Teal Power Canuck

Sharing My Journey & Raising Cervical Awareness in Canada

Treatment Options

82 Comments

At my first chemotherapy treatment on Dec 16, 2013 at Princess Margaret Hospital

At my first chemotherapy treatment on Dec 16, 2013 at Princess Margaret Hospital

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!

 

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82 thoughts on “Treatment Options

  1. Beautiful smile and such a positive outlook even in the middle of the battlefield.
    You are and have always been an inspiration Alison!
    Keep fighting and keep writing.
    Lots of love
    Xoxo

  2. You’re so positive that its nothing short of being amazingly inspirational.
    Keep on smiling and lots of love your way!

  3. Alison,
    I am flabbergasted and amazed and awe-struck and … Well, I’m blown away by your openness and badassness. EVERYONE wonders what the journey post-diagnosis must be like. No one wants to know but we all wonder. How would i react? what steps would be taken? what is treatment actually like?
    I feel like I’ve already learned so much, and you’ve only posted twice. This is so huge, so important, and this momentous time for you will ripple outwards like a big teal raindrop that affects people all around you in all sorts of ways.
    Glad the hair is safe (kidding – or am I – guess not) and more importantly that your body is paying back all your love by responding the way your team hoped it would.
    Oh and you’re not just a “relatively healthy” woman! You’re a bonafide nut. 🙂

    • aww love you, Carrots! Thanks so much. It’s exactly why I wanted to talk about what I’m going through. Not everyone goes through this, but its so important to share. sending you mad love and thanks for reading and following!

  4. Thanks for sharing your story Ali. It’s brave to put it all out there!
    My dad had an amazing team at Princess Margaret – and it sounds like you do to.
    Thinking about you lots and sending positive energy!

  5. Your positive attitude has got to be one of your best defences in this fight.
    We are cheering for you.

  6. Stupid cancer didn’t know who he was messing with! Get it done Ali! The Molanos are always in your corner!! Love you!!! Xoxoxo

  7. Alison
    The photo of you grinning while hooked up to machines & getting treatment took my breath away. I’ve been such a scaredy cat facing a little patch of skin cancer and you’ve inspired me to be positive, and have a take charge attitude with respect to treatment. I can only imagine what you are going through but knowing your personality imagine you have a huge support network. Wishing you a speedy recovery so you can get back out there & rock the PR world! Xo

  8. The thing about that PET scan was is that is was so necessary to have to rule out spread of disease yet it was something Ali had to advocate for. Our provincial government doesn’t deem it part of the “standard treatment of care” and won’t pay for it unless you’re stage 4. Since it’s not standard of care, most patients don’t know to ask for a full body scan. Fortunately, Ali’s doctor believed it important enough to use the ACCESS program to apply for a scan on Ali’s behalf and the PET scan was done at a private clinic and funded by Cancer Care Ontario.

  9. Ali your blog and recent photo pic bring back such memories. I know what you are going through, and at times when I know that it is not easy to smile at times know that you are inspiring many others with this journey. Love you lots

  10. Alison – kick its ass!

  11. This is the first I have heard of all you are going through and I am struck by what really isn’t a surprise when I think of the Notre Dame girls I knew. You were a girl of grace, love, strength, kindness and courage and you put your whole heart and mind into all you did. Your blog shows that all those qualities have intensified and deepened over time. Channeling all that, supported with love and prayers from everywhere, must surely give you victory. Sending love and prayers from a teacher who is now just a woman who cares and is cheering you on. Elizabeth (Kelly)

  12. Omg! Allison you are so brave, and have made me so proud to just know you.
    Keep strong and you will be in my thoughts.

  13. Honey i’m so sorry you have to go through all this. I know you’re a strong girl and you will get through this. Im sending you hugs and positive energy so that you can get through it faster. My Grandmother battled it 3 times and lived to be 90 so hang in there and bang on as i know you will come out of this with yet another amazing story as a testament to your strength!
    xo
    vince 😀

    • Vince, your grandmother sounds like she was pretty badass! I hope I can beat this with as much grace and courage as it sounds like she did. Thank you for the kind words and support!

  14. Princess Margaret is a great hospital. Keep that possitive attitude and braveness and it will be all over before you know it. Just hang in there and we’ll keep praying for your quick and speedy recovery so that you can be on your merry way to the new YOU…

  15. Hang in there, Alison. You’re gonna kick this disease’s butt.

  16. Get well soon and all the best! Thinking of you!
    Patrick

  17. Sending virtual hugs your way through your recovery!

  18. Alison, your news came by way of pal Romeo. I send smiles and love. x

  19. Oh my god Alison, when Craig posted your blog on Facebook I couldn’t believe it was you. I’m so sorry to hear. You’re in really good hands though, my father in law got diagnosed with cancer just after my kid was born and he got amazing treatment in Toronto. It really felt like he had this world class team of people working to fight the cancer on his behalf and it sounds like you do too. He had to do a year of chemo, didn’t lose his hair and has completely bounced back. As will you, hang in there,

    Thinking of you,

    Pamela

  20. Hey Alison! I just saw the news on Facebook. I’ll be thinking about you lots and I’m so proud of you for facing this head on in a positive way. Be well Alison. xoxo Darryl

  21. Alison, omg, I had no idea about this but you are one of the strongest women I know and you will beat this! Sending you all the positive ness in the world as you endure the treatments and the road to recovery.

  22. Alison….I am so proud of you for facing this nastiness! I know you have a huge support system in place, especially that that sister of yours! Can’t wait to hear the positive outcome out of this journey!

    • Thanks so much, Nikki! And thank you for being there for my sis through this. She is a beast of a lady that sister of mine. I couldn’t get through this without her… Or her kinesiology degree 😉

  23. Kick this in the butt, Ali! I used to work in health care and most cases were women’s cancer… The people who fight it and win are the ones with positive attitudes, just like you! 🙂

  24. FIERCENESS IS WITH YOU ALWAYS! xox

  25. Ali, you truly are an inspiration. Praying and rooting for you and, babe!!

  26. You go girl!!! YOU ARE GOING TO KICK THIS IN IT’S UGLY CANCER BUTT!!!!!

  27. Alison, keep positive and you will beat this. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  28. My heart sank a little when I read this. But then I remembered what kind of woman you are. I have no doubt that you will conquer this will grace, poise and a smile so warm it could make sidewalks safe after an ice storm.

  29. Get at it!!! Kick cancers butt Alison. Lots of love and support being sent your way. – Wes xoxo

  30. Stay strong Alison… we are rooting for you!

  31. Thank you for sharing this Alison. Your positive attitude, your strength and smile is inspiring. I can’t imagine what you are going through but I want you to know that I am thinking about you. Please continue to share your experiences. Keep fighting and keep smiling! You got this!

  32. Alison, I’m so crushed to hear your news but so uplifted by your courage and honesty. Please know that we are all thinking of you and your fight, looking forward to hearing how you beat it, like we know you will.

  33. You are an incredible person, I know this only from reading about your experience and your positive outlook. It’s that positive energy that will ensure you win. You are an inspiration to people who fear being in this position and I see nothing but great things in your future. I may be a complete stranger, but I offer my support; and anything else I may do to help keep the positive energy. If there is something I can do to make you smile, ask and I will do my best to ensure you receive.

  34. ST. STEPHANS IS WITH YOU

  35. Wow Alison! That’s a lot to deal with! Continue to be strong and you’re right if that’s what it takes, so be it! You go girl!

  36. You are truly a force to be reckoned with, such an inspiration and that smile speaks for itself. You will beat this and you will continue to be an inspiration for every woman. Solider on my darling, god bless you and keep smiling xxxxxx

  37. Hey Alision you stay strong and positive girl. Thanks for sharing I’m sending POSITIVE VIBES YOUR WAY

  38. Alison, you are such an inspiration. Stay strong, I know you’ll get through this.
    Nancie McAuley

  39. Allison!

    I’m sending you lots of positive light and energy. Keep your spirits high. I still remember your incredible spirit from Notre Dame! You made me love dance! You are a fighter and you will get through this. Keep at it!

    -Michael

  40. Allison,

    I came across your blog via a friend on facebook. Keep fighting and keep the positive spirits! If you ever feel down or need any assistance feel free to contact the folks at Wellspring Cancer Support Foundation. A great organization that helps everyone fight this thing! The support programs they provide are amazing and all free of charge!

    Stay strong!

    Ryan

  41. Hey sweetie, recently learned about what you are going through from Iain. Sending you love, warmth and healing vibes. Thinking of you and you’re in my daily prayers. I have so many friends who have been victorious and so shall you! Hugs xo Michelle

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