysters and wine, so it makes a really crappy day a lot less crappy. When I start thinking about having to go for the exam I also think about how I will get to eat one of my favorite foods and drink top notch wine.

Another silver lining I create has to do with my very dear friend Jessica (whose last name, coincidentally, use to be Silver). From the start of my fight against cancer Jess and her family have been giving me silver linings. I spent a lot of my original recovery time with them on the Cape and in Rhode Island. It was there that I got to watch her son Eli experience many things for the first time, eat her amazing home cooking, sit on the porch on a beautiful spring evening or spend a day at the beach. I had many things to be sad, angry and confused about but I was often distracted by all the wonderful things I was experiencing because I was sick. At night I would think to myself, “If I didn’t get sick today never would have happened and I loved today”.

This surgery I am going to go stay with Jess and her family on the Cape. I haven’t spent recovery time with them since my March surgery. I am so excited to see how much Eli has grown and to spend some real quality time with one of my closest friends. If I hadn’t have gotten cancer I would only see her once every year at best. Eli would have no idea who I am and spending a weekend on the Cape, forget it.

Create a silver lining of your own! Don’t just try to look at the positive, make some. It’s frustrating and unfair when people tell us to look at all you have, we know what we have and we know what we don’t have. Be fair to yourself and stop expecting to just feel better because you are alive, not gonna happen. Give yourself things to look forward to, to feel good about. I tried it and it works much better than the alternative. Take control of your life and create your own silver linings!

GREAT NEWS!!!


I have had a lot of readers send me emails saying they are concerned about their sex drive after cervical cancer treatments. While this was a concern of mine I haven't felt it has been a big problem, yet. However, it is something that concerns me and I have very little idea what the future brings in this area. We, as cancer patients, are required to undergo extreme treatments. Doctors literally bring us to the brink of death in an effort to free us from cancers tight grip.

Well do I have some good news for both the ladies and men! I came across an article, Sexual satisfaction, not just about biology The article is based on a new study of cervical cancer survivors. The survivors all underwent surgical intervention and 80% of them reported to have a healthy and active sex life. I know this is an important topic and one that many people want to know more about. Read the article and let me know your thoughts!

Sexual satisfaction, not just about biology

STAND UP TO CANCER










So I'm here at home on a Friday night watching Stand Up To Cancer. This is probably one of the most touching important nights I have had in a long time. Its about time we do something like this. Not only does cancer end lives but it does so in such an ugly, painful heartbreaking way. It kills babies, children, teenagers, young adults, adults, elderly...everyone. It steels children, siblings, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, teachers, co-workers, the list goes on and on. Those of us who are lucky enough to survive must battle daily struggles due to the secondary effects that treatments leave us with. If there is a better, more successful or less damaging way to treat this horrible disease it should be available to EVERYONE! I just went onto CafePress and purchased a Stand up to Cancer T-shirt (the survivor one). I sent a coupon to some of my friends. I hope everyone participates and spreads the word.

LETS STAND UP TO CANCER EVERYDAY!

what is wrong with these doctors??????

I just came across this article and it enraged me!! Yet another doctor saying, "you are too young to have cervical cancer" How many women in their 20's need to die of cervical cancer before doctors realize that this cancer DOES NOT KNOW YOU ARE TOO YOUNG! While the doctors seem to think it is impossible for young women to get cervical cancer we all know they they are DEAD WRONG!! By the way, PUN intended!!

YOUNG MOTHERS FEARS OF CANCER

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER






I have posted a lot of links to great websites but I am not sure if people are taking advantage of them. Personally, if I went to a blog like mine and saw a huge list of web page links I would most likely be overwhelmed and not check them out. So, today I am going to write a short synopsis about some of the sites to encourage people to check out those sites that might be HUGELY helpful to them.

during my treatment and recovery I was so overwhelmed with all the information, charities and help being offered that I just pushed it all away. If one thing didn't apply to me I would get all pissy and respond, "that has nothing to do with it wont help" and then I would be turned off by the rest of the offerings. People have to understand that cancer fighters and survivors are MAD, no that's not the right word, we are ANGRY, FURIOUS, FLIPPED OUT, ya that's better ;). Now that I have been out of the woods for a little while and feeling sorta better I have been more open to help and I realized how wonderful it is. So I am encouraging everyone to look at the links I have provided and if you have any you think I should include, SHARE :)

Cancer Symptoms-info. for understanding Cancer Symptoms: This is a good site for those of us who have had or still have cancer. Its a site that explains different symptoms that you may be facing. It has several sections. The Learn Section of each symptom tab provides information about causes and effects of the different cancer treatments. Then the Manage section of each symptom gives helpful advice on how to control or minimize the effects of that cancer treatment related symptom. There is also a tab for Ask an Oncology Nurse that puts you in touch with an actual oncology nurse. I found this site super helpful because I am always experiencing new strange things and instead of calling my doctor every day I can check this site.

TheSAMFund: This group is amazing for young adults. People who have been diagnosed after the cut off date for most aid. They offer scholarships for everything, rent, medical bills, last year the woman who introduced me to this link won a scholarship to see her psychologist. I know I will be looking into this more because my insurance dropped me, I live in FL and I can only get medical care in Massachusetts. I haven't been able to see a psychologist but I think I should ;)

Bald Is Beautiful
: LOVE this one. This site was created an Sharon Blynn, an ovarian cancer survivor who decided to use her experience and healing choices to help others learn to flip the script cancer! There are some really great things on this site and I encourage you to visit it, check it out and share it. Sharon will be writing a guest post this month for my blog so keep a look out for her ;)

Young Adults with Cancer
: This is a great site as well. They have a lot of links and you are sure to find one that fits what you are looking for. Personally, I use this site a lot and I recommend you take a look to see if it has anything that might be useful for you.

Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation
: This foundation treats families to "WOW" experiences. The foundation provides a fun family experience for children who will soon lose their mom or dad to cancer. I recommend you take advantage of this site foundation if it is something that applies to you. Its a great idea to give the family that one last journey together and leave the children with fond memories during a very sad time.

I Give: This is pretty cool. You can shop online at over 700 brand name stores, Gap, Best Buy, Staples, Home Depot, Nordstrom etc...and a portion of each purchase is donated to your favorite cause. I know most of us shop at at least a couple of these stores so why not go through this site and give some much needed $ to charity!

Fellow Fighter Lindsey aka Lynz

I like to share with everyone other people's stories, if they let me. Today is Lindsey's Birthday and she has kindly allowed me to share her story with you. Please read what she has written, comment and wish her a happy birthday :)






Another Chapter in my Book: A Survivor's Story
By Lindsey aka Lynz


I was too young, according to doctors, to have anything wrong with me. Every PAP I've ever had has been normal, although my cervix always looked "funny."


Unfortunately, none of this is funny.


At 19, I started noticing abnormal vaginal discharge, I never had discharge before. I had tons of pelvic pain and abnormal periods. As the year progressed, the discharge became more discolored, sex began causing me pain and bleeding.


In 2004, I moved to Davis, CA to attend the University of California, Davis (UCD). I needed my birth control prescription renewed so I went to the UCD Health Center. When I was getting my PAP my cervix started bleeding so heavily that the Nurse Practitioner couldn't get an accurate smear. She told me my cervix looked "funny." I mentioned to her that for the past 3 years every time my GP gave me a PAP she said I had cervicitis, but that my PAPs always came back normal. She said it was all ok and she'd send in what she got from the smear and let me know. She informed me later that my PAP was normal but my cervix looked funny, it was nothing to worry about and that I needed to take some antibiotics and reschedule with her for a follow-up. Being a full-time pre-med student, I thought she was full of shit and unprofessional. This was in late September of 2004.


In Feb. of 2005, the same NP at UCD Health started calling and emailing me, so I made an appointment to go see her. Then and only then, did she inform me that in September I had a tumor on my cervix and now it had grown to about 3 times the size of what it was 5 months before. I was completely outraged, how does a tumor constitute "funny" and how did she neglect to tell me there was a tumor there to begin with? I immediately informed her I wanted to see a specialist.


Within 2 weeks, I was at the Sutter Women's Health Center in Davis, CA. The GYN I saw was amazing. She took one look at my cervix, informed me that it was entirely abnormal and that she wanted to remove as much of the tumor that she could get at right that instant. I, of course agreed. I thought I had a STD. I prayed for a STD.


30 minutes of excruciating pain followed, while the GYN did what is referred to as a pinch biopsy. This is a procedure in which forceps are used to pinch and rip off tissue. I bled so much that she had to stop half way through to slow the bleeding so she could make sure she got it all. No pain pills, no topical anesthesia, nothing. I left in complete shock, sat in my car and freaked out. I was a 20 year-old college student, all alone, in a new city, praying for a STD.


Days later on March 31st, 2005, my GYN called me, as I sat waiting for my class on the first day of Spring Quarter, she told me I had cancer. Not only did I have cancer, but the tumor was a larger sized tumor, and a very rare form of cervical cancer.


I had adenocarcinoma of the cervix, only about 15% of all women who get cervical cancer get this form of cancer. It is very aggressive and I needed to see a specialist right away!


The next week I was sitting in front of one of the best GYN Oncologists in CA. Dr. Dalrymple. This man is amazing, I owe my life to him. He was the most considerate, caring doctor I ever met.


By May, 2005 I was scheduled for a cone biopsy. It went well, or so we thought. The results came back with evidence that the cancer may have spread to my lymph nodes. Due to the rare form of cancer, my age, and the size of my tumor (over 2 cm), everyone was stumped. No one wanted to believe I had cancer, I was too young!


My case went before the Tumor Board, they were stumped, so it went out to MD Anderson in Texas, still stumped, Stanford, and countless other places, everyone was still stumped!


My GYN-ONC wanted to make sure he was making the best choices for me and my fertility. After about 12 second opinions, and extremely close monitoring, I was scheduled for a radical trachelectomy and laparoscopic lymphadenectomy. This was to provide me with a chance of having kids, but I was crushed because it meant I couldn't carry twins to term.


I had to drop out of school, move home with my dad, and I sunk into incredibly deep depression. I felt so alone, and scared. I could feel myself dying. I suffered from muscle atrophy and lost 28 pounds in about 3 weeks.


My surgery was November of 2005. A radical tracelectomy is a fairly new and modern procedure. At the time about 300 women worldwide had undergone the surgery. What they do is remove the cervix, surrounding tissues, lymph nodes, and add a cervical cerclage (it's a permanent stitch to close up where the cervix once was).


My surgery took 6 hours, it was at UCDMC in Sacramento, CA (the worst hospital in Sacramento). Needless to say, after the 6 hours; I woke up in the worst pain I had felt in my life, I couldn't talk, the nurses were mean and rude to me, I was in recovery for 8 hours, and I stopped breathing, woke up and was entirely alone because my nurse neglected me. Needless to say I checked myself out of the hospital 2 days early.


It took over 6 hours to make a 3 hour drive home, my dad was terrified. I was delirious with pain. I looked like someone had hit me with a 2x4; I was bruised from hip to hip, about 4 inches wide. I couldn't see my feet.


My doctor told me that the surgery in Nov. went well, that I was done. I went home to recover, and found my current boyfriend, D.


By Jan 2006, we knew he was wrong. I sat in Dr. Dalrymple's office, holding my new boyfriend's hand, when he told me the worst, I needed to have a hysterectomy and another lymphadenectomy. I was stoic. The calm before the storm. Anger rising, heart breaking, fears flooding me. I was so consumed; I looked so pulled together and strong, but I was dying all over again.


They gave me 6 months to heal from the Nov surgery. I switched Oncologists so that I could have the surgery at a better hospital in Fresno, CA where I was living with my dad. But I kept Dr. Dalrymple because I needed him, he told me everything straight, and even gave me the information most patients never get, because I was going to be a doctor too, and he had faith in me.


My new Oncologist was a complete jerk. He was a great surgeon though! He didn't give me any information about menopause, hysterectomy, nothing! I told him to take my ovaries, since I was always having problems with them and didn't want another major surgery in 6 months to go in for them. He said I was stupid. I persisted! The biopsy on my ovaries informed me I wasn't stupid, they were full of cysts!!!


Everyone says, "you're so young, what about kids, what about menopause?" Well, in Nov I lost my chance for twins, with the surgery, I had a very high risk of miscarriage, and all I ever wanted was twins. So, my heart broke then. When it was time for my hysterectomy, I was so over having cancer that I just wanted to get it over with. My chance for my own twins was gone, freezing my eggs just wasn't an option, and really? would I want to have my genes passed on? NO! These genes are the reason for my cancer! I wouldn't want to have a daughter with the same fate!


Menopause...Well, because I am so young, I have no choice but to be on Hormone Replacement Therapy, so I don't have hot flashes. I do have vaginal problems. I am dry, which frustrates me to no end! And lube is so expensive, and it takes away from spontaneity. Luckily D was here during the worst part of all this, he knows and he is pretty understanding.


So now, I'm 24 as of Sept 3rd, 2008. I am menopausal, cancer free (thus far), in a long-term committed relationship with the love of my life, a UCD graduate, and a lab manager at UCD working on research pertaining to couples and their emotions over time. I am happy and alive.

MY BOYFRIEND SAID I NEEDED TO POST THIS


Many women have been asking for my advice with regards to how to deal with an abnormal PAP or what to do if you think something is "wrong". My immediate answer is GO TO A GYNECOLOGICAL ONCOLOGIST! Do not pass go, do not go to a second OBGYN, do not go to your GP go to the specialist. Why do I say this? Here is why:

I was misdiagnosed by two OBGYN's and a GP. I had countless pelvic exams, PAPs, biopsys, ultra sounds etc...I was told by ALL my doctors nothing was wrong. When I went to the ER and the CT scan showed a large mass that was most likely a tumor my OBGYN continued to mistreat me. They put me on antibiotics that made me deathly ill & ordered horribly painful and useless ultra sounds. Because my CT showed what looked like a tumor the doctors were required to call in a gynecological oncologist. This man came into my hospital room, propped me up on a bed pan and did a pelvic exam right there. Without hesitation he said: "STAGE 3B CERVICAL CANCER". Just like that folks!!

Don't waste your time and put your life in harms way. Do it the right way the first time!

Today is one of those TOUGH days




Today is one of those tough days. I can't quite put my finger on why. On these days I try to figure out why I am feeling down so that I can deal with it and move forward. That is the hard part of being a survivor and fighter. You don't always know why you feel sad, angry or frustrated.

I do know that I have surgery coming up. Ever three months with no end point. These surgeries cause me a lot of anxiety. They prevent me from leaving this all behind me and moving forward. The general anesthesia makes my mind foggy. Being back in the hospital brings back terrible memories. I experience pain and exhaustion. I have to watch my family and friends be stressed over my surgery. I have to be absent from law school classes, be away from friends and my home. I HATE IT!! Most people don't fully understand how much suffering these surgeries cause me because I put on that smile and act like its no big deal, well it is. Its a huge deal. there are 12 months out of the year and I have surgery 4 of those months.

People in my life seem to have become accustom to these surgeries, I have not! While I try to I don't think I ever will. These surgeries take up a large amount of my life. If I'm not actually having surgery I am scheduling the appointments, making travel arrangements, working out my school schedule, finding rides to the airport, a place to stay, what parent can take time off from work, talking on the phone with pre-op nurses. I pray that one day these surgeries will no longer be a part of my life.

As always thank you for your support :)

Meaghan

CERVICAL CANCER STEALS ANOTHER YOUNG LIFE!


I wanted to share this with you. This beautiful, young woman died at age 27 from Cervical Cancer! Her PAP's came back normal but she knew something was wrong. GP's didn't think anything was wrong but there was, she had advanced cervical cancer. This is exactly what happened to me but for some reason God wasn't ready to take me. 9 months later I was cancer free but this young woman was dead. YOUNG WOMEN GET CERVICAL CANCER AND IT CAN KILL YOU!!! PLEASE BE AWARE AND DON'T LET YOUR GP TELL YOU NOTHING IS WRONG OR YOU ARE TOO YOUNG!!!

Please click the link to watch this video:

"DEADLY DISEASE TOOK MY DAUGHTER"