Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "You have cancer." On November 20, 2013, while living in Philadelphia, I heard the words no one wants to hear. Honestly, I don't remember much of what the doctor said after that. Bladder. Treatment. Surgery. Words swirled. When I could make sense of it all, I would understand that my case was atypical. Bladder cancer is typically a disease diagnosed in white men, in their early 70's, who smoked the majority of their lives. I am an African-American woman, in my 40s who has never smoked a cigarette. Nothing about my diagnosis would be typical. Which perhaps was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
For the next 3 years I would go thru one "typical" treatment after another- BCG treatments and surgery . Each time, the treatment or surgery would be "successful" for a time, only to have the tumors return. Finally, after being subjected to surgery and/or treatment almost every three months, I had a reprieve - a one year break when no tumors returned.
So we thought.
I returned to the hospital in March of this year, only to discover that not only had the tumors returned, but they had spread. Again. Atypical. I would go on to have chemo, which made me uncharacteristically ill. Then immuno-therapy, which made me uncharacteristically ill. In fact, for the last 6 months, I have been hospitalized 10 times - not for "typical" complications, but for unidentifiable fevers and infections.
And the journey continues....
At the end of this month, I will begin chemotherapy again and will keep you updated via this Caring Bridge site, so please stay connected.
In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Here are some ways you can pray: * the elimination of the tumors in my lungs * physical strength and energy as I deal with the side effects of the new chemo * parents' strength as they care for me * finances
Thank you again for your prayers and support. Erica