Saturday, August 2, 2008

She's Alive...ALIVE!!

Greetings from my home after just an oh so wonderful vacation in HELL. Sorry you couldn't join me but I believe it's a very popular spot and tickets and accommodations are hard to come by. Want to hear about my trip? Okay, check this out...

I was going along just so happy to get to my last chemo and go on to healing because it's been a looooong year since I started doing chemo and I am telling you I was so ready to move on because I was so sick and just getting sicker. Well, two weeks before the end Dr. Shaum tells me in her very calm voice that Houston, we are having a problem. Seems like a tumor marker was elevated way beyond what it should be. Let's say it was at a six last week, well, this week it was around thirty five. And that is no exaggeration! So she checked it again and it had gone up even a bit more so the decision was to stop the chemo before the end because it was not working on this one particular tumor. The same one that started this whole thing. Meanwhile, I was so sick from the chemo that I was taking pain pills all day long and got to such a painful place that all I could do was sleep. At one point I slept for five days in a row. Could not get up. I don't know how I did it but somehow, with a little help from those friends of mine I got to Dr. Shaum's office and she checked me into the hospital where I slept for another day until the pain meds kicked in and I finally started to feel like a human again. And everything seemed to be on track except I started thinking about this tumor that would not let go and for the first time during this whole ordeal I started to have a panic attack. In the hospital. And I can tell you how it started. A doctor whom I love and trust and looked at me in such a frightening way that I read her face as saying..."Oh, poor Trish, poor, poor Trish. This could be it. The end. It's over. She's a goner."

Now mind you, she never said this. She actually told me that the cat scan they did the day before looked pretty damn good because all the vital organs were clean and untouched and only that damn little tumor was the problem. But I read her face as nothing but grim and negative and I was a goner. My heart was pounding and my hands were shaking and next thing I knew they were putting ativan through an IV into my veins and in a minute I was relaxed. So Dr. Shaum had to immediately go off on her three week summer vacation and said we would decide what treatment to try when she returned, all suntan and RELAXED and happy and of course I hated her for a few seconds because how come I wasn't on a vacation with my family and getting tan and swimming and why did I have to have anxiety for three weeks and worry about my future and WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING TO ME and of course there is not answer to this question...It just IS. That's the way things go.

I forgot to mention that before the hospital stay the other thing I was doing aside from sleeping was throwing up. Six or seven times a day. It was endless. It was awful. It was exhausting. I was so unhappy. And dare I say, lonely. There are a lot of things you can do with friends but throwing up is not one of them. You throw up alone.

But I'm happy to say that that seems to be over now. I have stopped chemo and I am feeling so much better. No more throwing up. My energy seems to be coming back. So nah nah nah while Dr. Shaum is away in Hawaii or Mexico or anywhere I will be healing just here in my neighborhood and maybe it's not so glamourous but I won't be vomiting and I might even, dare I say it, swim.

Now here's the thing. I still have some panic. I'm a little scared. But I am not going to let this thing get me. It's 2008. They come up with new stuff everyday and I am willing to try any new experiment they might throw at me plus I'm going to do those vitamin drips and I'm going to do my acupuncture and I am going to zap this little sucker from all sides because I want to be here to watch my son grow old and older and I want to be here to move to my own house and I want to be here to have dinner with friends. Hey, Dennis made me a martini tonight!! A MARTINI. Small, yes. But it was vodka,, which I haven't had for a year and it went down nice and smooth and I relaxed and I laughed and damn is that not what we're supposed to do if we're lucky, which I feel that I am? We're supposed to have dinner and drinks with our friends. I repeat, if we're lucky. I am not unaware of how lucky I am, believe me. On my worst days I know I have more than most people in the world.

So that's where I've been. Not sure where I'm going but it's going to be another adventure and I'm ready to fight and I'm going to win dammit and I am not going to vacation in Hell again because it was not a good deal and the accommodations sucked.

And you know what else...My hair is going to grow back. Won't that be a trip.

You know how it is with vacations...You've got to lie down to recover from so much fun. That's what I'm going to do right now. Nice to see you. Hey, maybe we could take a cruise sometime. Think they take IV's on board? I promise I won't throw up. Good night.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Your Vacation in HELL is not exactly something one would choose, I know! But your Spirit is in tact; As is your Humor, my dear....
I'm glad you are off the Chemo and able to have a little Teeny Tiny Tini...! Hooray for Dennis and You!
I'm sorry you have been to HELL, and I hope there won't be another visit there any time ever again!


Linn Keer Okkelberg said...

Thank you for sharing your life. You have with your honesty, raw truth, and great humor not only given me a real understanding of you, but a better understanding how I can give to a very dear friend of my struggling with your same hell. As I read your blog, one moment I was crying the next moment I was smiling, but all the while I was remembering your sweet personality and long blonde hair (which I know will be growing back soon). I remember years ago watching TV, and there you were sitting in a classroom chair as a student on some TV sitcom. Me yelling to my family that’s Patti, I know her. WOW look at her, she has it all, she made it! When you are finally finished with your last treatment, I look forward to yelling again, look that’s Patti, she has it all, and she made it! I’m so glad you have had a great life, and I can’t wait for you to tell all your old classmates of “65” more about it at our next reunion. Stay strong, and be well. Good Thoughts, Prayers, and Love. Linn

gary said...

"My Very First Girlfriend Went to HELL...And all I got was this lousy blog!"

I for one was not surprised to hear from you...As I said before, "I always thought I'd see you again."
While I just got back from Paris...You decided to take a 'stay-cation'. (You've always been so politically correct.) I'm glad you decided to 'stay'...And what is it, with all of these comments from Lake View all of a sudden? Did I miss the latest issue of the Lake Re-View. (That was a clever name then as well as now.) To all of you 'wildcats'...hope all is well.

Trish, as always, I'm holding a good thought.


Ellen said...

Yeah, Melanie always seems to go away on her own vacation when you need her most. I know I don't need to tell you, but in case you're as stubborn as my husband, DON'T hesitate to call the other Dr. on call at any hour. You do know that, right?

I'm at if you'd like to talk. I know a lot about what you're going through. I wish I didn't. Have you tried Megase for your appetite? And...what Melanie told us after the fact....a little Ativan works with painkillers when the pain tries to "break through" anyway. You probably don't want to read these things on this fabulous blog (and others probably don't either). Write me if you want. Aside from having gone through this, I'm a pretty good listener (You became a writer....I became a psychotherapist.)
Ellen Butterfield

Nancy L said...

I was so happy to see your latest entry. I have been consumed with thoughts of you these past few days. Your pain was so raw and then you would say something silly
and I would be laughing through my tears. Just know that I love you with all my heart and am always there for you. For now, F--- the chemo and enjoy your life and your wonderful son.

Nancy (Lipshutz)

julie said...

You have gone through so much and come out joking. You are so inspiring. You certainly help me to keep my life in perspective. I'm so glad that you are starting to feel better. I think of you so often.
Love, Julie Shifrin Howard

Anonymous said...

Hi Trish: I have been stopping by almost every day to see if you have updated and I was overjoyed to find that you wrote today.

I know it is not a nice place to be (waiting on tenderhooks for a doc to decide your next course!), but you have a true resource in Ativan. Use it. OFten. It works. It has definitely helped me with anxiety and panic attacks over the years.

I am glad the throwing up has ceased and that your humor is still intact. As for food, first the (liquids!)martini, followed by foods as tolerated.

I am so glad to read you are doing better and have come out of the dark whole called Hell. Please continue to blog a line or two to let us know you are ok.

Take care,

Candice said...

Dear Trish, I was so relieved too, as many here to see your latest update!!

Humor is A Powerful Coping Aid!

George Bernard Shaw wrote, "Life does not cease to be funny when someone dies, as it does
not cease to be serious when people laugh." I would modify this by saying, "Life does not cease to be funny when someone has cancer, as it does not cease to be serious when people laugh." Dr. Bernie Siegel, a cancer surgeon wrote, "Show me a patient who is able to laugh and play, who enjoys living and I'll show you someone who is going to live longer. Laughter makes the unbearable bearable,and a patient with a well developed sense of humor has a better chance of recovery than a stolid individual who seldom laughs." Patti,you have shown this by your writings on your blog.

Good thoughts are with you by so many, may your journey continue for many years to come.

Much love,
Candice Schuster(Candi Yeargin)