Since the moment I got diagnosed with cancer, most people have told me to be strong and to fight. And let me tell you, of the thousands of things I have learned about myself, I had NO idea of my own strength. None. If I wrote about the pain, discomfort, ailments, ALL of the side effects of treatment and being ill, you would no longer be interested in reading this blog because it would be so dark and so hopeless. I have chosen to share the PG-13 version of this hell but make no mistake, Hell is what it is. Today, I want to share with you the slightest glimpse so you know not just what I am experiencing, but what my sweet little family has to witness.
I vomit ALL THE TIME. If I’m not vomiting, I’m either way drugged up, or watching clock and calculating when the last time I took meds (many of which make me vomit) and is it time for more. Let me give you some examples so you know what I am dealing with:
- I’ve vomited so hard that I’ve given myself a black eye.
- I’ve dry heaved so hard I’ve given myself a bloody nose.
- I’ve thrown up so hard I’ve peed my pants. This probably has something to do with the softball-sized tumor on my ovary.
- I’ve vomited so much in one day, my poor son said, “Wow, Mom you should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for throwing up.”
- The convulsions of dry heaving have slammed my to my knees in a public restroom with tile and bruised my boney knees.
- I’ve vomited so many times, my dental enamel is eroding and my teeth are weaker from the amount of stomach acid in my mouth.
I can’t tell you the number of times my poor husband has woken up to me puking or the number of barf bags he’s taken to the dumpster.
After going to MD Anderson, it’s time for me to write this post, the one I’ve dreaded writing all along. I received a scan and it’s apparent that my last two chemotherapy regimens were ineffective. Simply put, my cancer has aggressively spread. The tumor on my ovary is now about the size of a softball. This particular tumor flippin’ hurts, and you all know that I don’t cry wolf. The tumor on my pancreas has doubled in size. The doc at MD Anderson said that if I was over 65, he wouldn’t even consider any more treatment. But, due to my age, there is one last form of aggressive chemo we could try, if I wanted to continue treatment. And when I say aggressive chemotherapy, I’m talking IV treatment, even more severe vomiting, dehydration, hair loss, the entire lot. Torture.
Imagine what we had to go through to decide which path to take? No, actually don’t. Don’t, because it just hurts too badly.
There are so many things that we had to take into consideration. The truth is, while I have survived four total chemo regimens, only one has actually worked. And I was warned there are no guarantees and very little hope with my fifth option. Most of our concern is that my body isn’t strong enough to handle it. The other is side effects from the chemo. I already struggle with severe vomiting and intense pain from the disease process and I’m not sure I can deal with a double dose. My doc at MDA said that with or without further treatment, he expects for me to live anywhere from a few months up to seven or eight.
After weighing my options and consulting with doctors and family, I have decided to forgo further treatment and choose hospice care in the coming months. The last two years I have marched to the beat of my drum and done it all my way, except for chemo. I was on its schedule, its side effects, its regimen, and I’m done.
I look back at the last two years and see the time for it was: a gift. What I was able to see, hear, feel and absorb was nothing short of incredible. I’d rather spend the time I have left comfortable, surrounded by my loved ones and in a house filled with light, love and laughter. I’ll even be ok with the occasional tear.
I understand that you might disagree with my decision. I’ve fought harder than you can even imagine for 22 months now. You might want me to fight longer. Maybe you think I’m giving up. But this decision is mine to make. If you don’t agree with my choice or opinion on any of this, please keep it to yourself.
This is me choosing to march to the beat of my own drum. I choose comfort over an experimental medication. I want to spend the rest of my time with grace and dignity, something I’ve tried so hard to maintain while fighting this brutal disease.
Much love to you all.