What is this?

What is this? I don't really know, other then a continuation of my updates and writings that I was sharing previously on Caringbridge of this journey through cancer and now widowhood and single parenting.

Maybe it won't end up being anything at all, or maybe it will be a glimpse into my heart, my life, my current situation, my testimony.

Whatever it becomes, I am touched that you are interested.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Life after Cancer - Summary of the past 3 years

This (previously drafted) post was supposed to start some updates/journaling of our life after cancer.  So many think that once the cancer is gone that life just gets back to normal.  And for some, that is the case, but for most we still carry it's effects around every day.

I have deleted a large post that was starting to describe it all, but at this point it seems irrelevant.  I think I can sum it up much quicker so I can move on to our current situation back in the Journey of the Big 'C'.

Basically 3 days after we got the wonderful news that Brandon was in remission, my body started acting up dramatically.  I got very sick very quickly, fevers, tremendous body pain, headaches, nausea, and pretty much bed ridden for a few weeks.  Blood work showed something Autoimmune going on, and I was given a burst and taper dose of steroids to 'reset' my immune system.  It worked briefly.  After 8 months of rheumatologists, hematologists, primary care doctors, tests, biopsies and ultrasounds I was finally diagnosed with Lupus in March 2012.  

Ever since we have been playing trial and error with medications to find the right treatment plan so we can live a fulfilling life with chronic illness and pain.  It has been challenging and life limiting to say the least, but maybe some other post I will go into more details of our battle with Lupus.

During that time our roles of patient and caretaker quickly switched to Brandon caring for me.  Yet, the effects of chemo and all the other medications were still taking a toll on his body.

Since completing chemo, Brandon stayed on a preventative treatment called Avastin.  This drug, new to the market in 2006, has shown great results in aiding treatment of Stage IV Colon cancer and some types of Lung Cancer.  Due to it's newness, not many people have been on this medication long term or solely as a preventative treatment, and many of the effects are not known.

Since remission Brandon has been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Gastroporesis.  The Gastroproesis causes a lot of GI disturbances and limits the types of foods he can eat, such as no raw fruits or veggies unless pureed to make digestion easier.  Super fatty and greasy foods are also difficult to digest.  He has a medication that he needs to take 30 minutes before meals to aid the stomach in digestion.  We have been fortunate that he has been able to get away with taking it less frequently, except shortly after his Avastin treatments when it typically would trigger GI upset.

So, in the almost 3 years of remission we did our best to live life with 2 chronic illnesses with many limitations that other people in their early 30's don't have.  We prayed about starting a family - a very difficult decision to have to make when you have faced Stage IV cancer and have Lupus.  In February of 2013 we felt God give us a sense of calm to give it a go, and in November we were thrilled to find out we were expecting our first child!

I'll leave off here - and will shortly update specifically on the current situation we are facing with the cancer returning based on a Pet scan done on Friday the June 27th.

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