Aug 222005

OVCA in the news…

(not that this reminds me of how pissed off I am that the locum who was replacing my GP wouldn’t do a full physical when I complained of some pelvic weirdness. Poor little gender-confused fella, didn’t want me dropping my drawers, I reckon. Not that I mind, in retrospect. Poor fella.)

This story, scooped from here

Diagnosing Ovarian Cancer Earlier

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — It may be possible to detect ovarian cancer sooner than once thought. A new study finds many women with the disease have symptoms at least four months before they are diagnosed.

Researchers from the University of California Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento found women with ovarian cancer were at least twice as likely to see a physician for abdominal swelling or pelvic pain as early as 12 months before they were diagnosed. Nine months before diagnosis, the women were more likely to complain of abdominal pain. However, only about one-fourth of the women with these symptoms were tested for ovarian cancer in a timely manner.

The study authors conclude, “Our findings suggest that ovarian cancer could be diagnosed earlier in some patients whose diagnosis is delayed by at least four months because physicians order abdominal imaging or perform gastrointestinal procedures before they order a test more likely to diagnose ovarian cancer, such as pelvic imaging and/or CA125.”

Ovarian cancer is a fast-growing tumor, progressing from the early stage to advanced stage of the disease in as little as a year. It is usually diagnosed in the late stages when prognosis is poor. This study adds to the increasing evidence that patients may have symptoms many months before ovarian cancer is diagnosed and before it is advanced.

 Posted by at 9:14 pm
Aug 202005

okay, in this post, I will demonstrate for any and all of my readers that I am, in fact, a bit of a sloe learner.

See, I have to tell you that I am now at the point where I find myself kind of wrestling some element of disbelief, some lingering doubt, some feeling that maybe I just had this terrible dream for a big chunk of last year and look at me now, all rested and refreshed and handsomely hirsute.
Sometimes, and always at the oddest times, I find myself stopped dead in my tracks while I try to make sense of the sentence, “Holy crap! I had/have cancer.”
See, I am so not good with all this that I don’t even know what tense to use for that sentence.

You see, I have had a pretty solid political understanding of AIDS since my friends started dying in the eighties.
And I know a bunch about the horrors of Hep C, because so many people I know have it and have to deal with all the crap that comes with it.
I have spent some time in the ringside seats watching those I love battle some big nasties.
And I have certainly had friends and loved ones deal with cancer, don’t get me wrong.
I just never, ever though I would be someone who dealt with cancer.
When it came to my time to step into the ring, I never saw myself, in the black silk trunks, going up against cancer.
Yes, even though I smoked for all those years.
Never mind that.
I just never saw myself that way.
So imagine how odd it was for me to get a type of cancer that, according to Dr. On-call-ogist, isn’t effected one way or the other by smoking.

I complain a lot lately about how I feel like I can’t keep up and how I am still trying to rebuild my life and I wish people would understand that.
Here’s my dirty confession.
I am not so good with remembering that detail myself.
I really want my old life back.
And if I can’t have most of that old life back, I’d like to fast track out of this time of reconstruction and re-figuring everything out again.

I would like to know how one mentions the events of the year 2004 without bringing any conversation to an awkward and grinding halt and creating a situation where I get treated, errr, differently.

I would like to have enough time in my life to make sense of last year, repair the carnage that exists in many little pockets of my life from last year, and think about my future and start getting on with it.

I would like to have enough time to have a thorough and comprehensive break-down about all the shit that happened to me and mine in 2004.
2004, really not my favorite year.
Not by a long shot.

I would like to just feel solid again.
And I would like to someway, somehow, make it up to my girlfriend.
I don’t even know where to begin.

That’s what I would like.

I guess the first step in accomplishing all that is to realize the totality of what I went through.
Sometimes I feel like I can only peek at the events of last year for a few moments at a time, otherwise it’s just too freaky and overwhelming.
So, every so often, I pry the lid off my box of terrors and watch my demons spin around the room and I wrestle them and sometimes I win.
There are a lot of demons in that box.

I think this is going to take a while.

 Posted by at 8:49 pm
Aug 152005

It’s true, I went to see Dr. On-call-ogist last week and he blessed me and sent me forth to sin again.
I didn’t mention it here yet because I have been trying to figure my emotional reaction to the whole thing.
Because it’s all kind of weird.
See, I am happy, happy, happy that my test results are good.
Trust me, I am not unappreciative of all that.

But it’s getting hard to talk about life in the the shadow of cancer treatment.
I don’t miss chemo and all its accompanying disgusting icky crappy bits, not one bit.
But I feel like I am wandering in fairly uncharted territory in the post-chemo battleground, and it’s hard because most people just assume I am better.
Hell, I certainly look better than I did a year ago.
And I do feel better than I did a year ago.
But I am still pretty wrecked.
I find myself weeping for no apparent reason.
And that’s a little hard to explain, especially when everyone figures you are all cured up and happy to rejoice in the wonder of every single fabulous day.
Sometimes I feel more alone now, in the whole making-sense-of-whatever-the-hell-that-was than I did when I did the chemo.
People basically expect me to be back in the saddle and ready to ride, like nothing had ever happened. And in as many ways as I can, I try to oblige.
But I am kind of less than perfect these days.
I know that may come as a shock.

It’s all kind of bizarre.

I didn’t mention my test results because I feel like this is becoming more and more of a solitary thing I am doing.
It’s hard to talk about the gravity of the situation and the long term prospects without sounding… melodramatic or something.
So I am talking less and less about the thrilling world of cancer and life with cancer and life after chemo and all that carcinogenic jazz.
I don’t want to whine about it.
It’s just how it is.

So, yeah, my test results were good.
And I am happy about that.
And I am worried, in a low, rumbling kind of way, about what my future holds.
And it seems like everyone has resumed their old lives and I am trying to make sense of all this.
I gotta say, those OVCA bloggers make all the difference in the world.
It’s very odd to draw such comfort from a group of women who I have pretty much never met, with the exception of the exceptional Louise.

So, that’s my sad story, amigos.

I try not to get too maudlin here, but I am going to post this because I think there isn’t enough info on how bizarre life after chemo can be.

 Posted by at 10:50 pm
Aug 132005

So we did the Trip of Fear to the Cancer Agency to get Spike’s quarterly test results. I thought I did well as we went into the building, because my teeth were barely chattering and I did not vomit on the floor. Spike was brave, but then, she’s just like that.

She passed with flying colours. No signs of cancer, happy bloodwork. Yes, yes. Go home, have a life. See you in three months.

And I look around at my life, and my love, and think about what a lucky grrl I am.


 Posted by at 5:40 pm
Aug 092005

Today is the 60th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki.
80,000 people died, 74,000 of them almost immediately.

Today,I heard an interview on the CBC with one of the pilots.
They asked him if he felt any grief, in retrospect.
He said, no.
He said that the Japanese had been really mean to the American troops.
He didn’t seem to think there was anything that was extra fucked up about killing thousands of civilians, including all the children that would have been killed.
He said he had gone back to Hiroshima and Nagasaki a few years after the war.

Apparently, Nagasaki was not the original target. Kokoru was, but the Americans couldn’t fly there because there was a typhoon.
Imagine that.

Having gone through 8 rounds of chemotherapy, I find it hard to understand how seemingly normal people could drop that bomb and kill and poison so many people.
See, I had cancer, and people hopped on board and helped me.
Because cancer is awful and people feel compelled to help.

But somehow, it’s okay to drop an atomic bomb on a bunch of unsuspecting civilians and have them die totally awful deaths.
It’s okay to kill those people with a ton of deadly poison (that will stay in the atmosphere and kill lots and lots and lots of people over the years) because, well, apparently because it was important to end the war.
(And besides, they weren’t that pink colour that we so admire in each other, so they must have brought it on themselves.
Or something.)
And hey, don’t get me wrong. I think bringing WW2 to an end would have been a pretty big priority.
But apparently, ol’ President Truman had a bit more on his mind than just “ending the war”.
Apparently it was important to get an unconditional surrender from the Japanese and send a message to the Soviets and the Japanese and the rest of the world that the Americans were the big old bad ass super-power of the world and they weren’t afraid to pull out the big guns to prove their point.

So, happy anniversary.
Let’s all pause to think about how far we have come.

 Posted by at 6:42 pm
Aug 052005

Yesterday, I got to meet Louise because she is here in my city.

We got together and it was lovely.
Louise is great. She is funny and smart and brilliant and lovely and smart and kind and sweet and lovely.
While I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone, it’s awfully nice to sit and talk with someone who knows exactly what I mean when I complain about ovarian cancer and all its wild ride thrills and chills.

Chalk another one up for the benefits that come from cancer bloggers connecting up with each other.

I will say more about how spectacular Louise is soon, now I have a date to lift things and put them back down again, and then I must go swim in a lake.

But hooray for Louise.

 Posted by at 6:33 am