Sigh … when you have cancer, there is always an update. And of course I want to share them with you all!! But really quick, I want to follow up on something I wrote in my last entry regarding the 47% survival rate for woman with Stage III Endometrial Carcinoma cancer: I am definitely in the that 47% that will survive!! I will come out of this to live a long and happy life, hopefully never to worry about cancer again. We caught my cancer just as it was starting to aggressively spread, and now the cancer is contained in one area ready to be zapped away by radiation.
The reason why the survival rate is so low is because during Stage III the cancer cells are spreading through the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes act like a channel to ALL the other major organs in body. Once the cancer cells reach a major organ, it’s only a matter of time before that organ is compromised by the cancer. Having cancer in your pelvic area means that you have a risk of eventually getting fatal cancers if you don’t stop the spreading, such as liver cancer, kidney cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, and ovarian cancer. If the cancer cells reach the higher pelvic lymph nodes then they could potentially shoot upwards into the lungs and brain. As you can imagine, I am a very lucky lady since we stopped the spreading early.
My husband and I had an appointment on Valentine’s Day with my oncologist to go over the results of the biopsy (testing for cancer) of my pelvic lymph nodes to see if the chemo had killed the spreading cancer cells or not. My oncologist said he was amazed to find that the chemo did indeed kill all the cancer cells except in one of the higher-up high lymph nodes, which they caught and removed during surgery. They will be targeting my upper abdomen and pelvic area during radiation.
The unfortunate news is that since the infected lymph node discovered was higher up in my abdomen, there could be a small chance that some cancer cells were able to spread from that node and traveled up into my upper body. The amount of cancer could be so small that it is undetectable by a scanner, but the cancer could start multiplying and cause problems. So after my 6 weeks of radiation treatments, I may be advised to go through 3 more rounds of full-on chemotherapy again just to make sure that we kill any sneaky cancer cells that may have traveled around my body before the lymph nodes were fully stabilized.
My oncologist wants to defer to a panel of cancer experts before we make the decision to do more chemo or not, for many reasons. One reason is that receiving more chemotherapy may do more harm than good; this stuff is hard-core, and too much of it can actually hurt the human body. Another reason to ask second opinions is that I will be receiving a small dosage of chemo medicine while going through radiation because it makes the radiation treatment 30% more effective. Will the small dosage be enough to kill what might still be lingering in the body? It’s hard to say, but gathering opinions from some of the best doctors from around the state will help me make a decision.
I was really bummed to hear my doctor say I might have to do more chemotherapy. I was looking forward to being at the end of this journey and start to do the things I want to do. I thought that I would go through radiation treatment and be DONE. FOREVER. But, I should have known better. I am so anxious to get my life going again and I was literally counting down the weeks until I can go into remission. Now with more chemotherapy possibly in my future, this changes everything. Chemo just sucks. It sucks, it sucks, it sucks. It slows you down and takes away your energy. I get winded by just walking to my car. I get achey joints and muscles. I fall asleep at the drop of a hat. During my last chemo treatment I fought so hard to rise above the stomach aches and nausea, and I did great … but I don’t know if I can go through that all over again. But I may have to.
I was already planning my work schedule and projects as I was getting closer to remission. It was all I have to look forward to, and now I have to put it on hold. I’m definitely going to go back to work part time, but I won’t be able work on my other projects, not while going through chemo. Three more chemo treatments would put my remission sometime in June.
I feel discouraged right now, but I know the feeling will pass. I’ll get back to my old, positive self again, and I will make sure to update when I am feeling better. I will be starting IVF fertility treatments next week. Cross your fingers that my eggs shape up and cooperate during the treatments!
Thank you every one 🙂
Lots of love,