“Wow! You look so good…”

Yesterday was my first post-op appointment with the spine surgeon and those were the words he screamed at me from across the room after doing a double take to be sure it was me 🙂 🙂 🙂

To be fair though, lying in an hospital bed upside down, bawling your eyes out, screaming through the roof whilst wearing a hideous blue hospital gown doesn’t exactly make for a picture perfect moment. However, he didn’t just mean I was looking good physically (which by the way, I was haha), he was also referring to the speed at which I had recuperated – yay!!!!!

We were ushered into a consultation room by his assistant and he joined us less than 5 minutes later. He reiterated his point about how well I looked and went on to explain again how bad things had gotten before I went in. He was of the opinion that the fact that the pain got so much worse in the hours leading up to the surgery was a sign that paralysis was imminent. He estimated that I probably beat being paralyzed on the left side (from waist down) by mere hours and not by a month as was earlier estimated. How blessed and fortunate am I???????

He assessed the wound and he’s happy for the radiation oncologists to get involved. I’m hoping to get a call from them in the next couple of days for a pre assessment and treatment plan.

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I had a meeting with my medical oncologist last week mostly to discuss the results from my latest CT scan. I’m relieved to report that the chemo is keeping everything else stable and there were some shrinkage observed. We have no explanation for what happened with the spine but we are positive the combination of surgery and radiotherapy will significantly reduce the burden of disease in the spine and pelvis.

The plan going forward would be stick to the same chemo regimen and have more frequent scans. However, due to my White Blood Count being elevated (oh yeah, typical of me to pick up an infection in the middle of all this drama! I’ve been placed on antibiotics though so hoping that takes care of it), and with the radiotherapy potentially starting soon, chemo is on hold for now. My oncologist is of the opinion that given how much bone marrow production takes place in the bones, my blood count is going to take a hit during the radiation treatments. Throwing chemo into the mix as well might not be the smartest idea.

What shocked me the most  though was going through the report for the spine MRI I did prior to the surgery. I will include some excerpts below:

“….extensive soft tissue tumor……”

“….component of intraspinal extension measures 3.3 x 1.0 x 1.6cm”

“….causing severe asymmetric compression….”

“….the tumour occupies more than 50% of the AP diameter….”

“….There’s even larger tumour …..at T12-L1 measuring 4.8 x 3.0 x1.5cm….”

“….bulky soft tissue in the sacrum….

I will stop right there but you get the gist! Things were pretty pretty bad! I am so thankful that I didn’t see a copy of the report prior to the surgery because it would have broken me completely. The adjectives that were thrown in there were pretty scary to say the least.

Going through the report post surgery just made me realize how lucky I was to walk (no pun intended!) away from it all with ‘just’ the pain from the surgery and the radiotherapy treatment that’s ahead. I always try to dig deep and find something to be grateful for; for this round of challenge, it’s me 1 – cancer 0!!! I pray to always have one or two or ten over cancer because it’s messed with the wrong person!

I highlighted the last excerpt in red because they didn’t take out the tumour in the sacrum during the surgery due to it’s location. However, both the surgeon and the radiation oncologist are fairly certain that radiotherapy would ‘zap’ the tumour in the sacrum in addition to mopping up whatever micro cells were left behind in the spine after the surgery.

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How am I feeling?

I’ve been asked this question over and over in the last few weeks and sadly, I think most of my responses have been  along the lines of “I feel crappy”, “the pain is really bad”, “I just need a break” etc. Well, I’m happy to report that today looks like it’s going to be a good day! I woke up feeling motivated, strong and happy and I pray for more days like this.

It’s a beautiful day in Calgary today and I am going to have one of those – chilling on the deck, having pizza for lunch, drinking some super chilled drink (don’t ask what!) and enjoying the company of a great friend who unfortunately is also a fellow cancer buddy 😦 although she’s the strongest and fiercest advocate I know and I am so blessed to be able to call her my friend. We always have so much fun kicking cancer’s b*** and I imagine today would be no different. We are both thriving and I’m sure we will be raising our glasses to continued stability, less hospital admissions and a whole lot of healthy years ahead of us!!! Wish you could all join us, but never mind we will also be raising our glasses to having supportive  friends and family xxx

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5 thoughts on ““Wow! You look so good…”

  1. Kathy

    You are soooooooooooooo very strong!!!!! Thinking of you!!! Love you!! Keep standing!
    See you soon in Kelowna!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

    Like

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