My Medical Maelstrom


End of the year snow fall Indianapolis, Indiana.

As snow fell outside, I said good-bye to a year that had been filled with questions about my life. Where I was, where I was going and would I see the new year.  But, there I was, still standing. And as others cheered and rang in the new year, I was left to wonder about the days to come. Only I knew of my medical maelstrom. Had I waited to long?

It all started in October of 2011. The weather was great, I played with my dog, cooked my husband an authentic Italian dinner and then headed to the Emergency Room. I spent the next several months trying to recoup from a hernia surgery that was marred by complications related to the chemo treatment I had been receiving over the past year.

The first three months of 2012 were tainted with residual effects of the previous years medical issues.  I had been offered a chemo treatment I could not afford, my cost $9,797 per treatment every three weeks just for one drug. The alternative was an aggressive chemo that would require my hospitalization, had severe side effects and could possibly cause a secondary cancer. By the end of April I was mentally exhausted and physically tired. I just wanted to run away. And I did.

I walked away from treatment. I wanted a summer of no poking, prodding and hospital trips. I knew it would be risky, but I just wanted to be able to enjoy time with my family and friends. Something I had not had an opportunity to do in the previous year-and-a-half. By the end of summer, I knew I was pushing my luck. But, summer turned into fall and the fall to winter. I just wanted to enjoy Christmas since I was not able to the previous year.  But I promised those I loved and loved me I would go back. So, I made an appointment.

I knew I was in trouble before I walked through the doors of the hospital, as my body was moved in and out of the CT Scanner  and I met with my doctor for the first time in a year. I could feel the tumors. I could see the changes in by body and my intestinal system was at odds with me. And by the end of the day, my assumptions were confirmed and I agreed to seek treatment. My choice, BEP. Short for Bleomycin, Etoposide, and Cisplatin. The aggressive treatment that requires hospitalization. I start January 28th.

I don’t know what to expect. I googled the treatment and found mixed reviews. Some said it wasn’t so bad. Others gave a laundry list of their side effects and talked about how their bodies went into shock. All of them were men with Testicular cancer. No, that is not what I have, I’m a girl. I have ovaries, or should say I used too. I have a rare form of Ovarian cancer known as Granulosa Cell Tumor. Anyway, GCT is stromal tumor and so is Testicular cancer. BEP is an aggressive treatment for sex-chord (stromal tumors) that have not responded to other treatments. While loosing my hair and possible finger nails and hearing, nausea, skin discoloration and rashes, etc are not appealing, as, long as I can stave off pulmonary problems, secondary cancers, cardiac issues and any other permanent damage from side effects, I think I’ll be ok.

I have not decided if I am going to blog during treatment yet. I guess it all depends on if I feel up to it. In a way I do feel obligated. When I was first diagnosed with this cancer in 1998, the information on the internet was few and far between. Most was related to Equine. Yes, that is right, I said horses. A little more information is available online now, since more is known about this rare type of Ovarian Cancer. However, most have not had the same experiences I have. Most developed it after menopause. Most have not had it grow back so quickly. There were things missed by doctors when I was a youth that may have indicated something was wrong. So, if I can put something out there that may help someone someday, I feel like I should. However, my hope is that one day, there will never be a need. Because frankly, cancer sucks.