Chemotherapy? I have to do chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and then chemotherapy again? What about school? What about my occupation? So I’m going to lose my hair? I really am this sick? WHAT ABOUT MY LIFE??? As I look back, all these questions just seem so selfish, so ignorant. At this point in my life, these questions were so irrelevant. I was fighting for my life, and I was worried about my hair? Seriously? Could the drama queen come out in me a little more??
On July 9th, 2014, at only 20 years old, I was just told I only had three months to live. Three months? I had only just begun life, only starting out on my own, how could it be taken away so quickly? At first, I walked out of the hospital telling them I would not do any treatment. This was not happening to me and I needed a second opinion. I wasn’t going to do something so dramatic without one more opinion. Give up my life, because a tumor decided to take over? Yes, the sassy young woman attitude was coming out STRONG. I wanted to be stubborn and continue my life as it was before. I mean I was only having symptoms every now and then, no way it was as bad as they were making it out to be. I was just so angry and hurt.
Over the next week I decided to seriously think about my options, and what my best actions would be. Still I was determined to not do treatment and just ride out this roller coaster. No doctor can put a timeline on my life, only my Heavenly Father could. After deep consideration, I decided to sit down with my immediate family and lets discuss the pros and cons of every aspect. As I laid out my case about how I would not like to do any treatment, just continue to live my life as I had been because I was not yet “that bad”. The points my family made changed my mind right around.
Mom: “How do you not you are O.K.? You have already been told you only have three months to live, who is to say that it will not get worse, you become terminal, and then there is no time to fix this disease.” Grandfather: “I have bladder cancer myself. I know it is one of the hardest fights. No, I have never done chemotherapy or radiation, but all 17 surgery I have gone through, I do it for my kids and grandkids every single time!” Little sister: “You are my big sister, what am I going to do without someone taking the blame for me, or someone to argue with, or that someone I look up to the most? I can’t lose you sissy, I just can’t…” My little sister is one of my biggest fans, has taken care of my like no other 12 year old should have to. I should be the one taken care of her and looking out for her, but through this trial, our places got switched. So therefore, her comments hit home. Needless to say, I was headed to my oncologists that next Monday.
It was decided on that I would do the pill version of chemotherapy (Xeloda) along with radiation for 25 days straight (excluding the weekends). Week One. I began the medicine, along with the radiation. Oh, how SICK I was. Extreme nausea would lead to eventually vomiting. As my radiation oncologist was an hour and a half away from my home town, that made a LONG ride being constantly sick. Week two. No better. At this point, I am having to force feed myself because I have no appetite. Cramps were constant along with a continuous back pain. During this time, the only thing that would help my body was a extremely hot bath with epson salt to soothe. Week three. Holy hydration, hello hospital. I was in and out of the hospital with liver failure, along with dehydration. Still no appetite, not able to keep food down. Time to lower the dosage on the chemotherapy. Week four, almost done! Thank goodness my skin has help on, but that is about the only thing going for me. No improvements. Time put a port-a-cath in just in case my body decides not to hold up these last two weeks and we have to take drastic cautions. Week five, we are at the finish line!! My body is almost completely give out, there is no way I can take anymore. Praise the Lord it is over!! But… what about that 35 pounds I instantly dropped in 2 weeks. That can’t be good; however, I am off of all treatments for six weeks. That is plenty of time to recover!!
Well that is until the next week when I arrived at my surgeon’s office to make sure the stitching was healed and functioning properly. However, we had one TEENY TINY problem…they weren’t able to find my PULSE!!! As I had continuously been sick, still losing weight, not able to eat anything, I just was not getting better. I was so sick this morning, I was on the verge of passing out. Thank goodness the emergency room was directly across the street; was an ambulance really necessary though???