ROCKY FIGHTS:

Stage 4 Fallopian Cancer


Rocky Fights Cancer and the Cancer Sucks Blog Series is a personal account of one midwest small business owner’s experience with fighting Stage 4 Ovarian/Fallopian Cancer as a single parent. The blog started as a way to communicate to her friends, family and colleagues during her trials, and has been used as a source to reach out to Rocky by other cancer fighters and survivors anywhere in the world.

Sharing our experiences, no matter how big, small, painful, hilarious, embarrassing, humbling or otherwise, helps us connect with others whom have had the similar experiences, leaving us all left feeling a little less alone in this world.

Are you or a loved one a Stage 4 Cancer Fighter/Survivor? Tell us your story in the comments, say hello, or feel free to let us know what you think.



 

Cancer Sucks Update #12- Why aren’t you back to normal?

Do You Even HAVE Cancer Anymore?

This might be just a guess, but I’d be willing to bet I’m not the first cancer survivor to feel lost during their fight. I’d think it is to be expected after all of the fight, loss, and change that happens during the journey. But I do wonder, how many others out there have been DOUBTED during their treatments or recovery? This is a genuine question. I assume I can’t be the only one, but at the same time, am wondering how normal these questions are? I’ve heard these questions and comments a multitude of times from the people closest to me in my life. 

    • What pain do you even have anymore?
    • Why are you still so tired?
    • Sometimes it seems like you’re just overdramatizing the pain.
    • Your actions are similar to an addict: Faking pain to keep the prescriptions coming?
    • Why are you still on those pills?
    • Why can’t you just take different pills?
    • Shouldn’t you be off your pills by now?
    • You’re not doing enough at home, why don’t you just…
    • Why aren’t you back to normal yet?

I hardly know how to react to the comments, much less get them to stop swirling and echoing inside my head. I’ve been called a monster from those who never visit, accused of faking and overdramatizing my pain or symptoms, and told consistently “don’t take it personal” regarding my concerns. Am I the only one?

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Cancer Sucks- Update #…who knows.

I don’t know what number update I’m on, but I still want to say how much this Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer crap SUCKS! So many positive things in my world shaded by something so common these days: Cancer.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

Turning in early on a crisp fall evening, another day living in remission has passed. How many of these days are left? I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

But I am.

It’s hard not to when you’re half-way through the 1-2 year prognosis my doctor signed off on. Even after asking for an update after going into remission, she said “no, it’s the same prognosis. Remission was a planned part of the process.”

Remission is just part of the plan. It’s a step forward in a direction that may or may not include a cancer attack.

Huh. Okay, well, so there’s that to not think about. Every day.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I think it’s one of the reasons I stopped blogging. Without positive updates of progress and growth, I don’t have too much to share that anyone would really want to hear. I think I’m at the point where I’m supposed to join a group of fellow miserable chronic pain survivors so we can sit in a circle and listen to each other bitch while we eat donuts and choke down burnt coffee in a community center basement.

Sorry, that’s not happening.
But, what I am going to explore instead is a 12-week 1-on-1 therapy program structured to help survivors through treatments and/or remission. That starts this week.

Other than that, it’s still the struggle for pain management. So far, the maintenance chemo treatments, every three weeks, aren’t too bad to handle. I get tired and nauseated for a while afterward, not too much of a biggie. The side effect that turns our worlds upside down the most, is the ongoing pain. The range of abdominal pain paired with the electric bone pain deeply radiating through every inch of my body 24 hours a day, tends to be the real stickler in my day.

I shouldn’t think about that right now.

I’m going to be brutally honest, because I have zero intentions of sharing this article on Facebook leaving it highly unlikely it’ll ever be read: I’m in so much fucking pain I could break down and cry at any moment of any day. And if I can tuck away for a second, I often do.

My hips feel four decades older than I am. My right ankle feels nearly broken, yet I’ve had no injury. The shooting pain searing in, out, around, up, down and through every crevice making up my collar bone is enough to break me down entirely one of these nights. The abdominal pains are controlled fairly well with the meds, but without, they drop me to my knees. You should see me get out of bed in the morning and do the TinMan Shuffle to the bathroom. (And that’s after 30 minutes of stretching in bed!)

Sounds like Cancer, right?

I didn’t think so, either. Nobody really warned me about what it’d be like after surviving the first round of treatments.

Are you in the clear? Can we celebrate? No.

Are you feeling better? More like yourself everyday? I wish, so much, but no.

Hey, you’re hair is growing back! Yep, and that part is still awesome. 🙂

 

The good thing is, my doctors and I are still exploring new and different options to address the bone pain, which I’m very optimistic to see some results over the next couple of weeks.

And honestly, I really don’t LIKE to complain about the pain. Even if you’ve heard me whine about it and are rolling your eyes right now… I swear, it isn’t something I like to complain about. 

It’s just… When people don’t know about the pain, they don’t see it, they assume my smile means everything is okay. But when it’s not really okay, and you’re the only one that knows it, it begins to feel a bit lonely. The feeling of being alone and unappreciated comes on fast and hard. (These feelings border on “pity party” of course, and I’ve always had a hard time deciphering when it’s gone from a desire to be heard and loved, to a whiny little bitch seeking attention.) I hate that whiny little bitch.

But I shouldn’t think about that right now.

Now, I typically try to be a positive person, usually filled with energy to spare. Before my Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer Diagnosis, I’d easily spend 12-15 hours at the office, earbuds blasting electric swing music in my ears while I bounced and danced on my yoga office chair. (It’s a fun way to shed a few pounds!- Thanks, WittFitt!) I’d be in early, take off for coaching, return to the office and stay until the wee hours of the morning. It made me happy, and things were great!

 

Until they weren’t.

 

Then the cooties hit and everything changed. The initial surgery left a very tender scar running from my pubic bone to my breast bone. Other smaller procedures left painful scars as daily reminders for me. Many days I can hardly walk and look ridiculous when I do. 

My teenaged daughter has been trying to figure out how to maneuver her way though all of this with me, too. I can feel her distancing herself, which scares the hell out of me. I want to spend every day I have of the next year just snuggling and squeezing her face, meanwhile, she wriggles away with a look on her face like I’m the biggest moron to ever walk and breathe.

Yes, I know she’s a teen and it is a phase. But why can’t I press pause on this little rebellious phase, let it sit dormant for a few years so she can be my sweet, caring and considerate, mom-loving little girl she’s always been? Just in case.

But I shouldn’t think about that right now.

But what SHOULD I be thinking about? Try to think of positive things about this pain? Well, I’m pretty positive my head is going to explode within the hour. I’m positively certain the pain is exaggerated during every wave of menopause-fuled hot flash. I’m positive I’m tired of the “pill addiction” insinuations coming only from the non-informed. And at the same time, I’m positive I’m tired of the pills the docs keep giving me.

I know that’ isn’t the same as thinking positive thoughts, so I’ll try again.

I should be thinking about my daughter, and how, no matter how difficult it gets, I’m her person and she is mine, and that we’ve been a team before and I just have to trust we will be strong again. I am thankful to have been awakened by a few friends who reminded me who I am as a parent, and how far I’ve come, no matter how many times I fell.

I should be thinking about my team at work, and how hard they continue every day to make VantagePoint what it is: A small business resource making a real difference for local families and the local economy around us.

I should be thinking of my wonderful clients, many of who have reached out to help me in a variety of ways in a variety of times to help support me down this long road.

I should be thinking of my dear friend Lorraine, whom I miss so much, and who is feeling a bit more lost than she’d like. And how I can hope for her that the right answer lands in her lap soon so she can find the happiness she deserves.

I should be thinking of my adorable nephew, who doesn’t look at me any different since my illness. He doesn’t tell me I’ve changed, he doesn’t doubt my intentions when I cry, and he hugs me just as tight as he did before the surgery. He just smiles and is happy to be with his Antie.

Hopefully, my next entry comes with a far more positive outlook. My apologies for a C-Level experience with this story.

 

Until next time,
Rocky

 

 

Cancer Sucks Update #10

Recovery is one hell of a road.

One I’d be fine having left untraveled, but that’s not really an option…


I’ve said before, in an earlier post, how long it’d been since I’d last written. Well, that has nothing on this post. It’s been around five months or so since I’ve updated, but believe me, we’ve all kept busy since the last I’ve shared. Now, since I had a quick trip to the ER this past weekend, I thought it might be a good time to get all caught up.

I’d really love to sit here and type out pretty descriptions of rainbows and unicorns filled with hope and laughter, telling everyone how strong I’ve been through it all. But the truth is, this cancer experience has come close to breaking me. A few times. I don’t know how all of those cancer survivors do this. There are so many who are so much younger, so innocent, so tiny… and then others who are so much older, so weak, so small… and they battle through this chemo crap like caped heroes in the latest Avengers movie. 

I am not that caped hero. 

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Cancer Sucks Update #9

Last Chemo Treatment!

For now…Cross your fingers for a long remission!


Since March I’ve had three more chemo treatments, including what we’re hoping will be my LAST CHEMO TREATMENT this past Tuesday! (April 23) Oh, I rang the heck out of that chemo bell, baby, and it felt great. This little cootie adventure started out with some pretty ugly survival chances, hovering around the 14% range, so this might be the last chemo for now, but either way, it’s the last one for some time! I had some of my best chemo supporters there with me to make it even more special, including my chemo battle buddy, Lorraine, who had her last treatment on April 2nd and is so far receiving incredible results.

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Cancer Sucks Update #8

Rocky Fights Fundraiser has Incredible Turnout!

I’m a little late with the summary, but a lot has been happening, man!


Did you make it for the fun? Oh, I hope so because there was much to be had. So much fun and love going around, smiles and laughter everywhere I looked on the faces of the people I love most. It was truly a day I’ll never forget. Four amazing hours of hanging out with some of the most important and amazing people in my life, who were simultaneously raising over $20K to help me and my family through this cancer cootie fight.

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Cancer Sucks Update #7

Cancer Sucks Update: So it’s been a while since my last post, mostly because there were some pretty tough days in there to get over. But there were some good and great ones too, fun with visitors, a trip to the Mayo, and my dad came home again for a couple of days.

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