Sunday, September 21, 2008

Touching the Void

We met with the oncologist, David Ryan, on the 15th. All I can say is, I much prefer the company of gastroenterologist -- they are a downright jolly crowd by comparison. But that is a post for another day.

So here is the scoop -- there were cancer cells in my lymph nodes. Not good. I had a baseline CT scan done yesterday. I am having a porta-cath placed under my right collar bone on Wednesday. And I will be starting chemo on Friday, October 3rd. It will be a combo of Oxaliplatin and Gemcitabine. According to Dr. Ryan, the side-effects should be mild-to-moderate. This isn't the hair-falling-out, vomiting everywhere kind of treatment, but I still am facing extreme fatigue for the first few days (we are planning on me getting chemo on Fridays so I have the weekends to recover) and flu-like symptoms (chills, aches), as well as numbness and tingling in my hands and feet and it could possibly put me into menopause. Permanently.

I'll be receiving chemo at MGH every other week for six months. And I'll be having CT scans every two months to make sure it is working (i.e. the cancer isn't popping up somewhere else in my body).

All this news was... deflating. I wasn't prepared for such a long treatment. And the fact is, six months is the optimistic outlook. Add to it the complete alien nature of what is about to happen to me, and getting through the next few weeks, until the first chemo treatment is behind me, is daunting. I feel like I'm in a foreign land, don't speak the language and am blindfolded to boot.

49 comments:

Susan said...

Colleen - You are a strong woman and have an excellent attitude - you WILL get through this! You have the love and support of all your friends and family. ((HUGS))

Sending all my love!!

~Susan

Anonymous said...

((((Colleen)))) I too, know that you are going to get through this and know that you are a brave, strong lady with amazing determination and a kick ass attitude when it comes to fighting this illness.

I am thinking about you, praying for you, Jens and the kids and will continue to do so until the day you post on your blog that all is well. I have every faith this will happen.

Wishing you love and best wishes as you face your treatment.

Keep us posted sweetie. Deb xxxx

Lorelee said...

Thinking of you, Colleen. I think you have come up with an appropriate metaphor. We are all hoping to help you learn the language and remove the blindfold. Love and hugs!

Lorelee

babycheeks said...

Been thinking about you! If anyone has the guts to kick cancer in the ass and win it's you! ;) Hope you're feeling well enough to knit soon.

Jen Dimler

Anonymous said...

Hi Colleen! Just an SG mama reminding you there are a zillion prayers being said for you and your family daily.

Peace,
Kelly McCann

Betty said...

colleen - you are in my thoughts and prayers. i know you can make it thru all of this but if you need someone to come cheer you up one day, let me know! I'm just over the river and through the woods :-)

xoxo,
betty

Jess said...

You are the second of my friends to come face to face with this in the last year. Words seem so inadequate. My prayers are with you.

Anonymous said...

You WILL get through this Colleen - you are so so so strong. I am thinking of you and rooting for you and really wish I was closer.

Hugs,

Allison XOXOOXOXOXOXOXO

ThePaintedTiger said...

Colleen....so sorry that the road ahead of you looks so daunting. Hug your little ones, rest as much as you are able, and pray much. We are praying for you!!

Laura said...

You're in our every prayer Colleen! I'm sorry for the scary forecast. Be strong, rest much, pray without ceasing. XOXOXOX

Scarlet said...

Colleen, I was really hoping that the surgery would have gotten all of it, before it had a chance to spread--as we all were. These weren't the results you were supposed to get, dammit.

I am thinking good thoughts for you, and wishing you a quick and complete recovery. I hope that chemo is successful, and not too painful.

Scarlet (from Ravelry and HC)

mrslevite said...

Big hugs to you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Give your kiddos a hug, too, from all of us at Ravelry.

RoxanneZYG said...

Colleen...my thoughts and prayers are with you. I am speechless from this news. My heart is with you. I am with the others - if anyone can beat this, it's you! Lots of hugs to you and your family.

Kathryn said...

Stay strong, my friend. And don't forget that you are surrounded by people who love you and are sending you thoughts of healing and strength. I know this is shitty news and the thought of this long, drawn-out treatment seems like too much to bear, but as they say, one day at a time. You'll get there, I just know it!

xoxo,
Kathryn

diggin' michi said...

i am only just seeing this colleen. i am so sorry you are feeling so alienated and deflated. it is a lot to stomach, no doubt about that. you are a strong, determined woman and this is going to help you step up and FIGHT this beast with all you have. i have no doubts that you will get through this. yes, i wish that the news had been better and the treatment plan shorter, but it is what it is and we will all help you get through it in little steps. you have so many people thinking about, praying for and supporting you. please dont ever feel along (hugs).
sending you all the love and light i can muster here in germany,
michi

yarnophiliac said...

Just popped in to send a little love and let you know I'm thinking of you!
~Heather

fishwrapper said...

I'm so sorry to hear this news. Be brave, and contemplate a long and happy life after the treatment. Virtual hugs from

Astrid (Moominmama on Ravelry)

Anonymous said...

Ginormous hugs headed up the coast to you. You're a strong woman and a great mommy--fully expecting you to kick this cancer in the a**, and we're here for you every step of the way.

Kristina (From the original FF group)

MindfulMama said...

I am sorry (understatemnt) to hear that you didn't get the best possible scenario. This is such a long hard road to travel, especially with two little ones :-( As always, let me know what I can do...

~mandy

Heather said...

sorry that you are in for a longer treatment than you anticipated. Hang in there - you've got amazing strength and I am sure that will pull you through.

(((hugs)))

Kathy said...

Hang in there. I wish you a smooth chemo experience and hope it all goes OK and gives you the results you need!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you, friend.

Shelley

Andrea said...

You are an inspiration to us all. Not only are you going through something that I wouldn't wish on anyone, you are doing it with style and grace! While the nature of your posts breaks my heart, you wit and humor through it all astounds me! Many well wishes and blessings from my family to yours (and one big hug too!).

Ruth said...

Colleen, Good luck tomorrow. We're all thinking of you and sending hugs and love and prayers.

Miss T said...

thinking of you today.

much love,
tanya

Allison said...

Colleen, My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Chocolate and hugs... Allison

Heather said...

((HUGS)) Colleen...we are praying for you! You're an amazing woman!

Much love,
Heather

Blue House Soaps Blog said...

Many positive thoughts and prayers for you today!

~Melissa

rachel said...

You are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Colleen - I'm not sure you are checking this blog, but wanted to post here too to send you my love. I wish you peace in this impossibly difficult time my good friend. You are a wonderful mommy and a beautiful person, and there are so many of us who love you.

Hugs from Canada again,

Allison (Lollybags)

Anonymous said...

Colleen- What do you say? Words just don't suffice in situations like yours.

May the coming months multiply and be filled with kisses from your loved ones. In the past, you helped me through some impossible times, and it means so much to have shared that journey with you. While I can't share this journey with you in the same way, I hope you know that my heart is with you all the time. I wish you and your family well and am thinking of the four of you constantly.

Wishing you well,

Rebecca (BeckyB2 from CLO's Friends)

Vanessa said...

I just found out. Many prayers and hugs to you and your family.

Please know that I am thinking of you... Like a previous poster said, "what is there to say?"

Just know that you have touched others' lives.

Lots of love,
Vanessa
(Walkinw/Faith on FF)

DinaBean said...

If you haven't already heard, there is a Celebrating Colleen fundraiser for the kids' college fund here:
http://hyenacart.com/tinyladycooperative/

Anonymous said...

www.cholangiocarcinoma.org

You will find a lot of support and resources here to help you through this.

SommerNyte said...

To Colleen's friends, family and especially her children ~

I am so sorry to hear of the great loss you have suffered. May Colleen be in peace and may you, her friends and family left behind, find comfort and peace during this time.

Much love to you.

Dee said...

I'll miss you sweetie....your bright and infectious banter will always be missed. I hope that heaven isn't too high to be close to your kids and your hubby. Whenever I spin, knit, or dye I'll put a bit of your love into it. you're deeply missed and thank you for every day that you encourage and inspire, may you never be forgotten. Here's to telling the void to go 'f' itself.

Anonymous said...

May the peace of the Lord be always with you.

Kris said...

Peace be with you sweetheart.

The Meinhardts said...

Continuing to think of you and your family. You're so missed.

Anonymous said...

Oh Colleen,

I can't believe this has happened. I left ravelry for a while to deal with my dad's cancer and death, and I come back to find that you have been taken by this terrible disease as well.

I don't know what to say, except that I'll be thinking of your precious children every day and knowing that your love is never gone from them.

Farewell, sweet angel.

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