It’s well past time that I revive my blog. So sorry for the long delay, but life happens. Anyway, I had to tell you about some fabulous news! After almost 4 years, my oncologist finally gave me the green light to get rid of that nasty chemo port!
Oh sure, I was able to do anything I wanted to with it in – a couple of triathlons, a marathon, swimming – you name it. But while it was in, I endured monthly trips to the doc to get the thing flushed, accompanied every time by at least one finger stick to check my blood. (Here, use THIS finger..) For almost four years I’ve had to take blood thinning medication. I’ve had to worry that this port might break like the last one, and maybe this time I wouldn’t be so lucky when it moved through my heart…
My oncologist was erring on the side of caution. He said he didn’t want to tempt fate, that keeping my port in would make sure that the Big C wouldn’t come back. I’m not sure what changed his mind, but it may be due to the fact that I had lost almost 15 pounds from the last time I saw him. (More about that later.) I see my surgeon tomorrow for a check up and I’ll get everything worked out with her. I am so ready for this thing to be GONE. It has served its purpose, for which I thank it very much, but like an unwelcome houseguest, it overstayed its welcome.
I know now that the cancer will NOT be back, and, god forbid it does come back, I will NOT go through more chemo. There are way too many alternatives out there that I would feel completely comfortable with. In fact, I’ve changed several things about my lifestyle and diet, with the help of a Naturopath doctor, that I am confident will help me create a body that will be inhospitable to cancer. This has been several months in the making, and I’m seeing very good results.
But let’s back up a bit so you know how I got here. Last October, I started having pains in my lower right side. If you have read my other blog posts, you know about my friend who had the Whipple procedure because some pre-cancerous spots were found in her pancreas. All because she had appendicitis. I had this in the back of my head, certainly not thinking that it was anything more ominous. Perhaps just a touch of indigestion. But, since my friend actually had a ruptured appendix with NO symptoms, I thought I had better let my doctors check it out. To make a long story short, several spots were found on my liver, but we needed more tests to see what they were. Not good news.
When some of my friends heard about this, they were all concerned for me, and asked me how I was taking the news. They were fearing the worst. I had already heard the worst, over 3 years ago, so my reaction truly was, “Meh. What’s on TV tonight?” I have very little fear left in me for anything, let alone cancer. Screw it, let’s just get on with the business of living life, eh?
After more tests, the results were something called fatty liver, which is actually quite common. It has several causes, both alcohol- and non-alcohol-related. In women taking Tamoxifen, it can be a common side effect. I’m taking a drug very similar, Anastrozole, for a similar purpose, but there is no clear correlation, at least none that anyone will admit to. However, in spite of all my physical activity, I had gained almost 20 pounds since I started taking this drug, so that could have had something to do with it. (Weight gain is another side effect of other cancer drugs that, in my case, my doctor would not admit to. Well he can kiss my marathon-running ass, on each cheek.)
The ultimate result is that I decided to take some time off from my other pursuits, leaving only my job with the symphony and plenty of time to deal with my health. I know I’m on the right track. So, when I went into my doctor’s office and told him I wanted my port out, I think he took a look at the different person in front of him and agreed.
In my next post, I’ll tell y’all more about what I’m actually doing, because I feel it’s really important information for anyone to know, whether or not they have had cancer. We are completely, 100% capable of changing our health for the better, I’m more convinced of that now than ever!