Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Cancer Story

About 3 1/2 to 4 years ago now, I remember rolling over to my side when my arm brushed this huge lump in my breast. I went through all the processes of panic, fear, ignoring, denial, anger, depression and finally into acceptance. I had just been relaxing from a very stressful and traumatic year where my whole family seemed to have collapsed in the health arena.

My 3 year old daughter had been going to the hospital every other day for over a year to keep her blood pressure well monitored. For some reason after many many tests, no reason as to why her blood pressure and heart rates were off the charts and on a few occasions almost had her admitted to the hospital. It had gotten to the point where I was monitoring it at home and keeping her on a very strict diet of no caffeine ( including chocolate) and no sodium which seemed to help. I was nervous but starting to relax as she was approaching 7 and things seemed to have returned to normal for her.

At this point  my husband had a heart attack at age 38 and upon being admitted, the tests revealed he had a prior heart attack to this one. A week later, with my nerves already shot, my sister called and my mother was in the hospital with double pneumonia. She did not think she would make it through the night and I had to make an emergency trip 600 miles away through a blizzard with my 2 children, but leaving my husband at home where I worried about his heart. Sometime in the midst of all this my Dad one week into retirement informed us of him being diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.

While staying at my sisters with my mom in the hospital, I had time to observe my son who seemed to out of the blue, started toe walking at the age of 10. This brought back a memory of a year prior on a trip the emergency room with him, the Er doctor had asked if I had ever had him tested for Muscular Dystrophy.

I was at my sisters for about 9 days where my mom made it thankfully and I could go back home. I instantly started seeking help for my son where they did indeed start testing for Muscular Dystrophy, tethered spinal cords and anything they could think of. 3 MRI's, doctor visits up the wazoo and many tests later, they could not seem to figure anything out.

My adult daughter had also started having stomach issues where we wondered if she may have developed my mothers Crohn's disease.

At this point I crashed, very close to a nervous break down, I literally could not deal with one more health issue with those I loved. It was too much for me to bear, all of it very scary and dealing with the fact I could lose every family member I loved all in the same year.

It was about 6 months after all this where that first lump appeared, and yet there was no history at all in my family ever for breast cancer, or much cancer at all for that matter. The few cases of cancer all were after 65 years old.

Yet we had no medical insurance, so I pretty much accepted my fate in the natural process of nature of life and death.

We were living in a new state at the time and I had no idea where anything was or what to do about it and then we moved back to my state of birth and the state I had never stepped foot out of other than the 1 year we were out of state down south. When we moved back, the economy was not doing us any favors and hubby took the only minimum wage job in town he could find.

Our car broke down and we spent the first summer back, biking 5 miles to town and back on a daily basis. Without a car I did not even stop to contemplate how to find help, we literally were in survival mode.

Things progressed to get worse, the lumps spread, into my neck and then in my armpit. I was losing energy and having more frequent "bad" days of not feeling well or having to "push" through it to force myself what needed to be done to put food on the table, pay the bills and again, just survive.

I was getting to the point of not being able to "push" through some of the bad days and finally swallowed my pride and applied for food stamps and medicaid.

We were put on a spend down plan for medicaid where we had to have medical bills over $350 in any month before medicaid would cover anything. About a month after this, I found a program with the Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Program to get the free check up.

Yet by this point, even we knew I was facing Stage IV at this point and had accepted it for what it is. Thankfully through this program, it will automatically qualify me for Full Medicaid where I can seek treatment.

It gives me hope for while I had accepted my fate of dying through nature's way, finding help gives me the hope to fight where surviving becomes an option again.

I also have been doing extensive research on using holistic approaches and nutrition as medicine to give me even more of a fighting edge.

Seems since my physical, my body has been trying to crash and I just need to hold out for the Medicaid to go through in a couple of weeks where they want me to immediately schedule my Mastectomy for my right breast to be removed. In the meantime, I am having trouble eating, especially meats, not having regular bowl movements, constant stomach pains and a really bad pain in my right side right below the rib cage and wraps around to the back as well. I am dealing with this for the meantime with detoxing with green tea, drinking fresh ginger and lemon tea for inflammation and eating lots of healthy fruits and veggies. I also start my day with Pomegranate juice and organic yogurt for the probiotic qualities.

Right now I am waiting for the biopsy results call although they pretty much diagnosed me without waiting and after my mammogram and ultrasound. They said the biopsy was pretty much only for proof for Medicaid at this point.

In any case, this is my story and I look forward to sharing my journey of Kicking Cancer's ASS with you all along with reading my Co-Author who is my adult daughters posts!