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    Celebration

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    tranquility shared an experience

    Celebration: It has been 1 year since my official diagnosis. So far I am cancer free. That is reason for celebration. But I think actually more important than surviving is I refused to stop living. I refused to just exist. I was going to live on my terms no matter if that meant 1 year or 50 years. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not grateful to God for sparing me. I'm so grateful for cuddles from my dog. Jokes from my grandchildren. Oh yes, never thought I'd say it, but I'm so grateful for the first time in a few years to be able to clean and manage my own home with little help any more. Things like that are HUGE when you haven't been able to that for so long. Celebrate all those types of things. And above all, you better keep your sense of humor or you will NOT fare well.

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    Other Care: My care with my family doc, second gynecologist, women's oncologist, radiation and chemo docs, and all the personnel at the women's cancer clinic and the wonderful cancer clinic near my home was just wonderful! My lymph node surgery experience went smoothly, but I was only there for day surgery. My stay at the hospital for the internal radiation was NOT pleasant. For the exception of 1 nurse and the doc during my stay, I just wanted to curse out and slap everyone involved. I am very easy going, very understanding, but this was beyond wrong! Considering the specifics of the treatment I don't feel that I received the respect or care that I deserved or needed. Besides the medical personnel my family and friends helped take care of me and drive me to my appointments when I couldn't drive myself. I found out just how kind people could be. I must stress again that the cancer center near my home(Harold Alfond Cancer Center) in Augusta, Maine was WONDERFUL! If you had to be there they wanted to make it as easy and as pleasant as possible in every aspect of your visits.

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    Procedure or Surgery (internal implant device(unsure of term)): After the chemo and external radiation treatments I was placed in the hospital for internal radiation. The device was inserted in surgery in the morning. Then the radioactive rods were placed inside of that in the afternoon; then packed very tightly with gauze packed into some iodine type solution. I wasn't interested in what the fluid was. It oozed out the entire time that I was hospitalized. I have always kept myself very clean, and oozing was NOT going over well. The device kept shifting resulting in it digging into me because it was wedged partly between inside of me and the mattress resulting in much discomfort and pain. I was in the hospital for 4 days flat on my back, literally. I was in an isolated room during my visit. Because I was on my back my only 2 activities were tv, eating and sleeping. But we don't want to leave out one of the most "pleasant" activities! I had a catheter for urine. But for bowel movement they would give me something to prevent that but would also keep me from constipated in fear that a blockage would result. Well, one day my body just couldn't take that any more. I won't go into the pleasant details. Let's just say the nurses earned their money that day. I wasn't in excruciating pain, but the experience was so UNCOMFORTABLE that I actually said that I would rather die than to go through that again. I truly meant that at the time that I said it. I also had the complication of fibromyalgia. I specifically spoke to the doc about a steady med for that during my entire stay or I would barely be able to function when I was able to move from that position. That wasn't done. I also was to be given a morphine shot before the doc came to take the device out. The doc and I were so incensed by the total disregard for my needs, that I was told he really screamed at them once he left my room. The doc and I both agreed that the procedure would only take literally minute or two to remove everything, so we just decided to proceed without meds just to get it over with. A nurse held my hand and I screamed and held my breath through the entire procedure. The one true angel of my stay was this wonderful gentle nurse that freshened me up the best that she was able once. Then when all was over she gently took me to the shower and lovingly helped me wash then dress. I so needed that gentleness after a horrifying experience.

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    Radiation (Radiation and chemotherapy together): The only real symptom that I had for the combined treatments was severe fatigue and brain fog. I was already somewhat depleted from all the blood loss, and the treatments just enhanced the fatigue.