First off, THANK YOU to everyone for the huge amount of love and support over the last couple of days. This lil blog has reached over 2600 page views in just 2 short days, and I can’t thank everyone enough for sharing the #TEALPOWER. It means so much to me through this process.
One of the hardest things you have to go through after you find out you have cancer is figuring out the best treatment option for your case. Every case is different. Every person’s cancer is different. We initially thought treatment would be pretty simple. If my tumour was less than 2 cm, as they suspected it was, I would be able to undergo a surgery called a trachelectomy, where they would remove my cervix and the tumour and hopefully all would be done. I would have to have an MRI done to confirm the exact size and placement of the tumour.
A week later the results from my MRI came in. The tumour measured 2.7 cm and was sitting on the stromal tissue beside my cervix. This made surgery not an option. It crushed me. It was like I got told I had cancer all over again. My doctor presented me with new treatment options – the standard of care in Ontario, aggressive external and internal radiation with a dose of chemo each week – or this new experimental neoadjuvant chemotherapy that would likely shrink the tumour and then I may be able to get the surgery done. My case was brought to the tumour board and they debated what would be the best option… kinda cool. It apparently was the hot topic of the day. I had to decide what was the best option for me. My priority after finding out exactly how big it was, was to just get it the heck out of me. What was the fastest way to do that? I chose radiation.
I got referred to Princess Margaret Hospital, since Credit Valley doesn’t do the internal radiation. Made more sense too because I live downtown. I met with more radiation oncologists and a chemo oncologist. Everyone helped confirm that the decision I made was the right one. I had a CT Scan and a PET Scan to confirm that the cancer hadn’t spread and that it was localized. This helped confirm my treatment plan. I would undergo 5 weeks of outpatient radiation 5 times a week, with one dose of chemotherapy to help accelerate the effects of the radiation. And then on week 6 I will stay in the hospital for 60 hours of internal radiation.
The radiation is super fast. The treatments are targeted to my pelvic area. I go in for my daily appointments and am usually out within 20 mins or so. My long days are usually at the beginning of the week when I have chemotherapy and radiation in one day. Chemotherapy scared me a lot. The thought of drugs going through your system – what happens to the healthy cells, am I going to lose my hair? Luckily the drug I am getting, Cisplatin – is in such a low dose that I won’t lose my hair. There are a lot of side effects you have to balance, between the drugs you take for chemotherapy and the side effects from radiation. I’m just about to complete my third week of treatment and my doctors are happy with how I have been responding to the treatment. You really have to listen to your body everyday when you go through this. You fight fatigue, nausea, digestion issues, gas produced from radiation. It’s a real treat, but in the end – if this is what I have to go through to save my life, I say bring it!