Carrie Rickard

First post: Feb 25, 2017 Latest post: Jul 13, 2017
On January 4, 2017 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer.  Not in a million years did I ever think I would hear that about me.   How did this happen??? Why me??? I ask myself and God that almost everyday.  But with love and support from family and friends I am getting through this and will fight this disease with everything I have.
Here is my story:. My life started to change in mid October 2016.  It started with a 3 day stomach bug then  I'd be fine for days and then out of the blue I would get terrible stomach aches and vomit.  This went on for 3 months.  I went to my regular doctor and a GI specialist who ran a bunch of tests on me.  I had an endoscopic scope and ultrasound done that revealed I had stomach inflammation as well as abnormal mucous on my esophagus and stomach.  Also found I had gallstones.  GI specialist put me on all sorts of meds that didn't work, episodes were getting worse and more frequent. He recommended that I have my gallbladder out as that was what he thought might be causing the vomiting.  I met with a surgeon and he agreed.  So we scheduled surgery for December 28th which happened to be Torrey's 15th birthday.  Went in for surgery early in the morning for out patient gall bladder surgery.  Once I woke up from recovery I knew something was not right.  I was being moved to a hospital room and the look on Steve's face told me something was up.  Once in the room the surgeon explained that when he went in he immediately saw that I had a mass on my ovary.  He was able to remove the ovary and mass.  Upon further exploration he noticed I had another huge mass behind my stomach (which is why it didn't show when I did the scope).  He couldn't remove it because of how it was placed but took a chunk out to do a biopsy.  I also never got my gallbladder removed.  He said that it's definitely cancer but didn't know what kind until they got the results of the biopsy.  I was in shock, Steve was in shock.  We had to wait a whole week before we found out the results.  The morning of Jan 4th I got the call from the surgeon that has changed my life.  He said that biopsy results came back and the masses stemmed from my colon.  You have Colon Cancer.  What???  I hung up with him called Steve at work.  My sister in law Kristin called while coming home from the airport and came right over.  Within hours I had an appointment already scheduled with an oncologist, surgery for them to put a port in the next day as well as a CT scan for that afternoon.  Everything was happening so fast.  Appointment with oncologist was a blur and still is.  I know I cried, Steve cried and Kristin cried.  So the next day we are up early to have my port put in, so back to the hospital.  All went well with that but I was very sore and uncomfortable.  Was home for a few hours then back to doctors for CT scan.  They wanted to do that to make sure nothing had spread to my organs.  Did the scan and got home only to get a call from the doctor an hour or so later that I needed to go the emergency room ASAP as they found blood clots in my lungs.  I was like WTF, Steve almost had a heart attack right there.  So we go to the emergency room.  Then a couple hours later I was transferred by ambulance to the hospital. I am now on blood thinner shots indefinitely.  Good news was nothing had spread so no other masses anywhere else.  Got discharged the next day..
The following Monday I started my chemo treatment plan.  Infusion for several hours at center and then take home a little purse filled with chemo drugs Tuesday and 1/2 day Wed.  Back to the center on Wed for them to unhook the chemo.  I was very weak, still vomiting every once in a while, not eating, so sore from my stomach incision and port area.  I was miserable but trying  be positive.  I had 2 more treatments and after each one I felt different each time. In the meantime I got an infection in my stomach incision as it wasn't healing and then after my 3rd chemo treatment they found I had an infection in my port area.  The port needed to come out.  Always something.  Next day went to surgeon who took it out and had antibiotics for 2 weeks to clear infection and heal.  Because my body was so malnourished for months and being on blood thinners my body wasn't healing properly..  I've lost approx 40 lbs (which is a good thing as I needed to lose some weight but not the best way to do it), starting to get somewhat of an appetite back. My port area is healing, not as sore and since there is no more port and I refused to have another one (my body has been through so much I know I couldn't handle it) my doctor had to come up with another treatment plan.  It will consist of an infusion for about 3 hours and then for 2 weeks I will be taking pills, 3 pills 2x a day.  At the 3rd week I have a break and then after break I start the process again.  Will be getting a scan sometime after chemo to check if mass has shrunk.  We did receive some  good news at my last appointment about my cancer markers.  They were at 21 and are now at 3 (5 is normal).  Yay!!!  Finally some good news in all this!!  My life, my family's life has changed for sure but we are still trying to be normal.  My girls are helping out more, fighting more of course lol, but doing good.  Steve also has to do more when he comes home from work but is getting used to the schedule.  Torrence Creek (my school) set up meals so we have been very spoiled.  And others have been bringing over food and yummy treats.  I am also extremely blessed to have my brother Paul and sister-in-law Kristin around.  They have been wonderful and Kristin is my rock, coming to all my appointments, being my chauffeur, visiting, getting me out of the house, etc.  I really don't know what I would do without her and Paul.  My family and friends have been amazing...Cards, gifts, visits...They just brighten my day and lift my spirits right up.  I am so appreciative and humbled by all of them and hope one day I can do the same for someone else.
So this is my story!  Not a pretty one that's for sure but like I said earlier, I'm going to fight this with everything I got. 💜

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