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:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fear Is Creating A Living Will, A Health Care Proxy, A DNR, A Bucket List And A Who Gets My Stuff When I Die At Age 42... Part Two

Fear is a doctor telling you "This is life threatening. If these stitches don't stop this bleeding, you are going to have to go right to emergency surgery that may or may not work. We won't know until we're in there. I'm sorry."
Fear is an uncontrollable fire hose of blood spurting a steady steam 6 inches up into the air. Blood that is coming from your body. Copious, unbelievable amounts of blood. More blood than the restaurant scene in Kill Bill when Uma takes out 200 fighters single-handed.
Fear is setting an alarm to go off every 3 hours at night, all night, for 3 weeks to check that there is no bleeding. Remember my stoma has no nerve endings : it is part of my intestine outside of my body. I cannot always decipher what is happening with it. At least the times coincided with my pain and anxiety medication schedule.
I want MY medication, Nurse Ratchet! MY medication!
Fear is the flash backs to these images when it is oh-so-very-damn-dark in the morning. These images need to be in the rear view now, not still happening over and over in my head.
Sometimes fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. But the actual feeling of fear is very much real and very much happening, PTSD, anyone? It sucks.
So, my last entry covered ER visit #1. Let us move forward the next day or so to ER visit #2, ok? Please understand the whole week it was happening passed in a blur. I have NO memory of being admitted for 3 days. None. Zed. Zilch. Code Zero.
This is also very, very, very hard for me to write about. And that accounts for part of the reason why it has taken so long to get this update out.
Plus, for the past 9 days or so, I have felt like shit, needing 24 hour care for the first time since that week or 2 post-op back in September. Good news is I made it through Round #9 of chemo.
I am going to 'Be Continued..." this entry as I want to get some infor out to everyone who has me in there thoughts. I know this is a bit of a doom and gloom post but I AM OK, just been a bit challenging lately.
Please continue your good, healing wishes to me, I need them. They are helping me to find new strength, hope and courage I wasn't sure I had.
All my love right back at all of you : my light-houses, my friends. Thank you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Catherine And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week....

It's blurry and furry. And druggy and muggy. Scary and hairy. Exhausting and teary.
(I think) it was Tuesday the 21st, could have been Wednesday, about 10 at night when I coughed deeply and a steady stream of blood burst out of my stoma, hitting the wall. The bleeding was severe : a garden hose on full blast while a finger is held over it.
Saturated two surgical gauze pads, 3 wash clothes folded into quarters and 2 folded dish towels in under 5 minutes. I told Dan he needed to call 911 as I was bleeding out. Fortunately, I'm not on blood thinners.
The ambulance arrives. I am still bleeding heavily, just keeping steady pressure over a wound the size of a pencil point. Serious. Small opening, big bleeding. Being carried down a flight of stairs on a stretcher and being flipped sideways to make the corner, is a very weird experience. We arrived at St. Peter's. Odd because I usually go the the ER on Fridays, never mid-week. The EMT's had taken over the bandage and pressure job, leaving me to cry freely in fear and pain. There was a lot of blood.
I received three blood transfusions by the time I was discharged on Saturday the 25th. Crazy.
Back to the hospital, the bleeding stopped, eventually. As will this post. To continue talking about ER visit #2, the admission and ER visit #3 today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Good news, I gained 6 pounds and have broken the 100 pound barrier.

Weighing in at a hefty 103.2 pounds. Blood work is still good, though I've gone anemic again. Steak and spinach for dinner me thinks.
Bad news, my chemo (Round #9) was postponed until my stoma heals. It was cut into by an ill-fitting bag and since the stoma has no nerve endings, I did not notice the damage right away. It has been injured for almost 3 weeks now and they have been a very miserable three weeks. Worse than the surgery, worse than the chemo, worse than sailing upwind in a Newport30.
The reason my stoma is not healing in a timely manner is a chemo drug called Avastin. Excellent for starving the tumors from their existing blood supply and preventing the tumors from forming new blood vessels but not so awesome for helping the body heal wounds.
Everything has been put on hold. It's getting to be a real problem. I am due for a CT scan but the contrast is a laxative and I just cannot deal with the output that will bring. No frickin' way. But prolonging the chemo is a bigger concern.
I saw my surgeon Friday the 17th and she cauterized the cut using silver nitrate. But it opened back up again the next day. There's lots and lots of blood. I'll saturate a folded gauze pad and a washcloth folded into quarters in a matter of minutes. I spend a fair amount of time applying pressure while watching bad tv.
On a side note, I especially like The Price Is Right, Rachael Ray, The Bachelor, Grey's Anatomy and Jeopardy.
The kicker is that there is not much the doctor can do. It just has to heal. That takes time. I'm running low on patience for this.
But, as my friends remind me, just keep moving forward, hold fast, don't let the bumps in the road take away my focus on the end goal.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hiberation. Constipation. No motivation.

While the mild winter we are having is delightful: temperature and heating bill wise, I am missing the snow that is usually here. It's a good excuse for staying house bound.
My apologies for so much time passing since my last update. Pure laziness, a minor OD of Fukitol, a bit of denial that this is really happening to me, feeling like I had hit bottom and was stuck.
It wasn't the bottom. I'm not at the end. I'm going up and forward and out.
I've made it through Round 7 and 8 of chemo. My blood counts continue to stay elevated and the Avastin is treating my kidneys well. My tumor markers are down from 2600 to 1300. That's a sign the chemo is working.
I have a CT scheduled for Thursday, February 9th. Scanxiety! Just have to wait and see. Boy, I can't wait to drink the orange flavored contrast. So delicious!
The only body issue I have is what is known as a 'skin flare up'. Google 'stoma skin flare up'. It's a drag. Perhaps when I am not shitting into a tissue in my hand, it won't be so mortifying for me to write about. Luckily (??) my constipation is making me produce hard little roundish bunny turds. Easy to contain. My reality is much much different from yours at this time, trust me. Nothing to do but wait for skin to heal so I can attach an ostomy bag.
House bound. Hibernating. Overall, I'm managing alright, the weed is good which makes the food good which makes the naps satisfying.