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Good Morning

Good Morning

Posted by JRH78 on Jan 5, 2021 11:13 am

I posted this in the Ovarian Cancer section, but thought I'd post here, too. 

Good morning! I'm 42 years old, living in Calgary,  AB. In September I was experiencing severe constipation and some other problems,  that I just attributed to a weight loss injection I had been taking since January of 2020. I decided to stop with the injections until I could get those issues sorted out. However,  the pain was so bad, I was constantly taking Tylenol and Advil just to be able to function.  I finally went to urgent care after I finished work at 6am on September 30th. I really just figured I had a bladder infection or something. I will forever be thankful to the doctor who treated me that day. She was very thorough. My bloodwork came back normal, as did the urine tests. So, she sent me to have an ultrasound,  including an internal one. Then I came back to see her for the results,  and she told me that a mass was found. She sent me straight to the hospital for a CT scan, and it sounded like they might even operate that day. But, after the CT scan, the ER doctor came over to let me know they found the mass to be on my right ovary, and to go home and wait for a call from Dr. Nelson's team at the Tom Baker Center.  As I was leaving the hospital,  I saw what I didn't know... that it was the Tom Baker CANCER Center.  I feel like I've been on a roller coaster since then. 

Surgery was supposed to remove the mass,  and a full hysterectomy,  as well, if the pathologist suspected it was cancer from looking at the mass, they would do some debulking and remove my appendix. Apparently ovarian cancer likes to live in the appendix (and yes, cancer was found there). After my surgery, I was told that there were some complications,  and they couldn't remove everything,  but they got the mass, my right ovary and fallopian tube.. and my appendix. So, I knew right away that it was cancer. I finally met with the team on December 10th and was told I have endometrioid carcinoma 2B. But, I'm waiting on the results from a biopsy of my uterus... so, it might change,  depending on what they find there. 

I have had 2 rounds of chemo so far. One was December 17th. I am taking paclitaxel and carboplatin. My first time, I had a reaction to the paclitaxel.  I couldn't breath. So, they gave me more drugs to counter act that and slowed it down.. I was fine. My second time was yesterday,  and even though I was given all of the extra pre-meds I still had the same reaction to the paclitaxel.  As soon as it started, I knew, because I couldn't breathe, and this time there were spasms shootingup and down my spine. It's pretty scary. So, they stopped it, and the doctors advised them not to try it again. So, I had a bit of the paclitaxel and the carboplatin. Now, I have to wait to see what the decision is for my next treatment.  I'm a bit frustrated,  because I feel like this is going to affect my treatment timeline. But,  it's probably for the best. I'm also just waiting for the at home side effects.  Last time I had very bad joint pain for about 8 days. I'm not sure if it will be so bad this time without the full dose of paclitaxel or not. Only time will tell. 

So, that's my story. I am married,  have no children,  but two wonderful comfort kitties. My family is back in New Brunswick,  and COVID is making it so hard. My sister wants nothing more than to come out here to see me, but the quarantine requirements on her side make it almost impossible.  

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Boby1511 on Jan 5, 2021 2:30 pm

JRH78‍ 
hi there, sorry to meet you here.
When do you get the other results?
When do you get the follow up doc apt for the treatment change?
Share what you are comfortable.
I had the full removal (ovaries, tubes, cervix, ect.)
That is some scary reactions you've had. Are you allergic? 
I only got the joint pain from the lapelga (white count booster).
Sending best wishes on your treatments.
 

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Lacey_Moderator on Jan 5, 2021 2:31 pm

Welcome JRH78‍ 

I'm so glad you found our community! What a scary experience with your chemo. I hope they figure out a new treatment plan that works better for you. 

I'm so glad you have found our Ovarian cancer discussion. I'd like to introduce you to Sadie12‍, PinkRouge‍, laj‍, Roxanne‍ who all recently joined our community as well. I hope they can share more about themselves with you. 

I'd also like to introduce you to some other cat lovers Brighty‍ and Runner Girl‍ :) Who doesn't love sharing about their fur babies. 

I hope the next few days go okay and you don't experience any discomfort. 

Lacey

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Runner Girl on Jan 5, 2021 3:49 pm

Hello JRH78‍ 

While I don't have your type of cancer, mine was breast cancer, I do live in Calgary, I do attend the Tom Baker, I have 2 13 year old cats and I did have Carboplatin as part of my chemo treatment.  I did not fare well with the Carboplatin - it affected my ears, after my 2nd treatment with it I had zero balance, 2 years later I still have a constant ringing in my ears from the damage it did.  After the Carboplatin fail they tried me with Cyclophosphamide - this was an even worse fail.  4 hours after infusion I felt like I had two bony hands trying to crush my chest.  The remainder of my chemo was done with only Docetaxal, which I had minor difficulties with.

My girl cat, Cali, is my heart kitty.  She was by my side after my lumpectomy, when I struggled with chemo side effects and beyond.  She is now struggling with aging and is on pain medication to help with her quality of life.  Her brother, Diego, is a fat, meowing in the night, hates everyone but me pain in the butt - but I love him just the same.

Are you hydrating well during and after chemo?  I know its hard, but drinking lots of water after chemo really helps flush your body and might help with the strength of the side effects.

Runner Girl
Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen every day!

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Brighty on Jan 5, 2021 4:03 pm

JRH78‍ I'm so glad you connected with so many awsome members and got some fabulous advice!!!!! I did not go through  cancer but I was a caregiver  to my fiance who had stage 4 esophageal cancer.   I do share your love of cats if you ever want to talk cats.   I have a chubby fur ball named Vinnie who is the joy my existence.    He is 9 now and i adopted him when he was 6.    He was by my side night after night while I cried over my fiance.     He is the best company and my best friend.     He makes me laugh with his antics.     I wish you the best with treatments  and feel free to connect  with any of us if you have questions or want to chat.      
Help is out there. All you have to do is reach out.

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Sadie12 on Jan 5, 2021 6:39 pm

Hello JRH78‍ 

I don't have really any advice because I've been on this road only a bit longer than you.  I had (and I choose to say it that way) Ovarian Serous Grade 3B diagnosed Sept 28th, had the full hysterectomy including both ovaries, uterus, tubes, cervix, lymph nodes and omentum Oct 21.  The surgeon believes that I was fully debulked.  First chemo with paclitaxel and carboplatin Nov 30, second Dec 21. 2 down, 4 more to go.

I am sorry that you've had a bad go of the treatments.  I had an allergic reaction to something (I'm not even sure which piece it was that caused it), but they stopped it, gave me Benadryl, tried again, stopped again, gave me more Benadryl thru IV until I got through it.  The second time, they gave me Benadryl plus another drug and I got through the treatment without issue.  

Someone mentioned hydration...I drink a LOT of water.  I had heard to drink 2L a day around chemo time...decaf tea and juices count, too.

I am currently rocking a bald head and have had to resort to a sleeping pill.  Otherwise, I haven't yet had overwhelming side effects (yes to nausea, diarrhea, bad joint aches and fatigue for few days).  My surgeon\oncologist told me at the beginning that I should feel like I have the flu for a couple days and for me, it's been that way so far (touch wood!).  

I hope you have good communication with your cancer care team.  I know that being in the dark about the plan and feeling powerless is NOT a good feeling.  I am in the midst of changing cancer centres from one region to another (long story) and it has not been smooth.  

I hear you that COVID has put another layer of **** on top of our cancer journey.  

I don't feel that I've been on this road long enough to be helpful to anyone else yet.  However, I'll share this anyway.  While I was recuperating in the hospital, an acquaintance who didn't know I had been diagnosed shared on Facebook that she was 30 years surviving after being diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of breast cancer.  I contacted her a week or so later, telling her that I had seen that post at a very good time.  She pointed me to a book by Bernie S. Seigel titled 'Love, Medicine and Miracles'.  It's from 1984, so I had to find a used one.  I'm not quite done the book, but it changed things for me as I've read it.
I meditate (this makes me feel very good), try to rest (I am raising 2 little ones), try to exercise/walk 30 min a day, try to do what I love (which is art), keep a gratitude journal, work to be happy and at peace.  I do think this is as important as the medicine to feeling good and hope to effect the long-range health as well.

I have had special cats in my life...now I have a former feral cat that I found starving in my shed...who is a biter and is bent on destroying my ensuite bathroom.  Watcha gonna do?

Glad you found this site.  I've only been on for a couple weeks, but it's nice to have people who know and are in your corner.
  
  

Re: Good Morning

Posted by JRH78 on Jan 6, 2021 1:06 am

Thank you all for the warm welcome. It feels great to see just how caring everyone is. 

I'll try to answer some of your questions.  I don't know when I will find out what the plan is for my new medications.  I just had a biopsy on my uterus last week, so maybe once the results are back from that, and things have been determined by the cancer board, they will call me in for an appointment.  I do feel like my chemo team is available when I need them. I phoned them a lot after my first round, just to see what I could take for pain meds. I also developed a UTI, which is weird for me, but the team assured me that it would be fine for my family doctor to deal with. 

I love hearing about all of your cats! I'll tell you about mine. We have Jingles, who has been with us since we were in Korea 10 years ago! This guy loves me, and is a big scaredy cat. He basically spends his whole life in bed. He truly thinks it's his bed, and while he doesn't mind sharing it with me, he let's my husband know when it's time to vacate in the mornings,  if he's too late getting up, haha.  Pumpkin,  she's really my husband's cat. She has been with us for 2 years. She's not a snuggler,  but when I'm feeling particularly horrible,  she will come up and knead on my blanket with some purrs for me. She also comes into the bathroom with me for some loving when I'm not feeling too great. Both kitties are just so comforting,  and we would be lost without them. I get so much joy watching my husband interact with his Pumpkin! It's pretty precious.  

Water. Ugh. I keep hearing that I need to drink more of it. I'm just really struggling with it. I am addicted to diet Pepsi, and it seems like my taste buds go off of it for a short period of time after my chemo treatment days, but it usually comes back. I just don't know how to kick that habit. 

I hope you are all having a fabulous week! Thank you again for the warm welcome! 

Re: Good Morning

Posted by Cynthia Mac on Jan 6, 2021 6:22 am

Hi, JRH78‍ ,

Chiming in with a kitty story and some water alternatives for you. I just posted a reply in this discussion with respect to alternatives to water (and also to Diet Pepsi). I’m a die-hard caffeine-free Diet Coke drinker who has had a long drought since the pandemic hit and it’s become so hard to find. (When I say die-hard, it’s more to do with the choice of product than the amount of it I actually consume.)

My kitty is Miss Molly. I rescued this “house panther” after I found she’d had a litter of kittens nearby. I contacted a local rescue and they helped me foster out the kittens, and they fixed mommacat so I could adopt her. Years earlier, I’d owned Siamese cats, and I always enjoyed their personality, but I enjoy my stray’s personality just as much! Here’s her latest “portrait shot:”

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Thanks for starting the conversation. I hope they’re able to sort out your treatment regimen so that you can continue on without having such a bad reaction.
“When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.” - Japanese saying

Re: Good Morning

Posted by JRH78 on Jan 6, 2021 7:32 am

Cynthia Mac‍ Oh your Miss Molly is beautiful! She must bring you so much joy! 

These are my loves. The first photo is of my Jingle Bells snoozing on the sofa with me. He likes to be close by when I'm in pain. 

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This second photo is sweet Pumpkin.  She has very much been enjoying all the lovely,  soft blankets that have been gifted to us since this journey began.

Man, they drive me bonkers some days, but I love them both with all my heart! 

Thanks for the water advice. I am going to start making it a priority to get it in my system from today on! 

Re: Good Morning

Posted by WestCoastSailor on Jan 7, 2021 11:09 am

JRH78‍ 

Definitely don't have this cancer. (Mine are breast and lung) But interestingly my initial chemo was exactly the same. And it took till the second round till my body decided paclitaxol was an invader and it better have an allergic reaction. Amazing reaction from the nurses and my oncologist. But like they did with you, they boosted the Benadryl and slowed the infusion down and I got through it. The next infusion was a challenge. They slowed it down, way down. And increased my dexamethsone prep for it. Every little gasp or tightness was an anticipation of a new reaction. But in my case, I made it through and through the next three to finish a course of six.

I have kitties too. Must be a cancer thing?

I did want to add to the hydration discussion too. I found a sipper bottle was the best thing. And on occasion I added basil or mint to it to change the pace a bit. It is important and it is hard to get enough. I used some mental imagery too. Imagining the water flushing the poison chemo out along with the blasted remnants of the cancer cells helped.

And indeed it seems like you have found the warmth of this community, welcome.

Angus
My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca