A few months ago I had flat-out hit rock bottom physically, emotionally, and mentally. I never knew though, I would be there. I always believed I was strong enough to use my mental strength to overcome whatever problem I had.
I also thought that phrase would apply more to alcoholics than ordinary people. I was dead wrong. You got to learn your lessons in the life. If you don’t get the memo, the life can smile at you and say out loud “got you”.
Three years ago I was working as usual, I was feeling tired but I thought it was normal, because I worked a lot. I was trying to tell myself, I should exercise, eat better, do not sit in front of computer a lot, etc. etc.
Then this persistent pain started the left side of my tummy. Whatever pain medication I took, whatever I did; drinking many herbal supplements, massages, a bit of diet, long walks, nothing worked. Finally I gave in, and said, ‘I guess I have to see a doctor’. After a few test doctors told me I had cervical cancer stage 3B.
After that my life changed dramatically. I took 35 radio therapy and 6 chemo sessions. It was hard and painful, but I made it. As soon as I finished the therapy, I told my self no more post pone my dreams. I have to do it, and I have do it now.
I felt a bit better about two months later, I got the ticket and went to Alaska cruise. It was wonderful, I loved it. When I come back, I had petscan and doctors told me I was free of cancer. It was a great news. I felt joy.
I was back to work again. I had travel plans. I was weak but had hope. Then I went to Holland, Turkey and Greece. The trip was quite disaster this time. I was diarrhea during the whole time. Ask me where is all the public toilets in Amsterdam, I know all of them!
When I was flying from Istanbul to Amsterdam I had to use a wheelchair, because I had no strength to walk anymore. Something was terribly wrong.
I arrived to Portland, weak, lost weight, feeling dizzy and with a strong pain in my tummy. After trying to figure out which doctor would look at me, my pain was unbearable. I end up in a hospital, pain scale 9! I was on morphine 3 days. Those days were blurry, kind of. Staying in 3 days in a hospital fee was $17.000. What a luxury hotel right? Not really, the bed was horrible, gave me back ache, I would not recommend it.
After I had colposcopy and biopsy, they confirmed that my cancer was back.
My Chinese oncologist came to hospital.
I was half sleep, it was almost midnight. The room was dark, I was listening deep humming noise coming from IV machine. He sat in a chair close to my bed. I was trying to get up in order to talk to him. I was surprised to see him in the hospital. He worked in another cancer clinic, not in that hospital. I told him to turn the lights on so I could see him. There was only dim light coming from parking lot of the hospital from the large window in the room. He did not turn the light on. He spoke softly. He said with a sad voice my cancer is back and incurable. He left the room quietly as he came. I guess he was sincere of his feeling. I do not know, it was quite dark inside, I could not see his face.
I think at that time, I hit rock bottom.
In the hospital when I was drugged with heavy morphine a surgeon told me I had to have emergency colostomy. Otherwise I would die very soon.
When I woke up next morning, I saw a little tiny sticker of “evil eye” on an IV unit was pumping morphine in my veins. I told my dear Rob, ‘look somebody put evil eye for me’ and smiled at him. That was my husband’s way of showing me his love in a tiny sticker! I knew I had to do something.
At the end of 3rd day of staying in hospital, my head was full of negative thoughts. However the pain was bearable. Somehow I realized this is it; I am not going to let other people decide about my own body, that includes the doctors.
I was pissed beyond any recognition. I was so angry to whole medical system, to arrogant doctors, misinformed staff, to hell with drug companies.
I told the surgeon I am not going to have colostomy. I sign bunch of paper to leave from the hospital. I dragged my body to my home.
I put myself in a low fiber diet and started to use a lot of vitamin supplements for coming up chemo sessions. Even though a cold heartless female doctor was so sure that I would die in a year. Because of their statistics prove that. And she did not mind me sharing this fantastic data, to just give me a hope! I love to ask her ‘when you say this news to any patient, do you aware of how much damage you are causing at that moment?’ Is that her morality? If this is it, then do not dare to touch me… I do not need any sugar coating news, however this does not mean I want to hear, ‘you should prepare your will’ or ‘god will save you’. Keep your negative opinion to yourself.
Nevertheless I took 6 session of chemo therapy and it went great, no side effect at all. Not only I did not lose any weight, I even gain some, because of healthy protein diet.
During my chemo there was one nurse who was actually nice to me, sincerely tried to help. I would always stick with positive people. All the negative people, stay away from me!
My oncologist on the other hand, never wanted to give me any hope, just incase. What the heck?
Every single time I saw him, he asked about side effects, I was telling him, none I had so far. For me it almost turned into a pissing contest. I was not going to have any side effect at all. And I did not.
During 6 months I rode bicycle every night, ate no sugar at all, eat heathy food, mostly protein. After finishing chemo therapy, I decided to go see deserts.
I did 2200 miles rode trip to Nevada, Arizona, Utah. I seen Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Zion, Arches Park, Valley of Fire, and more. I took lots of photos. It was wonderful. I walked all around deserts, climbed rocks, hiked around trails. I felt alive.
Now I am back to work again, still riding bicycle, walk around Portland. I feel good. I think it was the best thing I ever did was my attitude towards cancer was “ fuck it all”.
I do not care about statistics and I prefer being outliner! Hey doctors, let me give you an advice:
You have no right to demoralize a patient! Try to be positive no matter how bad the situation is. Telling a patient, you will die and go prepare yourself means this; you are burying him or her alive already! And do not forget everyone dies, that includes you. You are not in charge of how a person should die or what to do. Let the patient decide that.
My life lesson is this: No matter what they tell you, believe in you and go for it! Just because you hit rock bottom, it does not mean, you cannot get up and try again.
- Valley of Fire State Park, NV
- Zion National Park , UT
- Bryce Canyon, UT
- Wayne County, UT
- Arches National Park, UT
- Horseshoe Bend, AZ
- Antelope Canyon, AZ
- Grand Canyon, AZ
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