I was first diagnosed with colorectal cancer in January, 2014. My only symptom being blood in my stool. Luckily, I didn't ignore it, and got a tcolonoscopy. To date, I have had 2 surgeries, 28 daily radiation treatments with chemo, brachytherapy (direct radiation), 8 rounds of 5 FU (appropriately named) chemo...all of which kept me cancer free for a year. Then in November of 2015, it returned. At that point I had a full removal of my rectum, and the tumor had grown into the vaginal wall. I was almost healed from that surgery, and had a clear CT Scan and colonoscopy, but the pain wasn't going away, but getting worse, so my oncologist ordered more tests....after a MRI and PET scan and biopsy, I got the news, it was back. Freaking cancer!! LOL!
The good news is that it has not spread beyond the pelvic area....no lymph nodes or liver or lung (the typical place rectal cancer metstasisizes to, so they are saying it is still curable. Previous,y all of my care was done in, a Richmond, VA, but at this point, it was time to bring in the big guns! I went to Johns Hopkins and Memorial Sloan Kettering for their opinions. I went with Johns Hopkins because of 3 main things, 1. Gut feeling, 2. Aggressiveness of their plan, and 3. Proximity. JH is in Baltimore and MSK is in Manhattan.
The treatment plans consists of the following three phases(can't take the planner out of me!): 1st phase- 15 external radiation treatments with daily doses of oral chemo....those were administered by my local radiologist here in Richmond. (Finished on July 21st 2016). 2nd phase - surgery...the surgery I am having is called pelvic exteneration.....either a whole pelvic or posterior one....it will all be a game day decision how much they take. The surgery is scheduled for August 29th. It will be about 10-12 hours long and include about 5 surgeons, including a radiologist who will administer radiation directly onto area to kind of sandblast the area and sterilize it. Recovery will be long...first day or two in ICU, then about another 7 -10 days in hospital. I then get to stay at a hotel in lovely Baltimore for another week or so until I can travel. Then we come to the 3rd phase - about 4 weeks after I get home, I will start chemo treatment. It will be 12 treatments, so about 6 months of chemo. I can do this locally with my oncologist, DR. Friedman , and my wonderful chemo nurse, Denise 😍 Love her!
So that is my MEDICAL story...it is not MY story.....my real story is that I am a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, employee of The Federal Reserve, teammate, boss, etc......that is who I am....all of those roles and the people I call daughter, husband, family, friends, teammates.....that is what makes this fight so worth it. So I consider myself lucky.....I have so much love and support from everyone.....thank you all. I love you!