Wednesday, June 02, 2010

One Year

Mary died this weekend.
I did not know her well.
She was a co-worker I casually chatted with in the PT cave.
She was diagnosed a few years ago. She had surgery, therapy.
She seemed to do well for a awhile.
But, then the cancer came back.

It has been a year since the end of my cancer treatment.
They start the "I am x number of years post cancer" clock with your last chemotherapy.

The rule of thumb is that the five year survival rate of all stages of ovarian cancer is 45.5%.
Since my cancer was confined to the primary site, my survival rate is 92.7%.

The tumor apparently burst during the surgery. I worry that some of those cancer cells are circulating around my body.
Trying to find another area to feed off of. My liver. My stomach, My bladder. My colon.
Skewing my survivor rate percentage lower.

But, so far, I have had normal CA-125 levels. My MRI was free of tumors. Just the mesh and titanium tacks from my hernia repair remain.

My oncologist is pretty much done with me.
"Come back in 6 months", Dr. Lin says.

It's just that at times I let the fear bubble up to the surface of my mind.
I try not to but, I worry that I am in the 7.3% that do have a return of the cancer.

I worry I will have no one to take care of me.
I worry I will die alone in a nursing home.
No one holding my hand when I pass on to the next life.

Mary died this weekend.

Wade died january before last.

Karen died in March of 2009.

Lynette died days before last Christmas.

Reta died just this last March.

I suppose they can reach for me from the other side when it is my time.

"and to see you're only very small and life flows on within you and without you."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Overheard in the Therapy Room

Therapist: "What are your plans for the day?"

Elderly Male Inpatient Rehab Patient: "To prepare a typing list for your sister and bathe the cat."

I don't know who is going to be more upset. My sister taking typing orders from someone who's not paying her or the cat.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Aunt Ireta

A photo of my aunt Janet, Aunt Ireta and mom surrounding their dog.

My Mom and Aunt at a party celebrating my Grandma's birthday.

My aunt was a saucy lady who had a tendency toward swearing like a sailor.

I loved that about her.
RIP Aunt Reta.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"High Probability of Ovarian CA

It has been a year ago today since I had an ovarian cancer removed.

I am thinking tonight about last year.
Staring at the preliminary CT report that said "High probability of ovarian CA".
How incredibly scared I was.
I still am, I suppose.

I know the doctors say my survival rate is good.
A stage I cancer.
Chemo for good measure.
Low CA-125 levels since the end of treatment in June.
Clear mammogram in August.
All is going well.

But, it's always in the back of my mind.
Who am I kidding? It's in the front of my mind on a daily basis.
What if it comes back?
What if some stray cancer cells weren't caught? A few loose cannons that the Taxol and Carbo didn't kill.
Will they end up in my liver or colon like the cancers that took my cousins, Wade and Karen this past year?

Every little ache.
Every little twinge and I begin to wonder if it's starting all over again.

I realize this is no way to live. I have to get on with life.

I can't let worry be the thing that ends up killing me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Message For Pat

No more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Overheard At The Nurse's Station

Unit Secretary: "What time is the pt from COH getting here?"

Registered Nurse: "I don't know yet I have to talk to the doctor about it. They said they were putting the pt in an ambulance and it will be here in 35 minutes."

Secretary: "Really."

RN: "Yes. I told them we cannot accept the pt. without the doctor's approval. They are just trying to get the pt. out of there by passing the bucket."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Overheard in the Therapy Room

Therapist: "What kind of test did they take you down for this morning?"

Elderly Male Patient: "I don't know."

Therapist: " I saw them taking you off the unit earlier this morning. You don't know what test it was?"

Patient (clearly has no idea): "It was a sex test."

Therapist: Did you pass?"

Patient (smiling): "With flying colors!"

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Remembering Lynette

February 21, 1956 - December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Tale

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Overheard in the Therapy Room

Therapist (noticing the newspaper on the table): "What's going on with Tiger today?"

100 year old Female African American Patient: "I don't know, but if he's that rich, he can play with me anytime!"

Therapist: "Really. Is that so? What do you think about that whole situation?"

Patient: "Well, I wonder about these mixed marriages. A lot of women like that black meat.
I had it for 50 years and it was nice."

Laughter from the therapist.

Patient: "I might be 100, but I ain't dead down there yet!"

Monday, November 30, 2009

Overheard in the Therapy Room

Middle-Aged Male Patient: "You know, I had an affair with my high school football coach."

Therapist: "Oh?"

Middle Aged Male Patient: "Yes. I got all the best positions." Pause. "On the field."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rehab at El Cholo

I went to dinner last night with some old friends from the hospital.
Some of them still work there, but I don't see them often.
They have moved on from the rehab unit to different floors.
There were several people there last night that I have not seen in many years.

Andi flew down from San Jose on Friday night. Kirsten and I went to pick her up and then we went over to Twoohey's for a late dinner.

The next night, we all met in the bar at El Cholo for a quick drink (how I have missed you, casadores). Then we had a nice little stroll down memory lane with dinner.

I have worked at the hospital for 20 years.
I have seen people come and go. Many people.
Some of them I have kept in contact with and some not so much.
Being with these old friends last night was good for my soul.

I didn't realize how much I miss them.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Overheard At The Nurses Station

Physical Therapist: "You know, for the longest time I thought cervical cancer was cancer in the neck."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When Blue Dye Studies Go Wrong