Thursday, April 21, 2016

Today marks the first day of round two in my battle against ovarian cancer.  It just goes to show you that you can never let your guard down when it comes to this disease.  BUT, I’m well rested, healed from the previous battle, and have a new strategy up my sleeve.

Yesterday’s news was not the news I wanted to hear, but it was news that was not unexpected.  When the recurrence rate for ovarian cancer is 80%, one has to be a bit pragmatic. I think that’s how I dealt with it yesterday – pragmatically.

“Your CT revealed that the disease is back, Stacey.  You have a small spot on your pancreas and several on your liver.  Additionally, there is that lump on your lymph node.  You caught it early and so it is considered a “low – load”.  There are a few options that we can consider.”

Her face blurred, but only for a short while.  It’s hard not to react when you get news you don’t want to hear.  But, this time, as was my goal, the rug was not pulled out from underneath my feet.  I was prepared – well- as best that I could be.  I put my glasses on to focus on reading Dr. Singh’s lips as she spoke.  “I can meet with the board to see if surgery is an option.  You will need to have chemo in addition to the surgery, regardless”.

“How many rounds?”  I thought, “one or two?”


What?   Really?  Six?

“Well, then, take a look at my hair right now and get a good look.  It is finally where I like it. ”

“Yes, it is beautiful”, Dr. Singh responded.  “It is so thick – was it thick before?”

“No.  It was fine and bone-straight.  Truthfully, it has taken me till now to figure out how to manage curly hair!”

“Tell me about it.  I’ve been trying to figure that out for 30 years.”

It seems now, in retrospect, that this conversation was a bit “light” for the news that she delivered.  But I don’t see that we could have handled it any other way.  It was pragmatic.  It was sensible.  It was responsible.

“I’m ready.  When can I start?”

“How is next Tuesday?”

“Great.  The sooner the better.  I’ll be finished by the fall – when I’m going to need that hair back again.”

And we carried on.  Kevin kept looking at me to see how I was responding.  I was good.  I really was.  I got it.  Finally.  I have a disease that will continue to haunt me until there is a cure.  I will fight for my life for the rest of my life.  But so do people with diabetes.  So – I am not unique.

“I’m okay when you are okay, Stacey”, said Kevin.  “I hate seeing you sad.”

For some reason, that was just not in my emotional inventory yesterday.  I felt peaceful.  I can’t say I was happy, but it felt, almost like being at the dentist when they tell you you have a cavity.  Well, sort of.  I was ready to fight.  I am ready to fight.

“I’ll get a script ready to take your bloodwork now so you don’t have to come back.”

I encouraged Kevin that it was okay for him to leave.  He had been there for the news and needn’t hold my hand through blood work.  Been there – done it.  A kiss for good-luck and he was on his way.  Candy, my nurse, came to get me shortly after and seconds later Dr. Singh appeared again.

“Stacey, the trial study that I wanted to suggest to you – taking a pill that may prolong the time between relapses – is closed.  But there is another clinical trial at Princess Margaret Hospital that is researching the impact of immunotherapy on ovarian cancer. I’d like you to hear about it. Would you be interested in learning more?”

Um – yeah!!!!  I had heard about it on facebook and dismissed it — for obvious reasons.  Now – here is was being presented to me once more, only this time by one highly credible source.  It turns out, Dr. Singh was working on immunotherapy with melanomas and it was producing some very promising results. Of course I’m interested!

“I’m very interested.  But, what if it doesn’t work?”

“You can always go back to chemotherapy – which we know will shrink your tumors because it worked for you in the past.  You just cannot do the reverse and begin chemotherapy then transfer to immunotherapy.”

That was my second option, which quickly became a possibility of being my first.  Given that I will eventually tolerate the chemotherapy, any other option is a good thing.  I signed up to hear more.

Now – it is the waiting game.  I have NO answers.  Wait for an appointment.  Wait for information.  Wait for a decision if I am a candidate.  Wait for the procedure.  Wait for the response… And in spite of all that – I cannot but feel hopeful.  I have to hope.  There is no other option.  I am “cautiously optimistic”.  I never did like that phrase but now it seems that is so damned applicable.

Then – there is the communications department.  Telling the kids.  Telling the family.  Telling friends.  I hate that part.  So – I down loaded it to Kevin.  Thank God.  Thank God for Kevin.  He remains my rock.  I could not do this alone.  He says he is strong when I am strong, but I am strong because he is with me.  How do people cope without family?

Kids took it well, afterall, I have hope.  Why shouldn’t they have hope too?  Yes, a few tears were shed.  They are brave.  They are wonderful, caring people.  Ben comes home on Sunday so it was tough for him to be so far away… again.  At least he’ll be home soon.  We will fight this battle together.

It will NOT take priority over life, though, as living is more important than surviving.  Practically speaking, there are priorities.  It will not consume me, but I will do everything I can do to be healthy, active, and happy.

Thursday, April 21, 2016 marks the beginning of Round 2 and I’m dancing in the ring!



About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
This entry was posted in acceptance, appreciation, attitude, Dr. Singh, faith, family, Princess Margaret Hospital, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Thursday, April 21, 2016

  1. Pam Fitzsimmons says:

    We’re all in the ring with you Stacey…for whatever you may need.

  2. Kelly S. says:

    Dear sweet Lord, look after this beautiful child of Yours and make her healthy! I’m so glad you’re ready to fight Stacey. You are an incredible writer and I admire your spirit. You’ve got this, so keep dancing!

    • inmycorner says:

      Oh, Kelly. I am so very glad that we reconnected after all of these years because you are a true source of strength and inspiration yourself. I’m going to dance, Kelly, as long as I have legs!

  3. I’m standing at the ropes with you Stacey. Yelling. Ready to throw a punch for you if ever given a chance to do so. ❤

  4. Charlotte Davey says:

    Thinking of you and your amazing strength gets me through my tough times. You’re my hero Stacey. Prayers and hugs!

  5. Jan says:

    …and I’m with Pam and Chatter Master, Stacey! And if you get into the trial at PMH, I’ll be right by your side for every visit. You are an amazing woman and a true inspiration

  6. sharechair says:

    Count me in. Right with you, as best as I can be ….. Your attitude is amazing and inspirational.

    • inmycorner says:

      You are too kind. I really have no choice but to believe and have faith. There is no other way – otherwise, the ones you love crumble too and that… just won’t do. Thank you for your support. It makes a difference. Really. It does.

  7. Marsha says:

    Sending you love and prayers as you begin this journey

  8. Diane says:

    Petit a petit l’oiseau fait son nid…I wish for you patience and perseverance in abundance as you take each step to restore your health!

  9. Gwen says:

    Standing in your corner too. Offering encouragement and support. With summer coming, we’ll have to come and help you tend your garden. Let’s grow you your own organic produce.

  10. Judy says:

    Stacey, Your attitude is incredible – I am blown away and inspired by your courage and spirit. You are facing such a terrible disease; I lost a good friend to it – but there are so many more advances now. I admire how you write in such an upbeat way under difficult circumstances.

    • inmycorner says:

      Thank-you, Judy, for those kind words. I don’t know why I can remain so hopeful. Funny, isn’t it? One never knows one’s capacity until actually faced with adversity. Not that I wanted it – but I have learned a lot about myself. Writing actually helps me to be upbeat because I don’t like to read what I wrote when it brings me down. grin. So – I give myself some happy thoughts.

  11. I am sorry – but you are strong Stacey. You beat it once – you can do it again. May God bless you

  12. laura brown says:

    I admire you Stacey, I really do. You are a strong women and you have been here before. You have given so any students so much of yourself and you can do the same for yourself and beat it again. Xoxoxoxo, you and the kids are in my prayers.

    • inmycorner says:

      My dear Laura – your words hold such weight with me. I have always enjoyed watching you grow as a student and as a person – you never disappoint. You are very kind. Thanks for giving us your time, consideration, and prayers!

  13. Gallivanta says:

    In your corner, too, and am glad you have the opportunity to try the immunotherapy. Hugs to everyone.

  14. pepe says:

    Sending you prayers and blessings Stacey..!! Lets fight again..I am with you…

  15. Chris Rozenberg-Willson says:

    Stacey! I’m so sorry to hear the news but I know with your family by you side you’ll get through the difficult time a little easier.

  16. rhysmcc says:

    Thinking of you as I continue my own journey from chemo to MD Anderson for a gene blocking drug.

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