So on March 20, 2017 my husband convinced me to go to the ER. I'd been having a headache for over a week (I rarely get headaches, and this one was BAD), plus I'd begun to have balance issues. No falling, but my equilibrium was off. I'd been on a strict vegan diet + juicing 5# of carrots daily for about 3 weeks at that point and assumed I was just going through a detox of sorts.
MRI found a golf-ball sized brain tumor near my cerebellum. A neurosurgeon was consulted and surgery was scheduled the for the next day. He informed me that IF I had to have a brain tumor, it was in the best possible location for surgical excision. Path later confirmed it was a rectal cancer met and not a new cancer. Fortunately he barely had to shave any hair and no one could tell I'd had brain surgery just by looking at me. He said I'd need radiation once I was healed from the surgery. Being fed up with conventional cancer treatment, as I already felt it failed me, I thought, "We'll see about that."
I was released from the hospital after a week and recovered well. Three weeks post-op I was back at work for 2 weeks of light duty. By week 3 back on the job, I resumed taking on a few clients for massage. During this time, through copious research, I put together an all-out alternative plan that would fix the problem
not just the symptom (tumors). IV vitamin C, a largely plant-based diet (no juicing this time), and a truckload of supplements recommended by a very highly-regarded oncology nutritionist. I set up an appointment with a doctor to see about mistletoe injections as well.
Last weekend, the off-balance sensation returned. Surely it must be an inner or middle ear infection. No way could the tumor have come back in 7 weeks.
It's back, along with 2 smaller mets in the right front portion of the brain.
So here I sit, in the hospital, with 2 whole-brain radiation sessions under my belt. They say I'll lose my hair (
) and, as for what comes next, well, we'll have to see first how well the radiation goes. There's really no textbook plan for this, as I'm such an anomaly. My onc, who a lead at the local hospital (an MD Anderson affiliate) is having my records sent there, just to get a broader opinion of what can/should be done.
I have tried SO HARD to stay optimistic. I really thought I could fix this by alternative means. Now that's out the window and I'm a little P.O.'ed by Chris Wark and his plethora of videos featuring survivor stories, without all this nasty business. I guess it's jealousy on my part, although I'm certainly glad things worked out well for those folks. But there's an undercurrent of smugness at times that bugs me. (Again, I'm probably just envious and bitter).
So here I sit. 42 and in perfect health, besides the cancer. I feel like everyone around me sees me with a foot in the grave. I keep getting that damned, "Awww, poor you" look from people and it makes me want to scream, "I'm not dead! And by the way, technically, we're ALL dying, I hope you know! Even you!" Yeah, I've got some anger issues right now, I realize that.
At least my onc and I are on the same page. He's into quality of life, over quantity of life. I've told him I don't want to suffer. If we can keep me alive AND FEELING GOOD, we can play ball. But if we're going to keep me alive and I'll have ZERO enjoyment and will merely be a walking corpse, well, that's a different story.
Anyway, that's what's been up with me. Hope everyone else has been having a better go of it lately.
42 yr. old female
Rectal cancer Stage 3C T3 N1 M0 - Sept 2015
28 rounds radiation w/Xeloda - Nov - Dec 2015
2/17/16 - Surgery to remove rectal tumor, lymph nodes (2/20+), ovaries & fallopian tubes, temp. ileostomy
3/28/16 - 9/26/16 -12 rounds FOLFOX w/full oxi
Ileo reversal 10/27/16; Port removed 12/1/16
Lung mets confirmed 2/6/17
March-May 2017 - brain mets; brain rad. 5/9-5/29/17