Vicky’s Story

Site created on January 16, 2020

It has been over a year now and most people know I have cancer.  Will try to keep the beginnings short and hopefully keep up from now on.  It started in October 2018 when Patient First saw something on a chest scan.  In December 2018 I had a biopsy on my lymph nodes as the PET scan lit up when the pulmonary doc got the results.  There was a nodule on the bottom right and a smaller one on the top left of my lungs.  On 12/19/18 Dr. Giessel said it was non-operable lung cancer and I would have to do chemo.  I was sent over to the Virginia Cancer Institute to Dr. Gonzolas.  Because this was the kind of cancer that could spread to the brain I was sent to Dr. Sahni over at the Gamma Knife Center.  There were 7 nodules in my brain.  I was scheduled for the gamma knife procedure on January 10th.  They got all the nodules and none have come back to date.  I go every 6 months now for a brain scan.  Still have my brain - LOL.  So we started on dealing with the lung cancer.  The MRI and biopsy showed it was not in the bones.  I lucked out and had the markers where I could go the immunotherapy, Ketruda, route rather than cancer.  However, I had such bad side effects - legs swelling, could not eat, pain, etc.  that I had to stop that.  I was doing that every 3 weeks.  It did shrink things but the side effects were too bad on me.  I went thru hell through June I guess.  Ended up in the ER 3 times, had to get iron infusions, fluids due to dehydration and other fun things.   At one point they thought I had c-dff but it was colitis.  I worked during this time but was able to telework since I was in so much pain and my immune system sucked.

I started chemo on October 7th.  Went pretty well.  Was supposed to have chemo every 3 weeks.  After the second chemo, they did another scan and found a nodule on the adrenal gland above my kidneys.  A biopsy showed cancer cells.  So, they had to switch to a different, harsher chemo.  Had the first treatment on January 7th.  Been pretty sick but not like the Keytruda.  Today is January 16th and i am finally feeling almost human again.  I have my next one on January 27th.

So that is the quickie version to date.  I kept working until I retired on January 1, 2020.  We lost dad during all of this - February 2019.  It has been a long road but I am still kicking.  I have some hair thinning but still have some...more than some guys I know - ha ha.  This chemo is supposed to be a big hair losing chemo but we will see.  I did cut my hair short so I will embrace it if I get bald.  Everyone always said I looked like my dad.  :-) I will try to keep folks updated at least on a weekly basis from now on. 

I can't end this without saying how many friends and family have helped so much.  I won't list them as I don't want to leave anyone out.  You know who you are and i love you so much and would not have made it without you!
- heart

Newest Update

Journal entry by Vicky Carwile

Well, since I cannot sleep tonight I will update everyone.  Been rough since the January 27th chemo.  Nausea, pain everywhere and tiredness.  Called Monday to try to get something for this stomach pain and they did call in something. But the pain on my right side especially was getting worse today and just unbearable.  Plus I was sure I was dehydrated and was shaking badly.  So, I called 911 early evening and they took me over to JW Hospital.  I had already has a CT scan today at VCI (thanks Beki) so the ER staff were able to get part of the report already.  Seems the mass on my adrenal gland on the right side has grown was about all the ER would tell me.  So, JW shot me up with nausea meds and pain meds.  I was not dehydrated though.  Not really a lot more they can do at that point.  Bev (thanks Bev) got me home about around 11 I guess.  I must be too hyped to sleep.  I have to call my oncologist tomorrow.  Glad I went via ambulance as the place looked packed.  The doc did rule out any virus going around.  I am guessing this is all part of the cancer and chemotherapy.

Been doing a lot of sleeping this past week. I suspect it will be the same the rest of this week.  I am not eating much right now but am drinking fluids.     So, that is the update for now.  This crap is still for the birds.  Still have my hair - knock on wood.

Everyone keep safe with all the rain coming.  I will let everyone know what the doc says.  I bet they make me wait until my Monday appointment but who knows...

If I don't answer the phone tomorrow, I am probably crashed.

Patients and caregivers love hearing from you; add a comment to show your support.
Help Vicky Stay Connected to Family and Friends

A $30 donation to CaringBridge powers Vicky's site for one month. Will you make a gift to help ensure that this site stays online for them and for you?

Show Your Support

See the Ways to Help page to get even more involved.