Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Oct. 2014: Summer's Gone; Fall is Here!

I've been thinking of writing this blog post since the end of August!  I realize I've lost most of my readers by now, but I would still like to share the "after cancer" life.  Many who stop by here have cancer, and I feel it might be helpful for them to know what life might be like after treatment is over. Also, it's important to me to let others, who haven't experienced cancer, know what life can be like.
How many of you thought that if you get cancer, and it hasn't spread, that you go through some treatments that make you sick and lose your hair, and then when you are finished you go on your merry way--never to think about cancer again? Show of hands?? Mine is raised too!  I think I probably realized that life might be a little different for a survivor--you know, they stop and smell the roses more, that type of thing.  Let me share a bit with you what life is really like.
FOLFOX is the standard chemo regimen for colorectal cancer.  It does a great job of killing cancer cells.  It also kills good things--like nerves, hair follicles, toenails, the skin on the hands and feet, etc.  I've heard of people losing their hearing and having heart attacks from it.  If you've ever had FOLFOX, you will probably have some sort of after effects from it.  4.5 years after finishing, I still have burning, numbness, and tingling in my hands and feet.  I also had AC+T chemo for breast cancer.  I completely lost my hair (which is still thinner now than before), and the Taxol made my neuropathy worse.  It's another nasty combo that can also cause heart trouble.
Then there is the colon surgery.  If you are fortunate enough to have a tumor that is high in the colon, you may not have as many issues as a person with a low tumor.  But it is still a major surgery, and your colon will work differently, and there is always the risk of strictures and blockages caused by scar tissue. People with low tumors (like mine) have all sorts of changes in their bowels.  Some days they can hardly leave the bathroom, and then, without warning they can be constipated for for several days. Some can't work because the issues are so bad.  Some who had a temporary stoma, that was reversed and their colon was reconnected, have asked to go back to a bag because having to constantly "go" is ruining their life.  Breast cancer surgery can cause "frozen shoulder" which can last for years, and some people never regain full use of their arm/s.  Some surgeries move muscle around and then those people need physical therapy, and, again, they may never be able to get back to where they were before surgery.  If lymph nodes are removed that person will always be at risk for lymphedema--which is swelling in the arm.  They may need special massages, phys. therapy, and wear special sleeves.  Once it starts, it never goes away. Oh, and it's usually not just one surgery for breast cancer, but many, over the course of many years. Did you expect your co-worker who had breast surgery to come back to work and be able to lift and carry and do everything they did before?  Well, they may need to do things differently, and may be gone a lot for therapies and surgeries--be kind to them!  And pray it never happens to you!

Some people who have cancer also have to have radiation.  I had it for both my colorectal cancer, and my breast cancer.  For some, this is the worst of all.  There are lots of internal organs that also get blasted, esp. when the cancer is in the stomach or pelvic area.  There are too many problems that can happen to even list here.  Some are scar tissue build-up, colon and bladder scar tissue and bleeding, skin that never heals or is always easily irritated, weakening of structures that can lead to fistulas, hernias, and ruptures, and on and on.  Other than tightening of the skin on my chest and armpit, I have not had too many side effects of the rads I had for breast cancer.  It most likely caused some scarring on my heart and lungs, but hopefully I will never notice that.  It also increased my risk for skin cancer and lung cancer--it is radiation after all! Both chemo and rads increase risk for cancer in the future.
Ok, those are only some things that can happen to colorectal and breast cancer survivors--there are many other types of cancer, each with their own set of problems. If you read all that, I want to thank you. You are a person who cares about others and wants to be aware of what people with cancer go through.  Expecting your friend, co-worker, or loved one to be back to "normal" after their cancer is gone is not helpful.  Ask them how they are doing, what side effects they still have, what help they may still need. I have a friend that just finished a long and difficult treatment for stage 4 colorectal cancer, and she is getting a break, but no one knows for how long.  Her family has been pressuring her to go back to work, and they don't want to hear about any of her problems--she was even told she was making stuff up while she was still getting chemo!! I can't imagine!  I'm sooooo very thankful for my family.  They know I still have some difficult days, and sometimes I need to miss an event (which when I do I usually end up in tears because I'm sad and frustrated I have to stay home!).  Thankfully, those days are getting fewer.  5.5 years out from my colon resection things are still slowly improving.  I'm STILL learning what I can and can't eat, although sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason to it!  Overall, I am doing better, and even my fatigue is better and I'm not completely exhausted every day after work.  
Today is a "bad tummy" day, which causes me a lot of pain (you know, all those radiated areas!), and I came home from work and took a pain pill. (Which is why I have time to sit and write this--I can't do much else right now!) I hurt so bad that I wasn't going to suffer one more minute! Taking a pain pill is very rare--I took a 1/2 a pill about 2-3 weeks ago, and before that it had been about 6 weeks since I needed one.  I had another surgery on my backside in Aug, and will need another one soon.  Repairing things "back there" is tricky.  One wrong cut could leave me needing diapers or a colostomy (bag) for the rest of my life. Also, radiated skin doesn't heal very well, so I could end up with a gaping wound that takes months and months to heal.  
I had acupuncture this summer for neuropathy, and it helped a bit, but I think I'll save that for another post.  I also need to tell you about my trip to Florida with my "Pearls" (breast cancer sisters!)!  There are some blessings that came out of my cancer journey, and they are a huge blessing to me!
So, that gives me a few reasons to update again soon!  If anyone with cancer comes across this blog, and wants to talk more, my e-mail address is nuttyoaks at gmail dot com.  I have some great resources I can share with you, and am always willing to share my experiences and help you through your treatment!
God bless you all!  Look for another update soon!
Tina

Friday, March 7, 2014

Neglected Blog!

Well now, I've neglected this blog for over 6 months!  Anyone just stopping by for the first time, make sure you check out the tab at the top labeled "My Journey".  That will give you an overview of my 2 cancers and treatments, and also give you links to take you to the beginning of each cancer diagnosis.
I recently had several tests done and met with my oncologist for my 6 month check up.  I've had CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis, a brain MRI, lots of labs, a mammogram, and .....I think that's it, although I feel like I'm missing something.  Bottom line---everything looks good!! And yes, I DO have a brain!  ;)
I won't have to have any more CT scans, because I've reached my 5 year anniversary for the colon cancer, which means NO MORE colon cancer!  I will still have a chest MRI for the breast cancer, and see my onc. every 6 months.
My brain MRI was because of some unusual headaches I've been having.  Still don't know what's causing them, but it's not brain cancer (THANK YOU LORD!!!!!).  That is the only test that has really scared me.  I REALLY was afraid that they might find a tumor up there.  I can handle tumors almost anywhere else--just NOT MY BRAIN.
The other thing I've been having issues with is the neuropathy in my feet.  I talked to my primary physician, and she put me on Neurontin (gabepentin).  I only stayed on it 9 days because it made me so groggy. I was supposed to double the dose on day 14, but there was no way I was going to do that.  My onc. wants me to try acupuncture, which surprised me because he's sort of a skeptic about things, but we've both heard many people say they've had improvement with it.  I haven't done it yet...I keep forgetting to call my insurance to see if they cover it.  If that doesn't work, Cymbalta might help. My neuropathy isn't too bad, but the burning feeling on the bottoms of my feet has been getting worse.  It's never terribly painful, just annoying.  It hurts worse when I've been on my feet a lot, or with any extreme temperature.  Too hot or too cold--they both cause that burning feeling.
Stomach/digestive issues are still there, but probably always will be due to the type of  colon resection surgery I had (Low Anterior Resection).  Things are better, but I find the side effects from cancer treatment to be very annoying some days.  I get tired of it and it gets me down sometimes.  I realized a while ago that I am almost always in some kind of pain/discomfort--no wonder I feel blue sometimes!  But don't worry, overall I feel happy and blessed!  Because, hey, I'm alive and cancer free, right??  :)
Well, that's my little update for now.  March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month, so if you are over 50, and haven't had your colonoscopy, GO GET IT DONE ASAP.  Colorectal cancer can be PREVENTED by getting your screenings done!  If you are younger and have any bowel changes, bleeding, etc. INSIST on getting a colonoscopy.  More and more young people are getting colon and rectal cancer now.  The best way to fight this disease is to catch it early!
Blessings!!
Tina

Monday, August 26, 2013

Past...Present...Future

I recently got an e-mail notification that someone left a comment on my last blog entry...which was in March!  I couldn't believe it had been that long...surely I updated in May or June?  Nope.  So, I'm pretty sure no one will read this, but I thought it was time to do a little update!
Since my last update I've had a DEXA (bone density) scan, MRI, CT scans, labs, and port flushes.  All is well!  My bones show some "pre" osteoporosis, so I need to take calcium (which I keep forgetting to take!).  I'm still eating mostly low-residue, but have the occasional wheat bread, salad, fruits, and veggies.  The trick is to spread them out throughout the week, and not overdo it.  I mostly avoid carrots, cucumbers, and spaghetti sauce, but might have a small amount now and then.
I see my oncologist in 2 days, but not sure what we will talk about since I already have all the results of the tests I did last week!  I'm sure he'll ask about Rich, my grandchildren, and especially my adopted grandson, Charlie. This time I'll have some more family news to share! (More on that later...) I am most interested to find out if I can start going 1 year between scans, and do I really need those labs every 3 months?  I am 4.5 years out from the colon cancer dx, and 3.5 years from the breast cancer dx.  I know my onc. was worried about me, with all that cancer, but I'm doing well now.  And as our insurance covers less and less, we have to pay more and more of the costs of all the tests!
My worst complaint has been fatigue.  I planned to work on that this summer, and talk to my primary care physician (PCP) if things didn't improve.  I think the fatigue has improved a bit.  Last summer, even though I don't work in the summer, I was still tired a lot.  Many days, by mid-afternoon, I was just as tired as if I had worked.  Not good. Then of course during the school year I felt awful.  I worked 4.25 hours, and then came home and could barely function most days.  I was VERY frustrated!  I do know my job is draining, and does sap a lot of my energy (I don't know how anyone lasts for 6.5 hours, much less the teachers who work WAY beyond that!), but I shouldn't feel that bad!  So, this summer, I have been eating a bit better--cutting down on chemicals and processed foods--and exercising more (which I will do when I'm done writing this).  I am eating less, and have lost just a few pounds, but at least I've made the scale go down instead of up for the first time since chemo!  I'm learning what my body can do with and without (my body does NOT like to be hungry).  I started using the 'myfitnesspal' website, which counts calories for you, and helps you figure out how many calories you need each day to lose the amount you want to lose.  It's been helpful for portion control.  So, overall, I feel better.
I start back to work a week from tomorrow!  I REALLY, REALLY hope I feel better this year!  I get done with work at 1:30, which should leave me plenty of time to do other stuff.  Praying I have the energy I need!  As much as I would love to not have to work at all, I do think getting back into a routine is good for me.  I make better use of my time when there is routine.  And I really do like working with the kids!
A little family update:  Rich is doing well at his new job--he's been there about a year and a half.  Pay and benefits are good, and it's just 'normal' work stress, not the stress and low morale of his previous job.  SO BLESSED to be out of that place!  His drive is too long (26 miles one way), and sometimes we worry about lay-offs, but over all it's good.  
Rachel and her husband are doing foster care now, and are in the process of adopting another child! This is a child placed with them soon after they got their license.  He's 2 and has down syndrome also.  He is active, and smart, and lets you know what he thinks about things!  :)  They also have a very sweet little baby girl that we would all love to keep in the family, but it looks like the baby's mom will be able to take her to live with her soon.  Praying God will do what's best for baby, and if she has to go, I hope we'll still be able to see her once in awhile!  Rachel's older 2 boys are doing very well, even with other kids coming and going!  Charlie just turned 6 and will be in kindergarten this year!  He is our super-hero!  Brennan will be 4 soon.  He is as smart as ever, and there is no end to the amusing things he says!  Love those boys!
Alyssa, hubby, and baby girl are doing GREAT.  Selah is 10 months old.  She is really picking up things fast--she always amazes us!  She'll be walking soon, I think.  She is soooo adorable!  We get to watch her often, and she is a smiley, happy little girl!
Our youngest, Shonna, is starting her 2nd year at the U, and she is majoring in journalism.  She has a lot of talent as a writer. She is a junior now, and has 3 semesters left.  She may get a minor also (but I forgot in what! Oops!).  She moved out of my sister's house into an apartment closer to school.  I don't always see her as often as I would like, but we did get to spend some time shopping and antiquing recently, and I enjoyed that!  
We all managed to get to Duluth for a few days this summer. Alyssa, hubby, baby, and Shonna were with us at the beginning, then Shonna's boyfriend joined us, then Alyssa and fam had to leave, and Rachel and her 4 kids joined us the last day!  So we got to spend time with everyone (except Rachel's husband), just not at the same time!  Next year I'm thinking about staying at a resort/lodge/cabin type of place a little farther up, right on Lake Superior. I think it would be better for the kids if we can find a place that has a nice play area and beach.  I'm still thinking about getting away with just my hubby for a night or two up north this fall. We'll see~we might be too busy building a deck!
When I stop to think about where I was this time 4 years ago, I am amazed that I am here, cancer-free, and so blessed.  4 years ago I had just finished radiation, was weak and tired, was being treated for C-diff and giving myself shots for a blood clot, and had endured a very painful summer.  I was healing and gaining my strength back to do 8 more rounds of FOLFOX.  Little did I know the next summer I would be doing another difficult chemo regimen for breast cancer!  That is all behind me now.  These last scans I didn't even have any "scanxiety", except for that brief moment when I saw my oncologist's phone number on my cell phone.  His nurse was calling me to tell me all my tests were good! 
I make a point of remembering what I've been through every now and then, because it helps me to be grateful for every moment I am blessed with. It reminds me of the wonderful ways God showed up for me and helped me through those difficult times.
My future?  It looks fabulous.  Retirement someday with the man I love, doing the things we love and enjoy, being a grandma, and spending time with my children, grandchildren, and foster "grandchildren".  Yep, looks pretty good from here!
Love and blessings!
Tina
PS  Rich and I also went on our first 'real' vacation together in June--we went to Las Vegas!  But that is another story for another day...  ;)

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 2013 Update

Hello there!
It's almost the end of March and we still have LOTS of snow!  Our temps are running about 10 degrees below normal, but at least the sun has been out the last few days, and the snow is slowly melting.  Easter is this coming Sunday already!  We will be having everyone over to our house for a buffet lunch.  My house will be FULL.  May have to come up with a different plan next year, as there just isn't enough room in my house for our growing families!
I have been spending a lot of my online time on some private Facebook groups for those affected by colon cancer.  If you know anyone with ANY type of colon/rectal/anal issue (including crohn's, IBS, colitis, cancer), tell them to search FB for COLONTOWN.  This is the main group, and from there you can join the different 'neighborhoods' that are more specific to your particular issue, including a group for caretakers.  It's all private, so talk about colons, rectums, and bodily functions are the norm there!  It's a blessing for me to FINALLY connect with others who understand what I'm going through.  We all help each other and share ideas on what works and what doesn't.  I've gotten some good advice there for my on-going issues, and things have improved for me.  I'm still hoping to improve things more, but at least my problems are better than they were.
Being in this community makes me aware, once again, of the many, many people with colorectal cancer.  There are those on there that are newly diagnosed, and they will finish chemo and have a good prognosis, like me.  Then there are those that are stage 4, and will be on chemo, off and on, for the rest of their lives. And, lately, there seems to be many (WAY TOO MANY) who are dying from this horrible disease.  Almost daily there are posts that someone passed away. Sometimes this gets into my head a bit, and I start to worry more about a recurrence.  I start to think in terms of when, not if.  Thankfully, God knows those troubling thoughts I am having, and He reminds me to put my focus on HIM.  I don't need to fear ANYTHING.  That is such a freeing thought!  Whether I am sick, healthy, rich, poor, dying--none of it matters.  God has given me eternal life, and He is with me every moment of every day.  Nothing is too big for Him.  What a relief to know He has my back! Whew!
Soon I'll get a break from Dr. appointments and tests (I hope!).  I had to have another minor surgery on my bum, and the worst part was the 9 pokes it took to get my IV started!  Over 2 weeks later I can still see the bruise on the back of my hand!  The surgery went well though, and I had very little pain after.  I had a DEXA bone density scan last week, and hope to get the results of that soon.  That is an easy scan--no IVs or anything!  Chemo can damage/weaken the bones, and so can menopause (which started early for me because of chemo/radiation), so we are just checking to see if my bones are still strong.  I have a post-op appt. this week, then a port flush appt. next week.  Then I really should make an eye dr. appt. and dentist appt.  Sheesh!  It's always something~I've already met my deductible for the year, and it's only March!
Well, that's my March update.  All the kids and grandkids are doing well!  My oldest and her husband will soon be licensed to do foster care, so we are all excited about that.  I hope I have enough energy to help her out! Thankfully summer is only a few months away and I'll be off work for a bit. :)
God bless each one of you!
Tina

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Feb. 2013 Visit With Oncologist

Saw my favorite Dr. today!  Dr. J, my oncologist, had a "Fellow' with him, as usual. Dr. J points out to the Fellow all my oddities.  Gee, glad I could be of help!  :)
I brought a little list of questions today. I asked him about supplements.  He doesn't think I need to take separate D, B complex, etc.  He thinks I should just take a good women's multi-vitamin.   The subject of vitamins came up because I told him I was eating a low residue diet to try to slow down my bowels, and make things more "normal".  He was concerned I wasn't getting enough nutrition if I wasn't eating fruits and vegetables.  I have been concerned about that too.  This low residue diet has helped, but not completely changed things as I had hoped, so I think I will start adding back in fruits and veggies (not that I ate that many to begin with!  But I was trying!).  I will stay away from raw carrots (because I know they are a problem), and nuts and seeds.  I think tomato sauce might be a problem too, so I'm going to try to avoid that for awhile.
Dr. J thought it would be a good idea if I took a baby aspirin every day.  He said it helps prevent colon cancer in some people with some certain type of cells.  They don't usually test to see if a person has those cells, but he said the baby aspirin is beneficial for other things too, so I can just go ahead and take it.
I asked him about damage to my bones from all the chemo I had, and that, combined with the fact that I am in menopause (early, thanks to radiation!), is reason to have a bone density test.  So, now I have to schedule one of those.  I've never had one, but I think they are pretty easy.
Other than that, he said my labs all look great.  We talked about my fatigue again--I mentioned I planned on talking to my PCP about it, and Dr. J thought that was a good idea. He did say, again, that with all the chemo and radiation I've had my body took a pretty good hit, so he's not too surprised by my fatigue. I just want it to go away!
Dr. J always asks about my family and grandkids, and especially my adopted grandson.  And he asks about Rich. He's a great oncologist!
When I get my labs done in 3 months I won't need to see him.  I'll see him again in 6 months when I have a ct scan, mri, and labs.
My mammogram is in 2 days, but I won't update about that, unless, of course, there is a problem!
Love and blessings to all!
Tina

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Update on Scans and Labs

Hello!
Just wanted to do a quick update about my CT scans and lab tests I had done last Monday.  By Monday evening I already had the results!  Everything looks good!  My hemoglobin is up a little (finally--I've been taking iron pills!).  My platelets are at the low end of the range, and have been since surgery.  Before that they were much higher.  I'm going to ask my oncologist about that when I see him on Tues. I have a list of things in my head that I want to ask him--I really need to write these questions down!
I will have another little surgery on my backside on March 8th.  Not going to do any major surgery on the fistula yet.  My surgeon can't guarantee the outcome, so we will hold off as long as possible.  There is a chance it might close up on it's own, eventually.
I had to miss another day of work due to my 'digestive system'.  The barium stuff I have to drink for the CT scan really messes me up, and I spent most of the evening and into the night in the bathroom.  I wasn't able to go to work the next day either.  I think that's 5 days I've missed this school year related to my cancer treatment/side effects.  Then I missed 4 days due to illness recently too--first a stomach bug, then a cold/chest/cough thing.  I don't usually get those type of viruses, so it was weird to get them one right after another.  I've already used up the 10 days I get per school year!  I'm praying I don't miss any more this year!
It's a relief to have my scans done and over with. I was getting a little nervous this time. I couldn't shake the feeling that 'this might be it'.  On the way to the hospital to get my tests done, as I was driving, I was praying and praying. And I was asking forgiveness for the fear, because I knew I shouldn't be afraid--I should be trusting in God.  Finally, I realized where the fear was coming from and I said out loud  "Satan, you can't touch this! I am a child of the Most High King, and covered by the blood of the Lamb!  I have no cancer in me, and I will trust in God and not be afraid!".  I felt soooo much better after declaring that for the devil to hear.  He fled and I was filled with peace! I was able to be joyful the rest of the day, which I think was nice for those around me in the hospital.  That can be a very stressful place, and I made sure I smiled at everyone!
Oh-- I have to mention my infusion nurses again.  One of my regular nurses is working at a different place (I will miss her and hearing about her lovely children and family!), and the other 'regular' one wasn't there either.  The nurse I had, Carol (Carole?), is one I know though, from being there over the last 4 years, and she had a person with her that was in training.  At the end, when I was ready to go, Carol started asking me about my grandkids, and how I was doing after treatment.  I was only going to tell her a little, to not take up too much of her time, but she kept asking, so I kept talking!  That was so special to me, that she took the time to REALLY ask how I was doing.   Usually when I don't have one of my 'regular' 2 nurses, I am in and out of there pretty quick.  Everyone is very nice and says hi, but I am only there for a port flush or labs.  It just made me feel really good, that she remembered things about my family, and really cared about how I was doing.  Chemo nurses are truly angels!
Well, I see my oncologist Tuesday, and have my mammogram Thurs., then the following week I have a pre-op, and my minor surgery.  Then I think I'll be done for awhile!  *Whew*!
More updates later this week.  Hope everyone feels blessed this week, and feels the love of Jesus surrounding them! Amen!
Tina

Monday, February 11, 2013

Four Years!

February 6th was the 4 year anniversary of my tumor being found during a colonoscopy.  I was having some symptoms that my primary Dr.(pcp) and gastro Dr. both thought were irritable bowel or colitis.  Thankfully, before my pcp looked further into my symptoms, she wanted me to have a colonoscopy, and then we'd know more what we were dealing with.  We were ALL surprised when the tumor was found. The gastro doc doing the procedure saw it right away (I was given some good drugs, but was fully awake) and said "See that? That shouldn't be there".  After the exam the doc came in and told us he was sure it was cancer, although we needed to wait for the pathology report for the 'official' word. I am so grateful Rich was with me!  We just held each other when the Dr. left.  Then he came back, and told me he had set up a CT scan for me that afternoon.  Things moved really fast!  I remember the nurse giving me a hug when she walked us out and telling me I was going to be ok.  That was so sweet, and yet scared me because I didn't really realize the gravity of the situation yet.  Thanks to my 'happy drugs', I wasn't too upset yet--I told Rich in the truck after to stop looking so gloomy!  Poor guy, he just found out his wife had cancer!  I'm sure he was overwhelmed! (I don't think I'll ever know how hard all of this was on him, as he did a good job of keeping it from me.  He was an EXCELLENT caregiver, and I'll always be grateful for that!)
Like I said, things moved quickly.  My CT scan didn't show any other areas of cancer (except a possible lymph node).  My gastro doc also contacted a surgeon, and an appt. to see him was scheduled, then my pre-op, then the surgery on Feb. 20th, just 2 weeks later.  During surgery, 18" of my colon was removed and I was able to be reconnected.  I came close to needing a colostomy, but am thankful I didn't!  It was a tough surgery, and I was in the hospital 8 days.  2 of 20 lymph nodes had cancer, and I was stage 3b.
My wonderful oncologist told me this type of cancer could be CURED.  Because of my young age (44),  I was given everything they could possibly throw at me!  None of my chemos were reduced, even with bad side effects.  Once he even let me get chemo when my counts were really low--the nurse had to go ask him if the orders were correct!  But he knew my counts always bounced back quickly when I had a neupogen shot, so he wasn't worried! I think it made a difference that my onc knew me well enough to know that I really wanted to complete all the treatments.  If I had said it was too hard and I wanted to back off a bit he probably would have, as I think he would have respected my wishes.  Same thing with radiation.  That was even more difficult, and I was told I didn't need to finish, but it was important to me to finish those last 3, and I did!  Although, I have to say, I never realized all the side effects I would have to live with!

Sometimes I have a hard time remembering how awful it all was, and other times I remember too well! I get frustrated dealing with painful side effects, but mostly, I am just so glad to be living life, cancer free.  I am enjoying my children and grandchildren.  My girls are such a blessing to me!  They really stepped up and did everything they could to help me get through those tough days of cancer treatment. I'm sure it was hard to watch their mom get cancer TWICE.  They are amazing young women!
Enough reminiscing...my 6 month CT scans are coming up next Monday, Feb. 18th.  I'll also get my labs done that day too.  Then the following week I see my oncologist and have a mammogram.  This coming Thurs. (the 14th) I'll see my colorectal surgeon about the fistula, and I'm thinking I'll have to have surgery on that soon. That is a side effect from surgery and radiation.  :(   
1 more year and I'll hit that 5 year mark!  I'm going to ask Dr. J about being 'cured'; if that still fits my case or not.  I don't remember if the breast cancer will ever be considered cured--maybe because I was  only stage 2b, I can be cured of that too.  I'm not sure--I hope I remember to ask! April 1st will be 3 years from the breast cancer diagnosis.
Life goes on, and God is good! :)
Love,
Tina