Saturday, November 21, 2009

April 24, 2003 - The journey continues

Insert from Paula's Journal
We got up and left to go to the hospital around 7 am. Stopped for breakast. Scott and I made some memories. You'll only hear about those memories from Paula herself. Got to the hospital around 8 am and the doctor came in and told us that she wouldn't be able to go home today. Dr. Williams said that he was going to call in an OB/GYN on the case. Around 10 am they did a TB test on Deb to rule out everything. We really had a good day with each other. Did alot of laughing. Scott and I went to IHOP for lunch. More memories. They have been doing alot of blood tests on Deb. She feels like a pin cushion. After Deb got her supper tray Scott and I were going to go to Subway for a sandwich but we didn't make it.
Dr. Atkins, the OB doctor came in, sat on the foot of Deb's bed and started asking her questions, then hit us with the bad news. She has a malignant tumor on her right ovary. We all went kind of numb. He said he'd be back in the morning to do a pap and pelvic exam.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Dr. Williams called in Dr. Atkins an OB/GYN. While there they kept track of everything I drank and also my output. They did a TB test and kept coming to get more blood. We waited all day for Dr. Atkins to show up.
Dr. Atkins showed up Thursday evening. He came in, sat on the foot of my bed and started asking me questions. He just blurted out I had a malignant tumor on my right ovary. I had so many emotions all at once. I felt mad, scared, upset and just wanted to block it all out of my mind. I didn't want to talk any more. Scott had to finish answering questions and talk to the doctor. He told us he would be back tomorrow to do a pelvic exam. Dr. Atkins told us he was going to call a doctor friend of his at MD Anderson to try to get me in there. It is not easy to get into MD Anderson especially without insurance.
Well, after Dr. Atkins left it was very emotional. Paula, Scott and I were all crying and hugging. Wow, what a blow! CANCER! Not me! I've always been healthy.
Insert from Paula's Journal
I left the room to give Scott and Deb some time alone. I called Jim (my husband) and all I could do was cry. I hate the thought of Deb having cancer, it just doesn't seem real. They don't know how bad it is until they get inside and check everything. I can't stand to see Deb and Scott and see the pain and fear on their faces. I probably look the same way.
Scott prayed and after awhile they (Paula and Scott) left. Scott checked with the nurses to see if I could have something to help me sleep because I was so upset. After they left I got out my Bible and began looking up Bible verses on healing and faith. I needed comfort and help that night more than ever.
The third verse I found was II Kings 20:5 which says, "...I have heard they prayers, I have seen your tears and I will heal thee." I claimed that verse that night. I continued looking up verses on healing and faith. When I was done I called Scott and shared my verse with him and told him I was OK. I remember laying down there and just started praying. Asking the Holy Spirit to comfort me and asking for healing from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. The tears just rolled down my face. I slept all night without a pill.
Insert from Paula's Journal
Scott and I left the hospital around 9 pm so he could make some phone calls and send out emials to have people start praying. We didn't say hardly anything all the way home. Scott just reached over and took my hand. We cried the rest of the way home.
Scott had a tough time making calls and telling people of Deb's condition. He almosted choked on the words and could hardly say the word "CANCER". He loves her so much and doesn't know what he'll do if something happens to Deb. He told me that he was glad I'm here for Deb but I'm here for him too. Didn't sleep much at all. Deb called around 10:30 pm and told us to look up II Kings 20:5. God is so good.

Well, friends this will be my last post until after the Thanksgiving week. Hope ya'll have a great Thanksgiving. I am so thankful to be alive and healthy. Please help others out there who are hurting and need some comfort. Tell them about our wonderful Saviour and GREAT PHYSICIAN.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2003

My CAT scan was scheduled for Wednesday, April 23rd at 10:30 am. I had no idea what to expect. When we got there I had to drink some awful liquid (a liter?). I was so tight and uncomfortable already. To drink all that liquid just made me fill worst. I finally got called in, they laid me on the table and began to start the IV for the scan. The nurse had a hard time finding a vein. She finally called for help after I had holes all over my arms and hands. I was glad when that part was over.
Scott and I were walking out and I had to stop to sit down outside. I told him I was having a hard time breathing and felt funny. There was a nurse outside who asked if I was OK and Scott told her how I felt and she immediately went inside to get a wheelchair to bring me back into the ER. By then it was around 12-1:00 pm. Of course, they wanted more blood and began poking and digging into my veins again. While they were trying to get blood Scott was right there watching. When they finally found a vein Scott asked where the restroom was and disappeared for a little while. When he returned he told me he began swetting and thought he was going to faint. They also took chest x-rays and checked my heart.
Dr. Durden the ER doctor was going to send me home with some drugs to help me get rid of fluid. Later on he comes back and says he called in an Internist Dr. Williams. They decided to drain the fluid from my abdomen right away. I was not excited!!!
Dr. Williams got there, asked me some questions and told Scott where to wait. He told me they would numb my belly right below my belly button. I was hoping I wouldn't be awake for this procedure. About 4:30-5:00 pm in the emergency room Dr. Williams began to try to drain some fluid. He couldn't get enough coming out so they called Dr. Graham in radiology. So they stitched me where they put the drain in and away we went to radiology.
They put me back into the CAT scan machine so they could see better. Dr. Williams stayed through the whole procedure. Putting the drain in wasn't too bad. As the fluid began to drain I could feel relief and see my abdomen go down. They drained about 2 gallons of fluid. The CAT scan showed a mass on my right ovary.
Everyone in there, doctors and nurses talked to me to try to make me feel at ease. I felt pretty good after they were done. By this time I was ready to eat. I hadn't ate since the night before. The decided to admit me to the hospital. They sent me to a room and had a meal sent up to me. They put me on low sodium and fluid restriction diet.
Paula (my sister) was due to fly in that evening. Because I was admitted to the hospital we had to make other arrangments. So Scott's mom and two sisters Leslie and Lorin picked her up and brought her to the hospital. It was around 9:30 pm when they got to my room. We all visited for awhile. Scott informed them all of what we might be facing. After about an hour they all left and went home.
Insert from Paula's journal.
Scott and Debbie were suppose to pick me up at baggage claim but didn't make it. Scott's mom and sisters where there instead. We got to the hospital around 9:30 pm and went to Deb's room. As soon as I walked into the room I could see that she lost alot of weight. She looked good considering all she had been through that day. We stayed about an hour then Scott and I left to go to their house. That was alittle strange not having Deb or Jim with us.
Scott talked about what he would do without Deb and I said let's not think about it. Didn't sleep much that night.

Wednesday, April 23, 2009 (continuing)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday, April 21, 2003

On Monday, April 21st I had an ultra sound. After awhile the tech came out and said we needed to return to the clinic. I asked her if that was good news or bad news. She said she couldn't say. Well, I'm not real smart but I knew by the look on her face that something was wrong. When we got to the clinic they had no idea what was going on. The PA called the hospital to find out what was going on. Scott and I just sat there, looking scared to death at each other. Mike Riddle informed us they saw a mass and ascites (which was fluid on the abdomen) usually caused from liver problems which they had already ruled out. The other causes for the ascites would either be colon or ovarian cancer. Wow, we knew something was wrong but never dreamed it could be cancer. I was then scheduled for a CAT scan.
Our ride home was very quiet. I'm sure both of us just didn't know what to say to each other. When we got home I got on the computer to activate as many prayer chains as I could. We also called our family. Paula (my sister) made plans to come to Texas right away. She was scheduled to fly into Houston on Wednesday, April 23rd at 7:15 pm.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Beginning of Our Unpleasant Journey - April 2003

I've never been a sickly person or one to complain but in April 2003 I began having an uncomfortable feeling in my abdomen. I was having a hard time sleeping at night and would get up to go to the sofa. I would put two or three pillows behind my back and sleep sitting up. I remember many a sleepless nights just looking out the window and praying. I didn't feel bad but I was beginningto think something was going on inside. My abdomen was beginning to grow. We first thought I might have a bowel obstruction. We talked to our brother-in-law who is a pharmacist and he told us about some stuff to get to see if it would give me any relief. I tried it, cleaned myself out but still had the uncomfortable feeling. It wasn't before long that my abdomen became tight and rigid. All I wanted to do is sit and try to sleep. I was even uncomfortable to eat and drink. I always felt so full.
Scott began checking with Social Services to receive county care. We found out I needed to go to Huntsville to go to their clinic. We went to Huntsville Memorial to fill out some papers and we figured I would get to see a doctor. To our surprise they said it would take awhile. I was tired of not getting any rest and just wanted to find out what was going on. Scott continued to put pressure on the folks at Social Services and they finally let us make an appointment at HMH Clinic.
On Monday, April 14th I had my first appointment. I was seen by a PA (Physician's Assistant Mike Riddle) who examined me and then scheduled some x-rays and blood work at the hospital. A couple of days later we went back to find out the test results. Everything was OK. The PA then scheduled me for an ultra-sound.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Looking Back

Six years ago on April 24 I was told I had cancer. Wow! What a blow that was to all of us. When a person is told they have cancer, it not only affects them but the whole family. It may even extend to friends and even strangers that you may meet along the way.
As I reflect back it is hard to believe six years have past. It was a long and hard road to travel. I thank the Lord for all the prayers and support that I was given.
During my stay in the hospitals, chemo and recovery my sister kept a journal. I started one myself but was unable to write in it because it was too difficult for me. Months down the road I picked up my journal and started writing again. I found it was still hard but in a sense it was therapuetic for me. I could not continue to live in denial. It was hard to believe that I truly had cancer. I couldn't even say the word. Cancer was something you read about, hear of others having it, and folks you would pray for.
I never asked God, "Why me?" I always said, "Why not, me?" God gave me 50 years of good health. I decided I was going to stay as positive as I could to get through the journey I had before me. I must admit it was not an easy road to travel.
Now that six years have past I would like t share my journey with others. You may be going down this same road right now or maybe have to go down it sometime in the future. Everybody's situtations are always different but maybe there is something I'll share that will be a help or a blessing to someone.
I will be combining my sister, Paula's journal, my journal, emails, and input from others to put all the pieces of these past years together. Again, I never asked God, "Why me?" but "Cancer, Now What?"

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Beginning

It is time for me to get my journey with cancer posted. I have been talking about it and praying about it. I have had several people tell me that I needed to share it with others. For those who don't know, here it goes. In May of 2003 I was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, stage 3 or 4 I don't remember. Either one is not good. They call ovarian cancer the silent killer. As I begin telling my story, somethings I truly don't remember. Some things I just blocked out. So as I begin write, it will be a combination of my journal that I kept and a journal that my sister, Paula kept.
I would like to advise women to get a CA-125 blood test done along with any blood work you have done. It is an indicator for ovarian cancer. A co-worker of mine found out she had ovarian cancer with the blood work we had done at work. It was caught early, she had surgery and didn't have to have any treatment.
Don't put it off. The earlier it is caught the better.

Picture before Cancer Surgery