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3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go 3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

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Unread 03-17-2004, 05:40 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

Ladies, I need a pep talk. I'm 36, no kids, adeno cervical cancer stage 1B. Rad hysterectomy with ovaries spared on 1/13. Recovered ok from surgery, went back to work 20 days later. But they found 2 microscopic spots on 1 of 21 lymph nodes, so had to do both radiation (28 cycles) and chemo (cisplatin weekly on Wednesdays) for 6 cycles.

Radiation I've done 13 of 28; Chemo finished 3 of 6 today. But the radiation will kill the ovaries I fought so hard to save. I'm doing well on the chemo and radiation so far, although my appetite and energy levels are not what they were and my bowels are wreaking havoc on me and I have to pee every ten seconds. And I've got some radiation burn that makes me feel sore all the time.

Sometimes it feels like this hell will never be over. Worry that I'll be like a dried up old woman if and when I ever have sex again. The whole world thinks my attitude is completely positive and that I'm handling this incredibly well, but I feel like a depressed mess at times. Mostly, just tired of the daily trip to the hospital for radiation.

Thanks for letting me vent. Know I'll get through this -- my end date of April 7 is just around the corner, but sometimes it feels like another 3 weeks of treatment is an eternity.
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Unread 03-17-2004, 06:47 PM
pep talk

Hi Annie,

Firstly, a big because I think you need it.

Secondly, I think you are almost my twin! My story is similar but I'm a bit behind you....starting the same chemo/radiation as you at the beginning of April. I also had my ovaries removed with my radical hysterectomy so I've already hit menopause (at 31, yikes).

I don't know exactly what to say to you that might help but just know that you can get through this, you're already half way!!!! (Please remind me that I said this when I'm at my half way mark)

As for the menopause thing, it hasn't been too bad for me. I started on HRT (estrace) while in the hospital and haven't noticed any difference. I still have interest in sex which was one of the biggest stresses that I had.

I too am worried about how the radiation and chemo will effect me in the long term but I know that surviving the cancer is more important.

You can do this....think of me as being your section. Kick that cancer's butt

keep your chin up and take one day at a time.
Unread 03-17-2004, 07:08 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go


Sorry that you are dealing with all this, and although my cancer and experience was different, I can just imagine how this must "get" to you at times.

Some women have used "visualization" when they get their treatments--picturing those cancer cells suddenly on the run as the radiation or chemo suddenly appears on the scene and kicks butt! If you do a search for visualization techniques on this site--you'll come up with some great ones...and funny, too.

Also, if you read through the Cancer Concerns threads, you'll find lots of women at various stages of radiation therapy--and even better, stories of women who've gotten through it and recovered from the side effects. So hang in there, Annie!

I see you're from NYC. I'm in Elizabeth, NJ--just across the river, or the Goethals Bridge, depending on where you are! So let me give you a wave!

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Unread 03-17-2004, 07:08 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

Thanks, Connie...your post meant a lot to me. 98% of the time I'm truly ok, it's the 2% (usually at night, when I have too much time to think) that it gets tough.

How come you're not starting til April? Do you have kids already?
I'm working through the whole thing, so it's not as bad as for some. Funny how this whole thing can be put in perspective...I spoke to a woman today during chemo wait who had surgery at same time but was in hospital for 5 weeks...she's stage 4 and not in good shape.
Unread 03-17-2004, 09:32 PM
glad to help

Annie, So glad that I could help in some small way. I find that most of the time I'm o.k. too (and people remark about how well I'm handling everything) and then once in a while I break down and have a good cry.

A close girlfriend of mine had a good cry with me when I was first diagnosed and then said "o.k., you have 5 minutes a day from now on in which you can cry your heart out....then you have to pull it together". What a blessing that was and it has helped tremendously to keep things in perspective.

I have two little boys (almost 4 and almost 2) and they give me strength every single day. I know that it would have been tough to face all of this if I had not yet had children....but I would have found another way to have them even if not biologically. Do you have children yet?

It's good for me to hear that you're doing well 98% of the time because it gives me encouragement that I will be o.k. too! You are obviously a strong person.

I can't start treatment until early April because I am only coming 5 weeks post-op right now. They told me that I had to heal a bit before beginning treatment and it seems that 6 weeks is their magic number for everything.

The toughest part of the treatment for me I think will be that I have to travel 550 kms away from home. That will mean being away from my husband, kids, friends, home, etc....all of my supports and comforts for the six weeks. I live in Northern Alberta and we don't have radiation equipment at our nearest city, only chemo. Anyways, I do have family and friends to stay with out in Edmonton and will fly home weekends when I'm able.

My parents are coming to help my husband with the kids and they're awesome and have all said they'd come to me whenever I'm lonely or struggling or can't make the trip.

This really does seem unreal sometimes doesn't it? I never dreamed in a million years that I might be diagnosed with cancer at this age. There is a genetic/familial ovarian cancer in my family and so it was always in the back of my mind that I might be struck with that one-day....the ovarian risk is why they also took my ovaries.

Anyways....I'll be thinking of you as you go through your treatments, try to keep your chin up. Perhaps we can hook up sometime by PM so I can ask you some questions about the treatments.

Unread 03-17-2004, 11:58 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

Hi Annie,
I went through the same treatment and felt the same way. I grew weary of hearing how wonderful I was doing when I didn't feel all that wonderful. I had the bladder thing for a couple of weeks and that was my lowest point. Since I had to go to the bathroom every 90 minutes, I was up all night and never felt rested. That made EVERYTHING seem worse. The daily trip to the hospital is the pits. I have been out of treatment for 8 months and I still can't bear driving by the hospital. I hate everything about the place, induding the depressing parking lot. I just hate it!!!

Get a calendar and mark the days you have left. Celebrate every single milestone. Single digit day! Half way done day! 2/3 done day! 3/4 done day! Count them on one hand day!

On the day I had chemo and radiation I always went out to dinner, any place I wanted. My husband let me choose. I ate what I wanted and drank what I wanted too. Find ways to celebrate and think of rewards for yourself, as many as you can, both big and small. My husband planned a trip for us, for a few weeks after treatment ended. It was wonderful to have something fun to look forward to.

I am now fine. I have virtually no side effects. I sometimes have two or three bowel movements a day, but most days now it's only one. That is IT! I have NOTHING else. Sex is just like it always was, great. I have plently of energy. While I would rather have not had cancer, I can say that I am happier now than I was a year ago, prior to the diagnosis. And, no, I can't begin to explain why or how that has happened. It's not something that I expected.

You will get through this, as awful as it is. You are making progress. The bladder thing will improve pretty quickly after treatment. In the meantime, over the next few weeks, pamper yourself. Do you what you want to do. Treat everyday like it's your birthday and don't do anything you don't have to do and don't want to do.

Hang in there. It's awful, but you can do it!
Unread 03-18-2004, 06:44 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

Hi Annie,

I'm 9 weeks postop. Total hyst plus removed tumour near rectum -I have ovarian cancer stage 2. Protocol calls for surgery and chemo but I told my onc I wanted to be sure there were cancer cells before I did any chemo -he really upset me with all his side effects that he said could be permanent (liver,kidney problems, leukemia, immune system problems,hair loss, etc). So I had a PET scan done last Friday and just got results today showing residual cancer cells throughout my surgery sites. I'm waiting for my onc to call me -I'm pretty sure I'll have to do the chemo now. Annie, I'm sooo scared. I cried my eyes out -I'm just starting to feel a little better from the surgery now I have to start chemo?? How did you find the strenght for it? Is there any advice you can give me since you're doing chemo and radiation. Are the side effects as bad as they say? Please help me to see some light in this darkness. I'm putting on a good front for my friends,husband and family but inside I feel like killing myself to end this nightmare once and for all. I'm starting to go back to my activities and now it will all end again. Although sex is pretty painful right now -I was hoping it would get better. With the chemo now it will be worse. The menopausal symptoms are also a shocker at 41 -the night sweats keep me up all night and my onc said I can't take any hormones since I have cancer. I'm trying to be positive like everyone says to be but the reality is I'm scared ...so scared.
Unread 03-18-2004, 06:56 PM

I can't say much that will help because I'm just coming up to the treatments myself.....but I can say that I'm thinking of you.

Just wanted to send you a big

Keep in mind that the side effects won't necessarily all happen to you either....

Good luck, keep your chin up and take one day at a time.

Unread 03-18-2004, 07:43 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

I finished my chemo/radiation regime on Feb. 2, and I was feeling about 98% back to normal a week and a half later. (Even sex is fine now.) When I was first diagnosed I assumed I'd be having surgery right away, but I was bleeding way too much so they wanted to do the chemo/radiation first. I was SO scared. You hear such terrible things. Nothing really specific, but of course you hear "cancer," "chemo," and "radiation," and you think the worst. The scariest part was my first meeting with my onc./radiologist. He told me *everything* that *could* happen in the worst-case scenario. (Sort of a disclaimer, I guess.) I can honestly say it wasn't that bad. I had diarrhea, but was barely fatigued. The chemo made me nauseous, but if I took the Zofran and Compazine that was prescribed, I was okay. It was only the last week and a half or so that the meds didn't work so well I really just felt like staying in bed, and even then it was just one long weekend that I actually did that. Annie, the worst times for me were at night too, when my mind would race. I eventually had my husband watch TV in bed with headphones on, just so I wouldn't feel alone when I went to sleep early. Now that I'm getting closer to surgery, it's starting again. I just want to get it all over with! Although my bleeding started in August, my pap was normal and no one even suspected cancer, and it was a total shock. So the cancer thing has been going on since December, and by the time I'm fully recovered, half the year will be gone! But that's all I'm allowing myself to think about -- WHEN I'm recovered. So just hang in there, I know the daily hospital visits really bite, and the time in the bathroom, ugh. It's just life for now, and we have to deal with it the best we can. It's just nice to have this forum to talk to people who understand.
Unread 03-18-2004, 08:36 PM
3 Chemos Down, 3 To Go

Hi, Annie and welcome to HysterSisters. As you've already seen, there are some pretty awesome women here.

Oh, your post brought me back to the days when I was counting down the days till I finished the radiation. I, too, did the chemo and radiation at the same time. I would strongly suggest to you that if you're in any pain or discomfort at all, please talk to your doctor. There are many drugs and treatments available for the radiation side effects (e.g., radiation uritis - ouch!). I, too, got so tired of the daily trek to the hospital. When I look back on all that I endured (not to be dramatic but it is a lot to handle), I'm pretty impressed. And my positive attitude helped me so much.

On another front, my dh and I just adopted a little girl from Guatemala. We actually started the process more than two years ago. We got our "referral" for our daughter in late February of last year and I was diagnosed in April. Talk about a roller coaster! Well, I'm just over 11 months from surgery. I finised radiation in August of last year and chemo was done in September. I feel terrific (most of the time). I certainly feel strong enough to take care of our daughter who's just turning 14 months old. I saw a book the other day that I have to check out: "Hot Flashes and Warm Bottles"! What a hoot!

One day you, too, will be on the other side of this. Your sense of humor and your positive attitude will be your bedrock, Annie.

I see you're in NY. I live on LI and work in midtown. PM if you'd like to talk any time.

Good luck and God bless. Post again and let us know how you're doing.

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