Hi Everyone! Laura DiMinno here. After many requests to set up a Caring Bridge site, today's the today it's happening.
For those who are unaware of my situation, in the middle of November, I was diagnosed with two cancers: 1) CLL (Chronic Lymphocyctic Leukemia) and 2) Colon Cancer. Basically, I hadn't been feeling like myself for years (yes, when I look back, I realize just how out of touch with life I was feeling even though I was doing my best to keep my head above water). When I finally got to the hospital, I felt tremendous relief. I believed I was dealing with an intestinal issue, and as it got worse, I finally got myself to the ER.
It turns out I was dealing with cancer and my white blood count was 309 when normal is in the low single digits. My CLL doctor knew what it was after all the tests and biopsies I had (about 8 in one day) and had a treatment for it which included chemo. Now, for those who know me, I swore I'd never do chemo, but here I was receiving it, enjoying it, and eating like crazy during it. The treatment did its trick (white blood cell count dropped dramatically and my bone marrow started producing the good white blood cells), and even those we were scheduled for more rounds, one of the doctors noticed something suspicious about the 8 lesions on my liver - another biopsy, another discovery - Colon Cancer. Say what?! All I knew is that I had a huge mass in my deep pelvic area an abdominal area. Soooooo, that's what we're treating now - the Colon Cancer, shrinking the tumor and releasing what isn't me. From what the doctor told me, the CLL is behaving itself.
So far I've experienced one round of chemo treatment (4 sessions), and the results? The tumors are shrinking which made me very happy! So, tomorrow, is Episode 2 of Season Two of chemo - after 4 Episodes (my daughter, Mel and I decided to treat this as episodes - been watching a lot of Netflix :)), I go in for another scan and see how this journey is unfolding. I have to say, my vitals have stayed strong, my blood work is good and stable, and I still have my hair! I just need to gain weight. I haven't vomited but my metabolism sped up, so I've been relearning how much to each in one sitting, what I can eat (after chemo, there are just some things I can't each - don't appeal to me at all!) All the ideas I had regarding food if cancer had ever activated in me have gone out the window. I literally live in a different realm - more in tune with my body than I've ever been and truthfully, enjoying all the foods I wouldn't eat before now!
My body has been a rock star and I thank it every day for being open to receiving all the meds (only took aspirin before this), the infusions (my hemoglobin was 4 when it should be 12), the biopsies and the chemo. I'm truly impressed with my body and its ability to adapt. I'm also well aware that this whole experience is mental - let's just say I'm so happy I practiced strengthening my mental state over the years - it has made all the difference with my relationship with the change in my left.
There's so much more to this story - miracles, serendipity, blessings. Earth Angels, and tremendous gifts - one of the best having my daughters back - we had a rough summer - mommy was disappearing and nobody knew why. I'm back and my daughters and I have a chance to continue nurturing our relationships.
To say this least, news turned out worlds upside down is an understatement, but we needed it. As my daughter, Suzy stated one night regarding all of us navigating this "disruption" in our life, "We are the DiMinnos!", and what do I say to that? "Yes we are!"