Steps on My Cancer Journey


Sometimes the steps I take leaving the hospital make me feel like I’m flying if I received good news, but other times, I’m walking quickly to my car before I begin to cry.

On Monday, I walked out of the new cancer wing at my hospital. I was there to get my normal bloodwork before another round of Avastin (bevacizumab) on Wednesday. I focused on the new tile and my steps out to the car.

The steps of cancer are huge. From diagnosis to treatment is a very monumental journey. The steps I took today somehow had a different feeling as I walked out to my car to come home.

I have been fighting ovarian cancer for 10 years. There have been thousands of steps in and out of the hospital. Some steps were leaving after surgery. Other steps were almost like flying as I had received good news. Yet others were scary moments that I pushed the steps just to get to my car before I started to cry.

Today seemed different. I think it is because while I am fighting ovarian cancer each day, I also must fight two other major battles: one in my head and the other in my body. There is a constant battle in my head about my disease. It focuses on the mental parts which are hard to process. The other battle is my body going through treatment side effects. Let us not forget that the body also has age-related issues,

When you get disheartening news, your CA-125 went up, or your bloodwork showed some inconsistencies, it is very scary. For me, my head goes to bad places. Honestly, I go home on those days and think about things I cannot mention. Just to put those thoughts in words is the unhealthiest thing I can do. It is enough to think them, let alone see them in print. It gives them power. I know I am not to go there, but I do. I know that I need to be more positive, but it is hard.

I fell off my bike at the beach last September and probably injured my shoulder in the fall. I scraped my knee and my wrist hurt as well. But I had no broken bones and I got up and rode back to our condo. For the last several months, I have been experiencing shoulder pain and have just been diagnosed with frozen shoulder. Interestingly, it was the shoulder that had radiation. Next week I will have it manipulated to break up the scar tissue. I have been in a tremendous amount of pain with this injury and inflammation. My scans are good, but my CA-125 has been creeping up and I am hoping that the pain from this injury has caused my score to raise.

I have been an advocate for myself for almost all the steps in my journey. I have been blessed with excellent physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, lab techs and pharmacy techs at great hospitals. Many have become friends and support beyond the office and labs.

But the steps we take and walk out of the office or lab are done by me, often alone. That is when my brain goes into overdrive. I think about what my future is.

Another CURE writer shared that when you get any results or information about your illness, you need to process it. I agree. Even when I get good news, I am thrilled and want to shout it to the world, but I still wonder if it is short lived. When I get difficult news, I go to the bad place and then pull myself out. I do that with the help of my husband, family, and friends. Processing is letting it sink in, celebrating the good, and not letting the bad take over.

Even with my sore shoulder, I was able to ski a couple of weeks ago and have two more trips scheduled to ski with my husband this winter. Going down Musical Chairs at Schweitzer Mountain nine runs was not much, but it proved to me to try to live my life to the best that I can. I am taking the steps to move forward with my illness and not let it stop me from life. The steps may have been on long boards attached to my boots, but they were steps in the right direction.

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