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Sharing my story...well Now that is surreal! Let’s keep this to the Cancer Chapter. As my book has not been published yet! Lol
It all started after I got back from 2 very stressful trips down South. I went to be supportive of my brother who was at the time undergoing surgery for his brain Tumor. And then shortly after my mom needed to be rushed to the hospital for Congestive Heart Failure. So I came back to PA ready to work and see my friends for a book study of MARY Magdeline Revealed.
What a huge surprise was in store for me! On October 14th I had what I thought was a minor mouth surgery at the Peridontist which is called a vestibuloplasty. Think of it like I had a skin adhesion attached to my front gum line causing gum recession.
Well, Celia style... I don’t tolerate most antibiotics and Pharmaceutical drugs and the doctor forgot to order the Lodiene for my pain...I took Ibuprofen every 6 hours as prescribed. It helped but not as much as my acupuncture treatments. Needless to say my stomach and digestion had a mind of its own. I was in an immense amount of pain that I could not control. I thought my GI stuff was a pain response. So as diarrhea goes...I went over 16 times in one day to the bathroom. Never experiencing childbirth I thought if this abdominal cramping is anything like active labor I would NOT be able to have more than one child! Pain was becoming unreal! And since drugs are hard on my stomach and digestion... I relied heavily on acupuncture. Dr Sheng gave me an herbal supplement to take for the diarrhea. And it helped. I don’t know if it was the incision healing in my mouth...the facial swelling and pain from the recent surgery or the food changes I had to make due to the dental surgery...Being on purées and eating yogurt from the hospital on nights at work when I am generally dairy free...but what ended up with a craving for Olive Garden breadsticks in a person who is generally gluten free...landed me right back with GI distress. I am a very proud person and a nurse so sleeping myself in to the ER with diarrhea was not easy. But luckily the ER nurses knew the look of severe dehydration and weakness. Immediately I was admitted and the IV fluids were flowing. The irony of this was it literally scared the poop away and I could not poop until much later that night.
My liver enzymes were bad, my inflammatory markers were high and my electrolytes were shocking even to me! I was put on a heart monitor and told I was going to have a CT, MRI and upper and lower GI with the obligatory ethanol test and pregnancy test.
Well okay then... I surrender. Thinking I was healthy but with cdiff or a parasite... I had no idea Cancer was even in my wheelhouse.
So, when the GI doc, told me I was sick my brain was thinking.. it’s just an infection. Poor guy drew the short straw that day. He told me my results...Celia you have a two autoimmune issues. The first being Ulcerative Colitis based on skin biopsies. The second being a rare disorder called PSC (Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis) and then I followed up at my Primary MD for blood work and she being new to the practice also drew the short straw in telling me you have a result that just came back from the ERCP biopsy. You have adenocarcinoma of the common bile duct. I was alone, my head was spinning because I was trying to wrap my brain around the gravity of PSC and Ulcerative Colitis and so now I have cancer! So I sat with that in my car alone. I do not know how I made it back to my car. Meanwhile, I was and still am dealing with the illnesses of my brother and mother. I had to call my sister, Vanessa because she was the only healthy one in my family that had some sense of groundedness to tell my parents. I thought to myself GOD you have indeed put a lot on my plate. Where is the lesson and please tell me I have some blessings! I am a meditating woman. Partial to Buddhism, chanting and with deep roots of Christianity. So, when I say I could not meditate or get to a place of peace in my heart...well let’s just say the struggle was REAL! So I prayed to God to give me strength and an army of loving peaceful saints and angels in human form to get me through this proverbial shit!
And I have never been more surprised, humbled, thankful for the outpouring of cards, texts, support of all kinds has been showered on me like GOD himself was right with me. Showing me grace and learning to lower my pride to accept help. I have been a fiercely independent woman for a very long time.
I have been angry, I have been poor me, I have been fuck me, I have literally wept on a cold floor for 10 hours straight....and knowing how much I love my blankets and warm soft bed...Well lets just say the stages of grief...yep all in!
And I am meeting myself with humble acceptance of my present moment daily. I used to love having solitude and peace and now I welcome friends in my home. Not the best hostess, I am a sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, grain free kind of home. But, on the positive side I have a lot of musical instruments and can still dance to my own drum! 🤣🤣🤣
I have been exploring Traditonal Chinese Medicine to support me. I am meeting a world reknown Chinese Medicine Doctor in Chicago in December to discuss using herbal medicine for my conditions as I have extreme allergies to pharmaceuticals.
I met with the Tumor Team at HUP to explore the possibilities of a liver transplant.
And I have been reading anti inflammatory foods for my 2 Autoimmune disorders, and foods that support my liver and foods that help prevent cancer. So just so you know...cooking is my thing... I have lost a lot of weight because the food I used to eat made me feel bad so I am only eating food that does not create a symptom. And there is a short list! But bring on the blueberries, the dragon fruit, apples, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts because they are the winners! My body has been my barometer and trust me when I sayhaving 4 issues has not been a walk in the park. Cancer trumps everything.
So I have had very subtle things happen over the years that I always dismissed as nerves, weak stomach and food allergies. Call me the canary in a coal mine. I am very sensitive to foods and medicine. So much so after I was discharged from Chester County Hospital 2 days later I had an severe reaction to the antibiotics and new GI drug they discharged me with. I was back in the ED and given steroids for my reaction.
So when I tell you I am not only navigating Western Medicine but Eastern Medicine it’s very REAL to me. My journey is unique and I am strong in the sense I will not tolerate the opinion of people telling me to chose one way. I simply have to do what is best for me. And even that seems to change on the daily with all the new appointments and tests that I have to make decisions on.
I am facing chemo and radiation for the intrahepatic cholangicarcinoma new friend I have living inside of me. I am facing a huge concern for medication management. I am facing moving out of my townhouse by January 31st. But I will not face this alone.
Thank you for all of the brave souls who have stepped up on my Journey of Love Train to help me as I have struggled with grief, loneliness, and acceptance of a health crisis. Thank you does not seem like enough. I wish I could kiss your feet a thousand times and give you all massages wrapped in warm blankets honestly...but all I have right now are words of love and gratitude. I will update regularly to keep you all informed. There may be some goofy pictures too. But let’s face it I have been binge watching Shitts Creek on Netflix to keep myself from going down the self hatred path. I will keep this REAL and by that I mean in wholeness of my joy and my pain.
Thank you for the encouragement, love and blessings. It keeps me in gratitude and love. And there is always more to ❤️