I’ve been on vacation from cancer.
Except for a couple of days seeing the good doctors at MD Anderson, over the past few weeks I’ve wiped cancer out of my mind and put it on the back burner. Hopefully, it’s put me on the back burner, too.
I figured that with chemotherapy starting soon, and finally recovered from the Horrid Hysterectomy from Hell, I’d better do what I want and have a little fun: get out to the ranch, take some photos, and enjoy life. I don’t know how chemo will affect me, whether or not I’ll have none/some/all of the effects I’ve tried to avoid hearing about. I therefore thought I should take advantage of a time when I feel great, and have lots of energy. It’s been wonderful!
So, as my vacation winds down, tomorrow I travel to San Antonio to see the oncologist to discuss treatment and establish a schedule. Since I’m getting down to business in tackling the cancer with which I’ve been diagnosed, I thought I should discuss it.
FALLOPIAN TUBE CANCER
I was diagnosed with fallopian tube cancer, which spread to the ovary. Fallopian tube cancer is considered to be quite rare; it is so rare, in fact, that when I went to cancer.org (the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health) to do research on it, I discovered that fallopian tube cancer isn’t even listed as a type of cancer! Upon this discovery, I immediately hopped on online “chat” and asked, point blank, why fallopian tube cancer isn’t listed on their site. They had no satisfactory response, except that it is rare.
Even though the poor lady on chat wasn’t to blame, I quickly and pointedly advised her of my concern about this egregious and unthinkable omission. I obtained contact information for the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Harold Varmus who, as his name suggests, resembles a varmint.
I e-mailed Dr. Varmus with my comments about the fact that they are withholding potentially life-saving information by not adding fallopian tube cancer to the list of cancers on their site. I received an insipid auto-response stating that he was out of the office. Nonetheless, I will march on with e-mails and phone calls until fallopian tube cancer is added to one of the most visible cancer web sites on Google and in the USA!
FALLOPIAN TUBE OR OVARIAN?
Since fallopian tube cancer isn’t listed on cancer.org, if you visited there you wouldn’t learn that there is growing evidence that a number of cases of ovarian cancer are really fallopian tube cancer that were incorrectly diagnosed. This is important, because early-stage fallopian tube cancer may present with symptoms, while ovarian cancer typically does not until the disease has spread to become deadly late-stage cancer.
In post-menopausal women, certain types of discharges are a danger signal. I had something going on for a while in that regard that should’ve alerted me to get to the doctor; only until the cancer got into the ovary did I notice a tiny bit of spotting. Even though I got to the doctor as soon as the bell rang in my head that something was amiss, had I been more in tune with this sign, I might’ve gotten there even sooner. My only regret: not having enough information about fallopian tube cancer. I intend to rectify this on a national scale as soon as I can.
ON A MISSION
I am taking on as a mission the urgent need to educate women about fallopian tube cancer and its symptoms. In any post-menopausal woman who is at all in touch with her own body, she should know if she is having a discharge, whether clear or tinted. If she is, she needs to run, not walk, to the doctor and insist that she receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound, an MRI and a CA125, a blood test to detect the presence of gynecologic cancer.
As for my situation, with a stage IIa diagnosis and a rare form of cancer, it is challenging to find reliable information about prognosis. As my brother correctly pointed out recently, nobody has a 100% survival rate. So, with that I place my prognosis squarely in the hands of God.
Just as I understood my responsibility for getting myself to the doctor for diagnosis, I now understand my responsibility for my part in treatment. It may not be pleasant, but I must do it. God blessed me with good judgment and a strong spirit, as well as access to the best medical care on the planet, and I take these things with me as I confront where the rubber meets the road in this journey.
When I pray about this, I ask God not to cure this cancer, because if that isn’t His will for me, then I will have placed a lot of hope in something that will never happen. Rather, I pray for grace and peace in accepting whatever God’s will for me may be. I pray for a grateful and humble heart when I receive the outpouring of love and support that have come to me in unbelievable abundance.
WE GOT SKUNKED
Last night in the middle of the night, my dogs leapt off the bed and raced out the doggy door, and barked like hell. I was too tired to care what about, until the unmistakable and odiferous scent of skunk musk came wafting through the house. With that, I shut the door and let the skunk-busters sleep elsewhere.
I wondered what effect breathing skunk fumes might have on me, other than possibly causing me to dream about Pepe Le Pew…this morning, I awoke to the stinky house where I fell back asleep, and sprayed Febreze into the AC intake. While there is still a little smelly hangover, most of it is gone. For now.
“DON’T HURT ‘EM, JUST SQUIRT ‘EM”
The War on Deer continues here at Casa de Cissy. Not only did they strip my county fair-winning Hibiscus plants, but they found their way to the other side of the house where they hadn’t yet discovered my other bountiful plants, and began their late-night assault on those.
Not to be out-deered, I got out my new Yard Enforcer motion-sensing impact sprinkler, the slogan for which is, “Don’t hurt ’em, just squirt ’em”, and set it up. That thing is impressive! I put it about 15′ in front of the plant bed and set it for night, and to hit the entire front of the house when anything enters the radius of its amazingly sensitive electric eye.
I left town for a couple of days, and returned last night. The eating seems to have stopped, and the plants are all growing once again.
Here’s to plants growing, and cancer not!