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I would like to begin by telling you a little about why the title "Beth's Warriors". As I was debating about what I wanted to call my page I reached out to a dear friend Lori. She jokingly and seriously suggested Beth Kicks Cancer's Butt so to speak.... That got me to thinking that this is now and will continue to be a fight for the rest of my life. The thought of a warrior came to mind as warriors are strong and fierce. A warrior is ready to battle whatever comes along with all that they have. I believe warriors come in all different forms. Overcoming and living with this dreadful diagnosis is not just my fight. It's also a fight for everyone that I love so very much and care for... all my warriors who have already surrounded me with love, concern, prayers, cards, phone calls, text and facebook messages. Thank you each and every one. I do ask two things of all my warriors, please continue praying for my caretakers, especially Tim as he will be my primary caretaker as I go through my treatments and possibly more surgery in the future. I know firsthand what it is like to be a caretaker of someone with cancer. It is not an easy road.... If you think of Tim, please send him well wishes too. The caretakers need as much support as the person that is sick. Please keep Caitlin in your thoughts and prayers as well. I'm sure she would love to hear from you. Both of her parents now have had and have cancer. To each of my warriors, in what ever form you are, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for rallying around me and lifting me up. This is a journey that one should not take alone. All of the cards and well wishes truly lift me up and shows me that I am not alone.
My story begins longer ago than I realized as I didn't know that I have cancer until the diagnosis on March 31, 2017. Apparently the cancer began 2 - 3 years ago. How could I have not known? On March 25, 2017, Tim took me to the ER as I was in more abdominal pain than I have ever experienced in my life. I had been having pain for several weeks prior to this however, it was unclear as to the reason. Thank goodness for the PA in the ER that night and my OBGYN who happened to come into the hospital and see us there. The PA was persistent as a CT that was done showed 2 large masses that were apparent 2 weeks prior to that. I was admitted and so it begins.....
The surgeon who would be taking my case saw me on Sunday, the 26th and informed us that I had a large bowel blockage and that it was probably cancer. What he was saying to me was not what I expected to hear. Who does? I couldn't grasp that at the time and still today am trying to wrap my head around the news. All I could think and say was "I don't want to die, I have a lot of living left to do". I still feel that way. I had major abdominal surgery on March 27, 2017. During that surgery 19" of my colon was removed including just over a 3" tumor that was in my colon along with multiple lymph nodes as the tumor had broken through the wall of my colon. This also included draining a cyst the size of a grapefruit on one of my ovaries. My life was spared to this point as the Dr told Tim and me that I was within a day or two of something rupturing. God's hand was certainly guiding the timing of this. Needless to say on March 31st the diagnosis was confirmed. I have stage 3 colon cancer....... or so we thought. After 8 days in the hospital I went home to start recovering and begin a journey that I never thought I would have to endure.
On April 5, 2017 Tim and I met with the oncologist you will be directing my care. During that first visit everything seemed surreal. The discussion about the staging, prognosis, medications, the side effects, what other tests the Dr would want and when treatment would begin. We also found out at this appointment that over 10 lymph nodes that were taken during the surgery were all cancerous. The pathology report I later read stated that all the lymph nodes taken were obliterated due to the cancer. It is one thing to be told all this, it is another to read it! We at first were scheduled to begin chemo May 2, 2017 however, after a chest CT scan showed lymph nodes near my collar bone on the left side it was decided I should now have a PET scan. This would delay the beginning of my chemo treatments. In the meantime I had a medi port placed on April 25th to use for the chemo and blood work. This will alleviate trying to find a vein each time, thank goodness!
The results of the PET scan were not good. Not only do I not have stage 3 colon cancer but actually stage 4. Could it get any worse?! Yes it could have been worse..... The Dr could have told us that I only have a short time left on this earth. But, he didn't and I am holding on to that! The cancer has spread to my liver, there are 3 - 4 spots there and also the questionable lymph nodes near my collar bone are also cancerous. This concerns me as that doesn't seem far from my brain! Tim and I now were told that I needed a biopsy of the lymph nodes to make sure that I don't have 2 different types of cancer. I learned something new....... I didn't realize someone could have different types of cancer at the same time. My hope is that this is not the case and as of today, May 10, 2017 we are awaiting the results.
We were also informed that I will never be cured of cancer at this time. If the tumors respond to the chemo treatments, I will need to be on a maintenance chemo the rest of my life and may need to have part of my liver removed down the road.
May 16, 2017 will be the beginning of the chemo treatments and now consist of 4 different medications instead of the 3 that were originally planned. My treatment will run 24 weeks and will consist of me having the beginning of treatment at the cancer center for about 3 1/2 hours and then will be hooked to a pump for 46 hours that I go home with. Once the 46 hours is done a nurse will come to my home to disconnect the pump. Treatments are every other week with blood work on the Friday's prior to the next treatment.
I will fight this with everything I have and it will be the hardest fight of my life. I am choosing to live and not let the cancer win. The little gremlins had better watch out! (Sorry Caitlin) There have been enough struggles in my life that I have overcome and have come through them stronger than I was before and I don't think that this mountain will be any different, just steeper and more rugged. Won't the summit be breathtaking when I get there!
Again, thank you for all of your prayers, cards, gifts and well wishes. They are very much needed for us all, please keep lifting us up. We will keep you updated as to the journey and any test/lab results that we receive. In the meantime, I will probably write a few things as I think of them....... possibly food for thought.