17
   

Whats it like having cancer or watching someone you care about deal with cancer?

 
 
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:46 am
What kind of cancer was it and how long did you have it?


 
Roberta
 
  8  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 01:53 pm
@GracieGirl,
Hi Gracie, I had endometrial cancer (a kind of cancer of the uterus). I don't know how long I had it. As soon as I found out I had it, action was taken to get rid of it.

The same applies to the cancer of the larynx I had. Find it; get rid of it.

For me, having cancer was like living in the middle of a gray cloud. Not quite focused, not quite clear. Part of that was depression.

I was treated with surgery and radiation for the first cancer and radiation for the second cancer. That's when I got tattooed!

They have to aim the radiation beam. Once they get it exactly where it's supposed to be, they put a little dot of a tattoo on my body so that they can get the aim right every time. Ouch.
thack45
 
  6  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 03:04 pm
@GracieGirl,
I was diagnosed with hodgkins disease in '93ish, as a sophomore or junior in H.S. Hodgkins is one of the more treatable types of cancer but I was in a very late stage so the various chemo treatments administered were unsuccessful.

I remember feeling like I was staying alive because my goddamnd family wouldn't let me die. Overdramatic, for sure. But i was a messed up teenager, losing battles with depression left and right to begin with. I also vividly recall once feeling death "coming". I have never before or since felt like that. I was simply too sick and in too much pain to be scared of it...

So the last ditch effort called for a lengthy stay at the cleaveland clinic (2 weeks outpatient, one month inpatient) right after graduation, for a then experimental treatment: stem cell transplant, similar to the bone marrow transplant (I think). Not fun times. After that I had a few weeks of radiation and was back to a life of years of reckless abandonment.
thack45
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 03:07 pm
@Roberta,
yeah, I've got some pretty badass tats too. people know not to mess with me... if they look very closely
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  5  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:27 pm
@GracieGirl,
Someone I know who has cancer described it as "being all alone, locked in a room with the most dangerous evil thing you can imagine". And I can tell you that from the outside of that room, the overwhelming feeling is helplessness.
jhort
 
  -3  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:35 pm
@GracieGirl,
?Hmmm? Hardest thing is helping the person you care about understand that there is a reason for suffering and that good ultimately comes out of every situation. That is how it looks in hindsight, anyway.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 01:59 pm
@rosborne979,
I think that about says it all.

Until I came to grips with the disease (lymphoma) I had this sickening feeling that my body was conspiring to destroy itself.
trying2learn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 03:59 pm
@jhort,
jhort wrote:
?Hmmm? Hardest thing is helping the person you care about understand that there is a reason for suffering and that good ultimately comes out of every situation. That is how it looks in hindsight, anyway.
So did you or a someone close to you have cancer? I am wondering why you have thumbs down.

My sister has cancer and it has been going on 3 years. The hardest part is knowing she is scared and calls me crying because she wants answers and I can't give then to her and neither can the doctors.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 04:52 pm
When my brother told me he had terminal cancer and that he had no options before him but chemotherapy, I knew I would lose him. The doc told him he had one year. In other words, he knew my brother could not survive the treatment. But he insisted it had to be done, because no other treatment was to be offered by established medicine. Sam was tortured and emaciated and true to the doc's word, he died. Sam did not understand that when the chemo knocks out the primary tumor(s) the cancer is triggered to spread quicker and to form new tumors at an increasing rate. There are situations in which chemotherapy can save a life. But, not in a case like Sam's. After decades of failure, you would think the medical establishment would admit it. Sam told me, "I never thought it would be like this." He told me later the same day, "If I knew then what I know now, I would not have had chemotherapy."
0 Replies
 
Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 05:15 pm
@GracieGirl,
GracieGirl wrote:

What kind of cancer was it and how long did you have it?

For me, I had a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1995 (I was 44 at the time), located in the exit of the stomach. No one is able to tell as to how long I had it, as it was slow-growing.

At the time, I had no symptoms, and it was inadvertently discovered while undergoing a gastrophy exam, looking at problems in my stomach.

I had 20 treatments of radiation front and back.

Even though I have tested clear all these years, I still have a nagging feeling of a possible reoccurrence, or a secondary cancer showing up (which is not unusual). I'm not a huge believer in "cancer cures", but consider that I'm one of the lucky ones to have had all this time.

From what I have heard, from what I had, if you had symptoms, there is no hope.

0 Replies
 
thack45
 
  3  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 05:17 pm
@trying2learn,
I'm guessing the thumbs down were due to the ridiculous mentality the reply advocated...

If we wanted to look, we might retrospectively find that good things came out of suffering.

This isn't enough to argue, "there is a reason for suffering and that good ultimately comes out of every situation". Only a delusional person would say this
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 06:09 pm
@GracieGirl,
By the time we found out that my father (44 years old at that time) had terminal cancer (pancreatic), the illness had progressed to a stage where we barely had time to cope with it because we had funeral arrangements to make.

It was very hard - my brother and I were only teenagers and my mom was
consumed with grief, it nearly broke her heart. Time heals wounds but there is always a void and you miss them terribly no matter how many years have passed.

0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 07:24 pm
I had a biopsy on a very bad day in 2001, and it turned out to be positive on the fourteenth needle biopsy grab, path report = invasive ca.

That was a hell of a week. Long story. I've talked about it before on a2k. My doctor had a friend in the towers as he told me when I showed up at his office on Tuesday morning when he didn't know if the friend survived. Plane flights were cancelled, so I rented a car to drive back north to meet with the surgeon I had contacted the day I got the pathology report. (My girlfriends made me call her in the middle of our lunch get together, down in Los Angeles, surgeon up north.)
Mammogram on Monday,
biopsy and follow up ultrasound on bad Tuesday,
path report on Friday morning,
lunch with friends on Friday,
called the surgeon recomended up north,
drove north on Sunday,
met the surgeon on Tuesday,
had lumpectomy on Thursday.
Talk about good medical care.
I was pretty forward on that. Literally running ten blocks and then ten blocks back to get the mammogram film to bring to the breast center for the biopsy, storming the same center to let me in (that took an hour of arguing and waiting on that bad Tuesday and then 45 minutes of not moving at all while waiting for the doctor), picking up path slides, and so on.

That was when I had "reasonable insurance" which is useful to get attention - though the whole thing, the insurance payments and what they didn't pay made me poor, and that was cemented as sure when I had eye trouble later on.

I had two surgeries after that, a lumpectomy where the path report showed the 'mass' near the margin, that is, far from the duct and in an area where one might want to explore more, so I had a second surgery scooping out more breast flesh and seeing about the sentinel lymph node in the armpit area. For that one I had full anaesthesia, which I tend to avoid if I can. Sentinel node clear.

The good part of that was that my nurse friend Bonnie drove up to north north to be with me, made me a nice-a chicken soup, kept me company, as did my pal Pacco the corgi. Bonnie kept the nurses in the recovery room in stitches, and me too though I was getting nauseous from the anaesthetic, had to barf. I'll always love Bonnie. Avid hiker and runner (so diff from me), artist, gardener extraordinaire, great cook - which was a relief for her picky husband (also a friend of mine).

I'm odd in that I like surgery, so far, even eye surgery at its worst. I wanted to be an m.d. as a kid, little knowing the biases rampant in my set of years, and did end up in med research/clinical med for fifteen years, so I have this inherent curiosity going in and a certain connection to medical staff people. I'm also fatalistic up the kazoo.

I turned sixty in the middle of all that. Bummer.

I had a bunch of weeks of radiation. I have a tattoo too, but I lost interest in looking for it.

I was living away from family and most of my friends after having to sell our house after divorce. My life was interesting - I moved north, and a friend and I had a design business and also ran an art gallery - but I didn't want my situation known as I didn't want to hear "how are you doing, dear" from people I didn't well know coming into the gallery, however well meaning. So that was strange, but not all horrible as I have a kind of phalanx of long time friends - they're not geographically handy but the connection is there.

Recently I had a little skin cancer (basal cell). I was busy freaking out about what turned out to be a freckle on my palm and the dermatologist said 'nah', and found the other instead. No big deal, at least in my case.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 07:44 pm
@thack45,
thack45 wrote:

I was diagnosed with hodgkins disease...

I remember feeling like I was staying alive because my goddamnd family wouldn't let me die.


Thack, if you hadn't said this happened to you in 1993, I would have sworn you were a roommate I had back in the early 1980's.

He told the same story, how they (family and friends) just wouldn't hear of him dying.

He said his friends would come and kidnap him right after he had chemo and was feeling sick as a dog. They would literally make him get drunk until he was puking and begging for them to let him die. They told him if he was dead from being drunk and sick right then, nothing would kill him.

He was convinced that's how he was able to fight it.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 07:45 pm
@ossobuco,
Sorry, mixed up an edit. The mammo and ultrasound were done on Monday at the radiologist's office.
What I know now, from other people's experiences, is that that fast week for me was exceptional re the process.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 08:08 pm
@ossobuco,
There are a lot of politics now, or if not politics, questions re the usefulness of mammogram screening, as a lot of false stuff comes up with all the expense (A) and anxiety (B). Still, just today, there is news that people who get false readings may be in line for the real thing.

Well, I only know re myself. I had mammos from sometime in my early forties, all negative, and when I got the positive later I was surprised.
They say the little ones may not generate a life threatening situation (or so I've read). I think it's similar to the situation with prostate cancer, in that people with the slow ones die of other stuff. There is a subcategory of fast little ones though, that are on the lethal end of the curve.
I'm not sure I had that, but mine was quite small and a traveller.

I figure another five years and screening will be different, so I'm just talking about today.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 09:15 pm
I'll add one more bit.

Tangent - but aggravating.
Told it to Roger and Diane a bit ago.

My recent dermatologist, the funny one that I pretty much liked, the one that found the basal cell thing, did flub up and I'll mention it now.

He looked at me and said, did you know you have facial palsy?
Your left eye area is sunken, and your smile (is off).

Well, my left eye surround is sunken after the five surgeries, as stated on the long form I filled out. I think my smile is normal-ish. Of course, he hadn't read the form, just looked to see there was writing on it. Clown.
I get not reading charts in stress situations - this was not.

0 Replies
 
GracieGirl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 10:54 pm
Embarrassed Sorry for taking soo long to reply! And thanks for answering my questions about it and talking with me and stuff. I know its not a fun subject...
I've learned tons of stuff from you guys and I kinda feel like I can talk about anything here! Smile Its awesome and I appreciate it. Soo thanks guys! Mr. Green Very Happy Mr. Green

But yeah, anywaysssss.... Razz

Roberta wrote:
Quote:
Hi Gracie, I had endometrial cancer (a kind of cancer of the uterus). I don't know how long I had it. As soon as I found out I had it, action was taken to get rid of it.

The same applies to the cancer of the larynx I had. Find it; get rid of it.

For me, having cancer was like living in the middle of a gray cloud. Not quite focused, not quite clear. Part of that was depression.

I was treated with surgery and radiation for the first cancer and radiation for the second cancer. That's when I got tattooed!

They have to aim the radiation beam. Once they get it exactly where it's supposed to be, they put a little dot of a tattoo on my body so that they can get the aim right every time. Ouch.


Hi Roberta! Very Happy

You got tattooed?! Do you still have the dot? Whatd it feel like when they tattooed you? Did you cry?

Off subject but, do you have any real tattoos? Like, cool ones?

How'd you feel once all your cancer was gone? I know you still had/have to deal with radiation stuff but did you feel relived and happy and stuff or were you just like 'Okay, thats over, now I've got to deal with sucky radiation side effects'?

thack45 wrote:
Quote:
I was diagnosed with hodgkins disease in '93ish, as a sophomore or junior in H.S. Hodgkins is one of the more treatable types of cancer but I was in a very late stage so the various chemo treatments administered were unsuccessful.

I remember feeling like I was staying alive because my goddamnd family wouldn't let me die. Overdramatic, for sure. But i was a messed up teenager, losing battles with depression left and right to begin with. I also vividly recall once feeling death "coming". I have never before or since felt like that. I was simply too sick and in too much pain to be scared of it...

So the last ditch effort called for a lengthy stay at the cleaveland clinic (2 weeks outpatient, one month inpatient) right after graduation, for a then experimental treatment: stem cell transplant, similar to the bone marrow transplant (I think). Not fun times. After that I had a few weeks of radiation and was back to a life of years of reckless abandonment.


Hi thack45! Smile

You were still in high school?! If you were a sophomore or a junior, then you were only a little older than I am. I cant even imagine having cancer or thinking that I could die while I'm still a teenager. I havent even gotten a chance to have fun yet! Sad What'd you do when you found out and whatd your friends say or do? Did they try to help you feel better? How long did you have cancer? Did you still go to school?
How'd you get cancer anyway? Does it run in your family or did it just happen?

You had depression before you had cancer? Why? What made you soo sad? That really sucks thack. Thats really sad. Sad You wanted to die? But what about your dad and your friends? Do you have any sisters or brothers? Weren't you scared to leave them all behind?

You felt 'death"? What'd it feel like and was the cancer making you sick and causing pain or was it the chemo or both? What'd you feel like when the cancer was gone and you were healthy again? And do you mean 'reckless abandonment' as in like, you 'lived life to the fullest' and stuff or do you mean after the cancer you just did what you wanted and didnt care what happened to you?

I'm glad you're okay thack. I really mean it. Your cancer stuff SUCKED! Sad Now that you got the stem cell transplant you can never get cancer again just like Phoenix, right? Smile

rosborne979 wrote:
Quote:
Someone I know who has cancer described it as "being all alone, locked in a room with the most dangerous evil thing you can imagine". And I can tell you that from the outside of that room, the overwhelming feeling is helplessness.


Aww! Im sorry rosborne979. Sad Cancer treatment is better now. More people are beating it now right? I hope everything turns out okay with your friend and his/her cancer goes away and (s)he can be healthy again. "being all alone, locked in a room with the most dangerous evil thing you can imagine" I can kinda imagine how your friend feels from what she said. Life really sucks wayy more than I thought. Its not fair. Sad I really hope your friend gets better rosborne979! (((Hugs!))

jhort wrote:
Quote:
?Hmmm? Hardest thing is helping the person you care about understand that there is a reason for suffering and that good ultimately comes out of every situation. That is how it looks in hindsight, anyway.


Umm... sorry about your thumbs downs. (It wasnt me, Wink )
But what do you mean? What reasons there for someone to get cancer? Lots of people have died and are still dying from it. And not just grown-ups, kids too! What good can come from that?

Im guessing your Christian because of your avatar, so you probably have some kinda religious answer or belief or whatever and Im atheist so maybe thats why I dont really get what your saying... but still.... I dont think even a super religious person would say that people having cancer is a good thing and they should just except their suffering because theres a reason for it...

My dad always tells me that life just sucks sometimes and we all have to deal with it because nobodys life is perfect. And I think he's right. My dads really smart and he's had a really hard life. I dont think everything happens for a reason. I think stuff just happens... C'est la vie, right? Smile Wink
GracieGirl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 5 Apr, 2012 11:36 pm
Phoenix32890 wrote:
Quote:
Until I came to grips with the disease (lymphoma) I had this sickening feeling that my body was conspiring to destroy itself.


Hi Phoenix! I figured I'd just ask what I wanted to ask you in PM here. Smile
When you had chemotherapy did it hurt you? Like, did it make your hair fall out and give you bad side effects and stuff?

And what was the lump on your arm like? Is it like a huge mosquito bump? Did it hurt or was it just there? Could you like, pop it or something? What was in it that made it a lump? Was it a bunch of blood that had cancer so it made a lump?

Did you celebrate when your cancer was gone? You said you went right back to work! Smile

trying2learn wrote:
Quote:
My sister has cancer and it has been going on 3 years. The hardest part is knowing she is scared and calls me crying because she wants answers and I can't give then to her and neither can the doctors.


Hi trying2learn. Nice to meet you and Im sorry about your sister. Sad
How old is she and what kind of cancer is it?

edgarblythe wrote:
Quote:
When my brother told me he had terminal cancer and that he had no options before him but chemotherapy, I knew I would lose him. The doc told him he had one year. In other words, he knew my brother could not survive the treatment. But he insisted it had to be done, because no other treatment was to be offered by established medicine. Sam was tortured and emaciated and true to the doc's word, he died. Sam did not understand that when the chemo knocks out the primary tumor(s) the cancer is triggered to spread quicker and to form new tumors at an increasing rate. There are situations in which chemotherapy can save a life. But, not in a case like Sam's. After decades of failure, you would think the medical establishment would admit it. Sam told me, "I never thought it would be like this." He told me later the same day, "If I knew then what I know now, I would not have had chemotherapy."


Wow edgarblythe! Thats terrible. Im sorry about your brother. Sad Chemotherapy can make your cancer worse? Do the doctors tell people that? Did the chemo make your brother sicker because it was a long time ago and chemo wasnt as good as it is now? Do you think he wouldve lived longer without chemo, or do you think he wouldve died in a year like the doctor said just without chemo it wouldnt have been soo hard for him and he wouldnt havent have been in soo much pain?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Im really tired. I'll finish tomorrow. Its 10:36 and im sure my dad gonna make me wake up super early tommorow just to be a jerk, lol.
GoodNight Guys! Smile
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 6 Apr, 2012 01:20 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:

I think that about says it all.

Until I came to grips with the disease (lymphoma) I had this sickening feeling that my body was conspiring to destroy itself.



Phoenix, I felt as if my body had turned against me. We have met the enemy and it is me!
 

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