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New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

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

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: New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

Posted by Elsie13 on Jan 5, 2021 1:50 pm

Hello JRH78‍ .  That must have been a terrible shock, thinking you had a bladder infection, and then being sent to the cancer centre!
Glad to see that you met Whitelilies‍ on your 'public wall.'

I had the same chemo as you, paclitaxel and carboplatin.  There are likely other chemo drugs which they'll try,  and/or radiation?  Did they say when the would contact you about your next treatment?  (Wondering when the phone will ring is no fun.)  Hope the doctors decide soon on your treatments! 

Maybe JustJan‍ and KathiR‍ will say hello. 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

Posted by JustJan on Jan 5, 2021 2:45 pm

JRH78‍, I am so glad that you felt comfortable joining the site and posting your story. I hope you will find support and strength here. You have had quite a roller coaster ride so far. 

I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 59 in January 2019. In May of 2019
I was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer which was found on a baseline CT Scan.

Like you, I had carboplatin and paclitaxol and I also had a severe reaction to the paclitaxol. However, with the help of meds I was able to continue for my 6 treatments and didn’t react after the first one. The paclitaxol definitely caused pain and spasms for days 3-5 following chemo. I worked with my oncologist to have a plan to manage which worked well for me. Hot baths, heating pads and combo of Tylenol and Advil definitely helped take the edge off. 

I’m sure they will find another drug to replace the paclitaxol. Although these hiccups are new to us as patients, the doctors have seen it several times and will be able to devise a new plan in short order. I would be surprised if your treatment was delayed at all or if delayed, just by a few days. Do you have an appointment for chemo followup? If so, they may not tell you until that appointment what the plan is for moving forward. 

The waiting and uncertainty is one of the toughest parts of being a cancer patient.

Please let me know if there are any specific questions you may have. Hang in there! 
Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn't. - Rikki Rogers

Re: New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

Posted by JRH78 on Jan 6, 2021 12:46 am

Thank you for your kind messages! 

I haven't been told when I would get more information on the alternative medication, and I'm assuming my next chemo will be January 23rd. I have an appointment for follow up at the first part of February,  but so far nothing set up for January.  That being said, though,  I did have a biopsy on my uterus last week, and so there should be some kind of meeting,  I'm assuming, once the results from that are back. 

I'm really not sure if the joint pain will be as bad this time around,  since I didn't get much of the dose of paclitapac. If it does get bad, I have already had my Tramadol prescription renewed,  so I will continue to take that with Extra Strength Advil. Those two together are the only things that seem to dull the pain a bit. And hot showers. By showers I mean sitting on my shower chair and just running the hot water over my joints. It's always lovely.  

Again, thank you for the warm welcome.  You are all so incredible! 

Re: New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

Posted by Sandy L on Jan 6, 2021 10:06 am

Hi!

I'm sorry you had to become a member of our group, but there is always a bright side to everything. Twenty one years ago I became a member with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer along with massive pulmonary embolisms and a Ca 125 of 9800.  I arrived in remission after finishing treatment (3 chemo's before surgery and 6 after - Taxol and Carbo) and doing some 'alternative' things as well.  I continue to treasure every day and hope and pray for many others to be as fortunate as I was.  

I live in BC but did all my consults and treatments at the Tom Baker Cancer centre, where everyone was really great and even gave me hope. So, good luck with your journey and please do keep in touch with us all!

Re: New To The Idea of Cancer in my Life Story

Posted by BeamBlossom on Jan 6, 2021 10:32 am

Hi there JRH78‍ 

I like the subject title of your post as I too feel just like I am new to the idea of Cancer being in my life story too, what's it doing in there anyway? I was diagnosed in Dec 2019 and still can't get used to it. I had 3 rounds of Carbo/taxol, then debulking surgery followed by another 4 rounds of carbo/taxol. Like you, I had the very same reaction to the taxol, my first infusion I reacted with the swollen throat sensation, nurses administered high doses of antihistamines and steroids and reduced the titration rate and all was fine, the 2nd time, I reacted as you did, I describe it as feeling like being electrocuted with the jolts of pain down my spine followed by incredible muscle cramping. The nursing ream intervened again and got everything under control. My oncologist felt strongly that I had to have the taxol and so the titration rate was kept extremely low, and they pretreated me with the steroids and antihistamines, this increased the time of my treatment to 6+ hours, but I was able to get through all of the 7 treatments.  In hindsight, it is a good thing that my oncologist pushed me to be challenged with the taxol because here I am a year later and have already recurred and deemed resistant to the effects of  carboplatin, so there is likely to be more taxol in my future.    

I can imagine that it is scary to be waiting for your next treatment steps knowing there is cancer still growing within you, I feel that too as I wait for the decision on my next treatment plan to deal with this recurrence. I think that we imagine it grows much faster than it really does and I just remind myself that it was here growing within me for many months before it was initially diagnosed. If you are at stage 2, your cancer was caught fairly early which puts you in a great position to overcome this.