On September 3, 2011 I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. I had emergency surgery and the tumor was removed but it has spread to my liver. I wear an ostomy bag now.
In October 2011, I will begin chemo to beat back the tumor in my liver. I am getting stronger each day and trying to stay positive. I am unable to work. I have applied for Medicaid but that will only cover a fraction of my bills.
I am calling out now, not only for your continued good wishes and thoughts but for financial help. If you can help in any way, please help me fight and win my battle. No donation is too big or too small. With the love and support of those around me, I know, together, we can win this.
Please keep the love flowing in your thoughts for me. I can feel it helping to carry me on this journey. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
I'm also very pleased to announce that friend and artist DTM has offered all proceeds from his posters and book sales to benefit GO THE CATHERINE.
I'm a huge fan of his work and grateful for this generous offer. Take a look and maybe buy some great art for your walls. It is for a good cause.
Thanks for listening and viewing!

Cambodia posters available at:

CHURNING THE SEA OF MILK books available at:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Gee, But It's Great To Be Back Home...

When the medical literature says extreme fatigue/weakness is a side effect of chemo, they are not joking around.  I've been home from hospital since Saturday and am finally getting motivated to update my blog. 
I feel proud I have finished my first round of chemo and I am tolerating it well.  Except for the fatigue, there have been very few side effects.  Emotionally, I have moments where I am an absolute train wreck but physically, I feel pretty ok.  I am battling some mild edema, went back on Lasix/Klor-con (a water pill and potassium pill) which will help move the fluid up through my heart, kidneys and to my bladder.  It makes me pee.  A lot.  Which is good.  I also have to exercise (I try to walk 10 minutes 3x a day) and drink lots of fluid.  That seems odd when I am trying to rid my body of the excess fluid that was introduced via my port during the treatment.  Our bodies are funny things. 
The port is the best thing, though.  As gross as it is to have a one inch piece of unobtainium underneath the skin on my upper right chest with part of it inserted into a vein, all of my blood draws, pain med shots, IV fluids and chemo was administered through it. It really cuts down on getting stuck by those mean nurses. 
I am training myself to use lots of positive affirmations and visualizations. And to breathe,  just breathe. A solid mind/body/spirtual approach is critical to beating this stupid disease.  
I visualize my liver as being healthy and surrounding my liver and me is a big rainbow which is constructed of all of the people who love me and are sending positive healthy, healing vibes and love my way.  This love and light helps my liver stay healthy.  I am strong.  I am ok.  I will beat this. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just Catching Up And Waiting To Get Out Of Here

I knew I would do my first round of chemo in hospital but was caught unaware when severe back pain landed me in the ER in Tuesday, the 18th.   My abdomen had filled with fluid and it was pushing and mushing my internal organs up and sideways and everywhere manifesting itself in my upper back as a #9 on the "#1 is minimal to #10 is fucking ouch" Scale of Pain.   Why did my abdomen fill with fluid?  I'd have to ask again as they gave me a lot of drugs.  There was a CT scan then it was down to Radiology for a paracentesis, which I hope to never have done again.  That little pinch of a needle is never 'little' when it goes into your belly.
I started chemo on Wednesday October 19.  Ready?
Through my port, I got/am still getting a few small IV bags with anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory meds in them plus some calcium something and magnesium whoosie-whatsis then a big bag of Oxaliplatin followed by a 'push' of 5FU followed by a big bag of Leucovorin then 2 big bags of 5FU that each take 23 hours to drip and drain.   The last bit should be finished by 11:30 tonight. 
I want to go home.   
Unfortunately, my back has started to ache again, as if there is more fluid accumulating and the doctor will not be in until morning.  Weird at a hospital, I thought, no doctor here.  My ab may need to be drained again before I can go home.
Thank you always for your continued good and healing wishes being sent my way, Dan reminds me to call upon them when I get down and sobbing and in pain and they help me.  Thank you and keep them coming. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Off To Hospital Again

Had a good office visit with my oncologist Friday.   My port incision is healed though the steri-strips are still on.  The site gets less painful and tender as days pass.  My liver is functioning well.   He does not think my cancer is 'aggressive' but without a few months worth of CT scans (which I do not have as part of my medical record)  it is impossible to know for sure.  The best thing to do is to begin chemo immediately.  I don't get a second chance with this. 
My Medicaid application is still pending, it could be 3 weeks or 4 weeks or longer or I may not be approved at all.  Nobody knows. Which led to the question of when and how I will begin chemo and how it will get paid for.
A round of chemo costs roughly $12,000.  Holy Baby Jeebus in a chicken basket!  That is a bit out of reach for an out of pocket expense.  The oncologist suggested that he admit me back to St. Peter's Hospital for my first round of chemo.   12K is also a bit steep for his office to absorb while I await approval from Medicaid.   The hospital has to treat me, especially if Dr. Dudek has me admitted. 
I told him "I really don't like the hospital." He replied 'That is a healthy attitude."
I've been thinking about it all day:  I can't delay treatment any longer, it is only a 2 or 3 day hospital stay, they won't be cutting me open like last time I was there.   I'm still anxious and afraid though. 
On Monday, I am calling the doctor to begin the admission process.  It is the way forward, just do the next thing.  That's all I have to focus on. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

11 October 2011

Today my surgeon gave me the 'all clear' to begin chemo.  I see my oncologist on Friday, who will make sure my port is functioning properly and we will set up a date for my first chemo treatment.  I am hoping to start next week,  the week of October 17th.

There will be 12 chemo treatments  over the course of six months.   If my blood counts are good and I tolerate the chemo, I will be getting an infusion every other week.  

On the way back from the surgeons office, Dan and I stopped at the Health Food store for some soy milk and protein powder.  With the provisioning finished, we satisfied our Burger King cheeseburger craving.  It was a productive day.