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A trying end to summer

August 27, 2014

In June, we found a tumor in my spine and cancer no where else. We decided to do a procedure called thermal ablation, where they heated the tumor from the inside out and then filled the area with cement. They said it would be a short recovery…..well, not in my case. About two weeks after, I woke up one night in excruciating pain. Now, for those who know me, I have an insanely high tolerance for pain, but this…this got me good. It started then,….and didn’t stop. So about two weeks later(mid-July) we did a ct scan and an MRI to see what was happening. It looked like the area was completely inflamed and irritating nerves all around where the tumor was, but at that point, it seemed like the procedure had been successful and the cancer was gone. They decided to give me iv’s of pain Meds/steroids tand then put me on a high dose of steroids and pain Meds and the pain started to subside. I gained about 17 pounds from the steroids….that was pretty insane, but I wasn’t complaining since we got the pain somewhat under control. As we weened off the steroids, the pain slowly but steadily came back. About two weeks ago it became unbearable again. So we decided to rescan. To put in into context, I moved into my apartment Monday, scan on Tuesday and then started work the next Monday, this week) This scan showed the area less inflamed, but new growth was happening on the outside of where the tumor was and is now pushing against my nerves and caused a fracture to my spine. so looks like we found the pain culprits.

So….where do we go from here. Well, that is good question. My oncologist’s first reaction was to immediately begin chemo for 3-6 months, so we can eradicate, or try to, whatever cancer may be floating around and hopefully shrink this new growth on my spine. Now, one of the reasons I adore her, is that she listens to what I think, and takes into account how I feel and what I can mentally handle at a given time. At first, I said, ok let’s start tomorrow, because I was so scared, but then I took some time to breathe and told her wanted to explore other options. Even though she knows what she wants to do, she is helping me look through the and see if there is an alternate treatment I am more comfortable with. So, this past week, I first tried to get into an immunotherapy trial, but there are none right now in New York for colon cancer. Then I met with my holistic doctor, and he was wondering if radiation would be a viable option, as long as it is not near where I had radiation before. He doesn’t think we should treat the whole body if it is localized. Then there is a surgery option.

Soo… Today, I met with a Surgeon and he thinks there is not enough disease to validate surgery and he is not convinced this is definitely new cancer- he thinks it may be fatty tissue or scar tissue as a result from the June surgery. He suggested a PET scan to give us more info. I then met my radiologist who said, ” as long as the PET scan(he agrees we should do one) shows no other growth, we can get this with targeted radiation.” This would entail every day for five weeks going for radiation, but is a very good option. My oncologist spoke to them both and also thinks we should do a PET before making a decision.

So… step: PET scan Tuesday evening. So the waiting continues. The issue is, the pain and no sleep….which makes it really hard to be back at work, to focus on making a treatment plan, to enjoy my new apartment…to live life. So for now,they put me on a fentinol patch for pain, more oral painkillers and back on the wonderful steroids. (Packing in the pounds for winter!) these are taking the edge off,but it’s still pretty rough.

When we get these results, I can make a plan. I have been very angry these last two weeks….nervous about living alone and going through treatment, nervous about paying rent if I have To go down to a reduced work week, angry that I thought this year was going to start off easy, angry I have to put my family and friends back on thisrollercoaster…. And angry this disease let’s me get my head above water and the pulls me back down.
I just have to not let it keep me down for long.

  1. Hi Kris,

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but I am so sorry to hear that you are having such difficulty with recurrence. Since my cancer has not recurred, it is a fear I live with but have not had to actually face. From what you describe, it sounds like you are facing this hellish situation with intelligence & logic and you are exploring all your viable options to make an informed decision. I admire that. I know someone that had fibromyalgia and Reiki helped them considerably with their pain. Since you have a homeopathic doctor, perhaps try talking to her about alternative treatments in addition to your medical solutions (if you haven’t already).

    I hope your pain subsides quickly and the treatment you choose successful. I know it may be hard to really be happy about all the positive things in your life like your new job and apartment, but I am glad to hear that you have those things. If you ever would like to talk, I’m here.



  2. Hi Kristen, I wish you did not have to go through this. I wish no one had to. You are SO strong being back at work and doing your best to stay positive. It’s ok to be angry! Just keep pressing on and being the amazing person you are. You are going to beat this cancer. You are already beating it. I love you! — Melanie


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