Colorectal (Colon) Cancer Videos - Jayme W



Colon Cancer Survivor JaymeW

Watch as Jayme W takes us through her journey with Colorectal Cancer.

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Video Transcription

Dealing with Anxiety

I suffer from sleeplessness. I used to be one of those 8 to 12 hour a day gals; I had to have my sleep. I had to go to bed early. I never knew what was on TV at night because I was in bed, and oh, if we did something on Friday night with friends, I was usually sacked out by eight o'clock on somebody’s couch somewhere. I always traveled with a blanket and a pillow so I could, you know, sack out. So the fact that sleeplessness became one of my major life issues going through treatment was really, really difficult for me. I wanted to sleep, I wanted to be able to get rest, I knew I needed rest, I knew that I needed to be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning to be able to do my job, to teach kids, to be effective and it got to the point where I tried melatonin to see if that would help me regulate, and that didn't work and I had to eventually swallow the whole bitter pill, literally and figuratively, of taking something to help me sleep. After I took the first one, and I got a good night’s sleep, I was like, sweet; this is great. I finally slept but that was a really hard thing because it makes you grouchy and it makes you irritable and it makes everything like magnified so much worse than it really is when you're going through treatment. The restless leg combined with the sleeplessness at that point, I think I thought I was literally going to lose my mind. It felt like I had bugs crawling inside my legs and I know that my room must have smelled horrible because I tried everything - Ben Gay, Blue Goo, Emu whatever that Emu stuff is. I tried Icy Hot; if it was a cream or a rub or something I could put on my legs to help make it go away I did, and it didn't work, so finally being able to deal with sleeping and getting the restless leg stuff taken care of, that was huge because like I said, I seriously thought I was going to lose my mind before I got a good night’s sleep. I still struggle with sleeping. I don’t sleep very much at all anymore; maybe like a 4 or 5 hour a night girl, instead of an 8 to 12. So probably I’m grouchier and more irritable than I would be if I could sleep. It just, I don’t know, what it is about the treatment that kind of set my rhythms a little bit different, but it’s something that I’m still dealing with three years out of treatment, so I take the melatonin like I’m supposed to and every once in a while, I take another one of those happy sleepy pills so that I can get a good night’s sleep. My advice for someone who is going through it is to try to stay on a routine as much as possible. The more routine you keep, the better off you are. Not only for the sleep, but also just for the fact that routine is the closest thing to normal you got and you strive for as much normalcy as you can get. I know nothing is really normal when you're going through treatment, but sticking to a routine is the closest thing to normal that I was able to maintain so that's my advice.

Change in Appetite

Having no appetite and losing 30 pounds was definitely something that I struggled with; the impact on my weight, getting down to 72 pounds, it affected me and being able to continue my treatments. I had to stop my treatments because of it and that was a really hard decision.

Coping with Change

My suggestions for coping with cancer and changes related to cancer is to be open, to be honest, let your friends and family know how you're feeling. Both physically, emotionally, let them in, let them help you. I know that for me that was the thing probably that I didn't do that I should have done. It’s one of the regrets I have, was that I didn't let my friends and family maybe in as much as I should have. I didn't let them help me and they wanted to. I had a student who begged me, begged me constantly, let me come to your house and clean, let me be the person that takes your garbage to the curb, you know, let me do something and I always told her no, and I think I really took something important away from her. She wanted to do something to help. She kind of felt helpless, and so don’t deny your friends and family the opportunity to do something because as helpless and you feel right now, they feel even more helpless. The fact of the matter is that you're going through treatment, you know how you feel and you know, that's okay; but for them, it’s really, really scary. They don’t know how you feel, and if you don’t tell them, or if you just always tell them that it’s okay - I feel okay - I feel fine, they feel shut out. They feel like they’re missing an opportunity to help you, and they feel like maybe they aren't going to be able to do what they need to do. And for me, I denied my friends and family that opportunity, and I’m really sorry about that. So if the opportunity comes along and your friends and family want to help you out, then be open, be honest, and let them help you to the degree that you feel comfortable with. You're definitely going to be tested; you're going to be pushed. You're going to have to deal with things that you never imagined you were going to have to deal with. You're going to find out that you're a lot stronger than you ever thought you were. You're going to find out that hey, oh my gosh, I can deal with this, I am so totally capable of dealing with this, and then after treatment, everything else that comes along, it’s just gravy. In order to get through the changes that I went through in my treatment, in my life, I just kind of did what I always do and that's just turn and give it to God. You know, it’s a practice that I’ve done for many years now, at the beginning of every school year, I learned a long time ago somewhere along the line, in a Bible study, in a sermon, I don’t know where, but you know, give it to God. And so at the beginning of every school year, I always say a little prayer and give it to God; I give my school year to God so when I get my diagnosis, that was one of the first things I did. I just turned it over and I gave it to God and knowing that I had done that and he was in control for me, as a person who you know, sees their faith as a big part of their life, I was very comfortable in doing that. So if that is something that you're comfortable doing, nail that to the cross. That's in your life; lay it on the altar, whatever you're comfortable with doing. Give it over to God and he’ll take care of you.

Diagnosis

The colonoscopy that I had, it showed that I had a late stage 3 tumor in my lower intestine. My primary diagnosis is late stage 3 or 3C, colorectal cancer.

Gifts for Cancer Patients

Great gifts for people with cancer who are going through treatment are lotions. I love lotion. I went through so much lotion it was just craziness or even better yet, those really thick body butters, the thicker the better. When you're going through chemo and radiation, you are dry. You are so, so dry. Your hands, your feet, everything, and then if you're lucky enough to go through treatment in the wintertime, you're extra, super dry. So lotion is a wonderful gift for people who are going through treatment. Another thing is like warm, fuzzy socks, because if they’re experiencing their neuropathy, then they’re experiencing really cold feet and really cold hands. Cute gloves, cute scarves, cute hats, cute fuzzy little slippers, those are all great gifts. Another thing that I got during treatment that I was just amazed by, was locally where I live there's a group that gets together, it’s a prayer group, and they met at Panera and they sent me a gift basket. So maybe if somebody at your work is going through this or somebody that you know, somehow I don’t know. But it was a group of ladies and they sent me a gift basket and it was 15 individually wrapped little tiny travel things. Just little tiny gifts and there was a little angel figurine, there were little lotions, little hand sanitizers, I had some Kleenex’, lots of things I could throw in my ileostomy travel bag and take with me, lots of things I could take to my treatments, just random things, travel sized things. But each day it came with a card, so each day for 15 days, you were to unwrap one of the gifts from the basket, and I took it to school and I let the kids participate in that as well. Each day someone got to select a different gift out, and then we unwrapped it together. And it was kind of really exciting to see what’s the gift of the day, and that was just amazing to me. Here’s this whole group of people that I don’t know, and to this day, I still haven't met any of them, but they knew that I was going through this. They knew a friend of mine, a co-worker, and so they decided that this was something they were going to do, and I’m so so appreciative of it. So if you can do that for somebody, I highly recommend doing that for someone. Another thing I received a lot of was cards. Very simple thing, you know, pick up a card when you're at the store. Pick up a card when you run to Wal-Mart or the grocery or whatever. Cards were great. I got a lot of cards from family, from friends, from co-workers, from people I didn't even know. Groups-- there are lots of groups out there that do card showers and things like that They do service projects, so if you know somebody who is going through treatment, you might want to give their name to a group like that who sends cards randomly. It’s really kind of fun to get a card from somebody and go, oh gosh, wow, somebody’s praying for me today, somebody’s thinking about me today. There was a student that I had, a former student, and her mom sent me a card a week. I could definitely always count on getting at least a card a week from her, and that was really special to me, so when she graduated last year I was more than happy to be at her graduation because you know, that was something they did with me along the way. Picking out cards and sending me a card every week that I was in treatment to make sure that I was doing okay and to let me know that they were thinking of me at that time. Sounds kind of self-centered, but you know, to know that somebody’s thinking of you. That's a really important thing when you're going through treatment and feeling kind of alone. The best thing that I got, hands down the best thing I got, was visits from friends. I had friends from out of state, I had friends from, you know, far and near who would come and spend the day with me. Come spend some time with me and spending that time together was like I said, by and far the most precious gift, way better than anything tangible.

Life Before Cancer

Before I experienced my first symptoms of colorectal cancer, well I really don’t remember ever not having them. As far back as I can remember into my childhood, I’ve always gotten sick, as soon as I ate or sometimes if I was really lucky, during the time that I was eating, so like in the middle of a meal. It’s always been something that's been a part of my life, so I really didn't know that I was having symptoms until pretty far along in my course of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I’ve always gotten sick to my stomach as soon as I’d eat; I had diarrhea often, then I had the cramping and the bloating, the constipation every once in a while. Not very often, but sometimes, and then I had the bloody stool that was probably the sign that screamed at me the most - something is definitely wrong - you need to go get this checked out. So I did. Before I went into treatment I was pretty active. I teach 7th grade, and I was involved in a lot of different things at school. I went to a lot of activities at school, a lot of the extracurricular things. I coached volleyball, I did tutoring before and after school, I worked some crazy hours, and I got to school pretty early and I stayed at school pretty late so I was very, very active. I was very busy, and I was gone a lot. And aving a diagnosis thrown at me was kind of rough because it totally put a cramp in my lifestyle of working a lot and hanging out with kids and doing things for kids. So that was probably the worst part of the whole thing for me was not being able to be involved with the kids as much as I would like to. I did spend a lot of time with family and friends before I was diagnosed. I was traveling with my husband quite a bit and that was fun. I enjoyed doing that and being diagnosed and going through treatment kind of put the skids a little bit on running around as much as I was doing; doing all the fun things. I continued to spend time with family and friends after I was diagnosed and during treatment, but mostly it was them coming to visit me. Coming to hang out while I sat on the couch or laid in bed and watched TV. We did a lot of TV watching, me and my family and friends.

Metastases

My colon cancer, stage 3 tumor was metastatic, and it had spread to the lymph nodes in my abdomen. Not all of them, but some of them, so my surgeon when she removed about a foot of my colon and the tumors, she went ahead and took out all my lymph nodes in my abdomen as well.

Place of Care

I was treated at Franciscan Saint Francis South Campus at their Cancer Care Center, with my radiation treatments happening there in the Cancer Care Center. My surgery and my hospitalization stays, they were at the Beach Grove Campus, which no longer exists, but that was where I was in Indianapolis at Beach Grove and at the South Campus. Everybody there was so amazing. They were so great and the fact that it was so close to my house made everything so much more convenient. I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to travel like some people that I know have had to travel so far to get to their treatment centers, and that just wouldn't have worked for me because I went to radiation before school and I had chemotherapy after school and for those 8 hours in between, I got to be normal. So if I wasn’t able to maintain that normalcy, I think that my treatment would definitely have been a totally different experience for me. I’m so thankful that I was able to do it close to home and that such a wonderful place was right down the street. The nurses and the doctors I think, while I was in the hospital, I think they got used to the fact that middle school kids were hanging out in the hospital. I don’t know that anybody ever gets used to middle school kids but, you know, the fact that they were there and were willing to answer their questions, the kids had lots of questions, and the nurses and the doctors answered their questions. I've had some kids who went to doctor appointments with me, you know they wanted to know, they wanted questions answered and the doctors were always more than happy to have them go in and answer their questions. I think that was a really important part of the treatment for me. I looked at this whole experience as being a teachable moment for my kids, a teachable moment for the fact that my students were going to see me go through this, and they were going to see that you know, cancer’s not a death sentence, cancer is doable. It’s something that you can survive, you know, day to day. And so I wanted to make sure that they were as informed as they wanted to be; their parents were involved; they were great. One of my former student’s parent was a nurse at the Beach Grove campus, so she was always checking up on me, making sure I was doing okay, so the fact that the staff at the hospital and the doctors and the nurses were willing to include my students as a part of my treatment, for me it was very, very important. The kids, they were at the hospital, you know, they were going to be there when they could. They visited; they wanted to know that I was going to be okay. One of my students learned how to work all the machines so when something would beep or boop wrong, he’d be like pushing the nurse button and saying, hey this is happening, and he asked a lot of questions, and he got a lot of answers. At one point, he’d kind of decided that maybe he wanted to go into something in the medical field because of all the things that he got to learn, and do, and see while I was going through treatment. My morning rounds doctor was very helpful with my new acquisition of an iPod set. She’d come in every morning and say, hey I’ve got some new apps for you to check out. The fact that everybody was not only involved in my treatment, but involved in my personal life as well was really, really important to me. I was a person to them; I wasn’t just a patient who was in a bed in a room. I was a person, and that to me was really, really important. The fact that the staff at the hospital finally brought in comfy chairs because they knew the kids weren't leaving was pretty great. You know, they were there, like I said, every day and making sure that everything was okay, and I was okay, and I was coming back to school. And you know, when they went and got the comfy chairs and moved the comfy chairs into my room and the regular chairs out, I was like, this is awesome; these people are totally accepting my students as part of this treatment and that for me, was just a great, great feeling.

Quotes

Don’t really have any favorite quotes or songs or anything that have to do with my treatment or my cancer, but the one thing that I did that helped me through my treatment the most was my daily devotions that were specifically tailored to cancer patients. There are lots of daily devotions for teens, for women, for men. They have one for everything. And when I was able to stumble across the ones for cancer patients, it really made all the difference for me. It meant that, one, I was staying really close to my God and making sure that I stayed focused on him, and kept him really front and center in my treatment. But also, that my daily devotions were now tailored to my life, specifically to my cancer. And that, for me, was really important. It seemed like no matter what was going on that day, the worse things got, especially when things got at their worst, that day’s devotion was always the one that was just like, oh, my gosh, duh, you heard the angels sing, “Laaa!” in the background. That light-bulb moment, that was always the perfect timing for me. So if you’re a person of faith, I highly recommend making sure you get a daily devotion for cancer patients.

Side Effects

My radiation side effects were fairly minimal. I had what was equivalent to a light sunburn, and I know it could’ve been so much worse. I know a lot of people who’ve had really severe radiation burns, and I was very lucky that I didn’t have that. One of the big radiation side effects is diarrhea. And, well, I wouldn’t know if I had that side effect or not because I already had that going on every day multiple times a day. So I would definitely say that my radiation treatment side effects were fairly minimal. Because even if I had them, I wasn’t aware that I was having them because that’s just the way I live life. The worst radiation side effect that I had was kicking me into early menopause. I got to go and deal with all the hot flashes and the mood swings, and I was acting like a crazy person. And, oh, the hot flashes were horrible, horrible, horrible: sleeplessness, waking up in the middle of the night, being drenched in sweat, being at school in the middle of the day, being in the middle of teaching something and all of a sudden I’d turn beet red like a lobster and it started. I could feel it, the whole thing. And then my neck would turn red. Then my ears would turn red. And kids would laugh at me. They’d be like, “Oh, here we go again. Look. She’s turning into a lobster.” And for them it got to be kind of fun because they could definitely pinpoint that it was going to happen at the same time every day. For me, not so much fun. I take a hormone replacement therapy drug to deal with the side effects, and it’s been very helpful. It’s the most effective thing I’ve done, and that was something I didn’t do lightly either. I had to talk to my doctor a lot. And I pushed it and I pushed it. I didn’t want to do it. It’s scary to do for me. I did a lot of reading about it. The potential for other cancers to come about because of it were there. And she finally said, “Here are your options, and you’re gonna have to make a decision about what you’re gonna do. You can’t keep having all these symptoms and complaining about it unless we do something.” So I didn’t feel pressured. I didn’t feel pushed into it by any stretch of the imagination. But it came to a point where it was awful, and I wasn’t able to just deal with it anymore, and I had to do something. So that was definitely the most in-your-face thing that I had to deal with for the radiation side effects. The other thing that I have is osteoporosis. And while that’s something that doesn’t affect me right now, it’s something that will affect me for the rest of my life. It’s something that will affect me especially as I age. So I take calcium supplements, and I get bone density scans whenever I have checkups. And they just keep track, and make sure that everything’s okay there with my bones. But I have to be careful and make sure that I stay on top of that, because that’s something that could have a huge impact later in life. The chemotherapy complications were a little bit worse. That was the sickness. And, again, diarrhea is a side effect of chemotherapy. Again, really wouldn’t know if I had that or not, kind of been dealing with it my whole life. I did, however, lose about 30 pounds. I got down to about 72 pounds in the very end of treatment, which was why we had to stop treatment. It became really a matter of life and death. And I chose life over death. As anyone I’m sure probably would. I experienced neuropathy. I didn’t really know where my feet were. I tripped and fell all the time. I’d think I was taking a step. I thought I was going this direction, and I’d go that direction. I ran into stuff all the time. I was totally black and blue, my legs. I was always running into stuff. And that was pretty bad, because I’d hit things with my hand. I’d hit things with my leg. I didn’t know I was running into them, because I couldn’t feel it. And, the sock and glove neuropathy, I was cold all the time. My feet were cold. My fingers were cold. I couldn’t pass out papers, which is kind of an important thing if you’re a teacher is to pass out papers. You can’t feel your fingers; you can’t pass out papers. I couldn’t hold onto a pencil. I couldn’t hold onto a dry-erase marker to do stuff on the board. So it got to the point where the sock and glove neuropathy were really having a huge impact on my work, and depth perception was something else that was really awful. I just lost all ability to perceive anything of depth. I’d pull into a parking space and I’d get out and I’d look. I’d be totally over the line, but I thought I was right on it. Once I thought I was totally clear and I smacked my car right into the garage and took off the entire frame of the left side of the garage, which was pretty bad thing. It was a pretty big deal. Not only did I put a little ding in my car, but I ripped the frame of the garage door off because I thought I was clear because I couldn’t determine where I was at in my car. So I would say, if you’re having that kind of side effect with your chemotherapy, let someone else drive you around because it didn’t work out really well for me to drive myself around apparently. Another part of the vision that was really impacted by the chemotherapy was the fact that I lost, it was part of the depth perception, it was the ability to read. And I like to read; I love to read. It’s what I did. That’s how I entertain myself. It’s what I did for fun. It’s what I did to relax. And when I lost the ability to judge where things were at, it caused me a lot of difficulty with the reading. And so I caught up on my Netflix queue, and I watched a lot of movies. But it was pretty painful for me to have to give up reading, because I love to read. I had to limit myself to the amount of reading that I had to do for work. I had paperwork to do. I had papers to grade. And that was a big strain on my eyes. I got reading glasses. But that was pretty big for me to have to give up something that I really enjoyed. The number one big, big thing that happened to me with chemotherapy is, something that happens to a lot of people in chemotherapy, is the brain fog, the complete and total cluelessness that I went through. I forgot everything. I couldn’t remember. I didn’t know if I’d done something, if I hadn’t done it. Just a constant fog of not remembering and not knowing was by far the worst, worst, worst side effect for me. I’d always been the person that people at work went to for advice, for references, for help. I’d been the person that kids relied on for help. Obviously, as a teacher you’re the person that kids rely on for help. And I couldn’t even imagine what was going to come out of my mouth next sometimes. Got to the point where I was kind of fearful. It was like, oh, my gosh, I hope today that nobody comes and asks me a question because I don’t know what’s going to come out of my mouth, I don’t know what I’m going to say. Not knowing, not remembering, not being able to find things. I’d have a pile of papers on my desk. And five minutes later, I wouldn’t know where they were. And that, for me, was the most mentally, emotionally taxing part of the whole thing. Because I’d always been super efficient and super effective, and now I was super-duper not efficient or effective.

Conditions and Treatments

At this point, I consider my Stage III colon cancer to be gone. I know you have to be five years clean to say I’m in remission. And so I just say, “It’s gone. They removed it. I had surgery. And now it’s gone.” I’ve got three years in of good checkups and good treatment, follow-up. And now I’m just waiting on my next two years so I can say “remission”.

Symptoms

My colorectal cancer symptoms were definitely the urgency of having to go to the bathroom, diarrhea, the bloating, the cramping. And then I had the bloody stool. So I had a colonoscopy. The colonoscopy showed that I had a tumor in my lower intestine and right close to the rectal area, and it was pretty fairly advanced to late Stage III tumor. So I think I waited around a little too long to go and seek help, but I was busy. I was busy. I was living life. I was doing my thing. And that’s probably one of the things that I should give you as a little bit of advice from the beginning is, if you think something’s wrong, you should definitely get it checked out. I knew something wasn’t right. I went to the doctor. I tried to figure out what was going on, but I knew. I think, in my heart, I knew. So if you do know, you should probably definitely find out for sure.

Treatment Decisions

After being diagnosed, I had to make some treatment decisions and ask myself, “What next?”. I decided to go with radiation treatment, chemotherapy treatment and surgery. I had about five weeks of radiation treatments. I went five days a week before school, and I had chemotherapy after school one day a week. And I went in and had IV treatments. Lasted anywhere from two to four hours depending on how much I was getting that week. I took Xeloda, an oral chemotherapy treatment. I had the 5-FU. I took the pills five days a week, and then I had the IV treatment one day a week. Eventually, after surgery, I had a IV treatment one day a week, and then I had a pump that I wore for three days after my doctor’s appointment in the office. I kept it on for three days, and then I got to take it back. And that was always a happy day when I got to get rid of it. I ended up having an ileostomy after my surgery. I had that done in July. So I had a little bit of time to get used to it before I had to go back to work, and that was nice. I didn’t ever get used to it. It was awful for me to try to deal with. I never got used to the ileostomy. I didn’t ever really figure out how to work the whole thing. I had a lot of difficulty keeping it attached. I don’t know. Probably was partially due to the fact that, the size of my body, I had lost a lot of weight. And I have a pretty tiny frame as well. My ostomy nurse and I finally decided to go with child-size products, which was great. After we switched to the child-size products, I had a lot more success, but I had a lot of explosions. I ruined a lot of bedsheets. I ruined a lot of clothes. I went through a lot of gloves. I went through a lot of bags. I went through a lot of tape. I went through a lot of everything. And I went through a lot of towels and washcloths as well. I’m pretty sure that my cats thought that I lived in the bathroom at that point because they were always banging on the door trying to get in, ‘Hey, what are you doing in there?’ But I spent a lot of time in the bathroom cleaning up messes and changing bags. And it seemed like as soon as I would get one on, boom, there it would go and I’d have to change it all again. I participated in a research project through the Dayton Oncology Clinical Research Program. The people that followed up with me there, they were great. I would totally recommend doing a research program if you’re able to. I felt like having an extra set of eyes keeping track of what was going on with me was an amazing feeling, to know that not only were my doctors and nurses and caregivers taking care of me, that I had this other whole entity and they were looking out for me, too. That was pretty comforting to know from time to time. And also, I think for me, I thought that a research program was a good fit. Because as an educator you’re always encouraging your students to do research and figure out the best new thing and do the best they can. And, for me, I felt like if I could help somebody do this research and if I could help somebody find a treatment that would help other people, then that’s definitely something that I really needed to do to give back. And I wanted my students to know that I’m participating in this and I’m doing this and I want you guys to be involved as much as possible. So the research program kind of provided me a way to do that and try new treatments and be able to hopefully say down the line that maybe somebody’s having a great success or a good treatment or a positive outcome because I participated in this program. It’s definitely something that I think is important for me to do to give back. The nurse navigator was great. She was really helpful in making sure that everything was lined up, my appointments, everything worked around my schedule. My doctors’ offices were always, always working with me to make sure that I could have my appointments before school or after school so I didn’t have to miss work. And, people scheduling my appointments and taking care of all that stuff and dealing with insurance and dealing with all the other stuff that goes on that really I didn’t want to have to think about, that was great. That was fantastic to have those people who were able to do that for me, and I’m so thankful that they were there. One of the most helpful things that I’ve had happen while I was at the hospital was, the ostomy nurse and I, while we were trying to figure out what was going on, while we were trying to figure out that I needed child-size products, while we were trying to figure out the best way to teach me how to work this ostomy thing, was a housekeeper from the floor I was on was going through the same thing with her father at home. They were dealing with the ostomy issues. They were dealing with all those new questions and things going on. And she came to my room on one of her breaks, and she talked to me about the things that they were trying and the things that they were doing at their house. And her advice to me was so much more real. They were going through it. It was real. It was so helpful to me. And it was the thing that I was able to take out, and it was the thing that I used the most in dealing with my ostomy issues. So having somebody who’s going through it, who’s been through it, was so much more helpful than a clinical nurse who is very, very important in your treatment, who knows all the ins and outs, who knows the textbook way to do things but has never had to deal with it themselves. And it’s a totally different thing when you’re talking to someone who’s had to deal with it themselves. And that, for me, was the most important part of my ostomy treatment. After I had surgery, I had chemo treatments about once a week for a while. And then it went on to every other week. And then it got to be dependent on my levels and my counts. But that was when I had the pump was after my surgery. It tapered to every other week, and then even longer as my counts went down. The longer I went the more weight I lost, and the more weight I lost the more often I would have to have blood draws and counts and the less often I had treatment. And then I eventually had to come to a place where the doctor and I had to sit down and decide whether or not treatment was something we needed to continue. My treatment plan was for me to keep going. That was what the doctor determined was the best treatment for me. That was the plan. But I had to make a decision, because I was losing so much weight. And I needed to go in and talk to the doctor and have a really, really serious heart to heart. And we both determined that the best course of action for me was to stop treatment. Luckily that worked out well for me. I was able to stop treatment. And now I’m three years out, and I’m still clean. But it was a really tough decision. When the doctor says that you need x amount of treatments and this is the best way to make sure that it doesn’t come back, and you have to look at it halfway through and go “I just can’t do this anymore”, it’s a tough decision. And it’s one you need to really make seriously and make with your doctor and make sure that you weigh all the options.

WhatNext

What next is a patient site. It’s a family site. It’s a site for friends. It’s a site for medical personnel. It’s a site for anyone who wants to help somebody out who’s going through cancer treatment. And I hope that, through this project, that I will be able to give some personal insight to somebody who’s going through treatment. If I can just get a message to one person, then I will call that success. For me, it’s all about getting that personal perspective, hearing it from somebody who’s been there, hearing it from somebody who’s done it. Like I said before, it’s one thing to know your stuff. It’s one thing to know a textbook explanation of things. It’s another thing to have gone through it yourself. It’s another thing to be someone who can say, “Hey, you know what? That happened to me,” or, “When that happened to me, this is what I did.” So if my video is seen by somebody who has a question and I can answer a question for somebody or I can help a family member through something, then I’m really excited about that, because I want to be able to help people. And as an educator, I guess that’s my goal in life, is to make sure that people are educated and people have answers to questions.

Patient Doctor Relationship

To find the oncologist that’s right for you is a really important step in your treatment. Finding the right doctor is the first thing you have to do before you can start anything else, and my advice is to ask around. Ask your friends. Ask your family. And ask who. Everybody knows somebody that has cancer. Everybody knows somebody that’s been through treatment. So ask around and see who’s the doctor that they recommend, what doctor’s name comes up more often than not. I was very fortunate; I have friends who work in the medical field. So I asked them to put together a list for me, “If you were to create a dream team, if you were diagnosed, if you were handed this cancer diagnosis, what doctors would you pick? Who that you work with would you want to be your doctors?” And all of the people I asked came up with the same people on their lists. And so that was definitely who I went with, the people who showed up on everybody’s list. And I’m so thankful that I did because, as far as I’m concerned, I have the best doctors in the world. They’re amazing. In order to build a good relationship with your doctor, you have to ask questions. You have to be informed, and you have to do your research. I did a lot of research, after I was given my diagnosis, before I met with my doctor. And so I had questions to ask. I was familiar with the vocabulary. I was familiar with the words that they were throwing out at me at those first few visits. I was able to ask questions about the treatment options she was giving me, and I think the more informed you are, the better patient you’re going to be. And the better patient you are then the easier job your doctor has for being your doctor. Because you are an active member of your treatment team at that point. When you become a active member of your treatment team, it’s definitely a totally different experience. It’s one thing for your doctors to tell you, this is what’s going to happen. It’s a totally different experience when you’re involved in making all those decisions, when you go, “Hey, I have a question about this,” “Hey, I read this.” Knowing things, asking questions, bringing up different ideas is by far the best way to make sure you receive the best treatment possible. Also, get to know the nurses. The doctor’s ultimately in charge of your treatment, but the nurses are the ones who hand out the treatments. So get to know your nurses. Get to know what’s going on with them. Get to know them. Make sure they know you. The nurses are going to be the ones who can tell the doctor, as soon as something’s wrong, “Hey, you know, here’s Jayme and this is what’s going on with her and that’s not normal. So we need to check it out.” I know that I got to know my nurses pretty well, and I don’t think I would have felt as comfortable with my treatment if I hadn’t known them as well as I did. Another thing is to be comfortable with asking those questions. And if something comes up, you’re on your way home and you think of something, oh, my gosh, I forgot to ask them da, da, da, da, da, then call them when you get home. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, call when you get home. They’ll call you back. They’ll answer your questions. If you have a good doctor, if you have the right doctor, if it’s the right fit, and it’s the right treatment team, they’ll always call you back. They’ll always get back with you.