Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I have WHAT????

So I am admitted into the hospital and get four pints of blood right away, then for the next four days I get nothing to eat and endless tests. On day two of my hospital stay I get the dreaded colonoscopy... well the colonoscopy wasn't bad it's that gallon of nasty stuff I had to drink the night before. The procedure only took about an hour and I was wheeled back into the "fart room" where James, my son who drove down from Oakland the day I was admitted into the hospital, and my husband, John were waiting. I could see by the look on their faces that they were upset. Then this woman looked at me and said "Mrs. Scott you have rectal cancer."

The next few days were a blur of tests and an army of doctors visiting me in my room and telling me bad news after bad news. I could tell by their demeanor that I was in trouble, but I NEVER felt scared. I refused to accept that this was the end for me. I insisted I would beat this and since I was otherwise healthy I wanted the most aggressive treatment they could throw at me...and they did.

A wonderful, well respected surgeon who likes to think outside the box removed a piece of my liver and the game plan was to get a combo of chemo and intense radiation. Four days after my liver surgery I was sent home to heal up so I could begin the other treatments. It was supposed to begin ten to fourteen days later, but after four days of being at home I hemorrhaged from my tush big back to emergency we went.

This time I was in the hospital for almost three weeks. Another surgeon who specialized in colorectal problems cauterized the inside of my rectum to stop the bleeding. I started my chemo and radiation a few days later as an inpatient.

I finally got released and continued radiation and chemo as an outpatient. By radiation treatment number twenty my ass screamed at me everytime I had to poop. So what did I do? I screamed of course! I called out to every deity that I thought might be interested and I even threw in a few curse words just for fun. Many of those days are one big blur because I was on major pain killers and much of what happened was told to me. I did keep a journal though that was filled with pages of what I was grateful for and recipes. I spent most of my waking time on the Internet trying to figure out how I got cancer and how to kill it and make sure it never came back.

Before I got sick I was not a fan of Western Medicine, but as soon as I found out what I was dealing with I was on board 100%. After a few weeks I looked into complimentary alternative medicine, especially food as medicine. I bought a juicer and blender. I stopped eating sugar, drinking coffee and became a vegan.

Fast forward to now and I am six months cancer free. I didn't lose my hair (except my pubes never grew back) but the chemo attacked my nervous system so I need a walker to get around. My legs feel "electrified" most of the time. I shit in a bag because the radiation destroyed my sphincter muscles...actually the cancer probably did most of the damage and they had to radiate a large area of my insides to make sure they got it all. Next month I talk with a pelvic surgeon to make a date to have some screws put in my back to reinforce a very weak pelvic bone...another casualty of radiation.

In the grand scheme of things none of this is a big deal. I beat the odds and I knew I would! I am one of UC Irvine's walking miracles. So here I am one year later...volunteering at the Infusion Center in the hospital that saved my life, blogging about my adventures, sharing insights, recipes and stories of hope.  You are welcome to leave comments and/or email me with your stories and advice. I will add them to my posts with your permission. Stage 4 cancer is no fun but it is only a number! It does not define who someone is. Last year at this time I was going through Hell but I kept going and came through to the other side. I am grateful for each day and don't worry nearly as much as I did for most of my life. If I learned nothing else from my experience it is to eat your fruit and veggies!

xo  Inge

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