When I look back at my life 6 years ago, I was undergoing chemotherapy and praying like you would not believe that I would survive this horrible death sentence of stage 4 breast cancer. While I think, because of the treatment I received at CTCA, I did not have as many problems as most people would have undergoing chemo, I still remember at one point thinking I was not going to make it because I was so weak and ill.
Then and now I tried my best to have a good outlook on things – not just including having breast cancer – but in everything in our lives. My wacky sense of humor saw me and my family through a lot! Some days it felt like I was completely exhausted at the end of the day, just by trying to maintain a good attitude. But, by golly gee whiz, I was and am determined to keep my “not going to give up” attitude for as long as I possibly can!
Because of the cancer eating into my L4 lower back bone, I have been in chronic pain for years – even before my diagnosis in 2007. For those of you that have chronic pain, you know how it can bring you down emotionally, spiritually as well as physically. The morphine takes the pain down to a bearable level, but it is never gone.
Or… maybe I should say it WAS never gone!!
In December 2012, I started having spasms in my buttocks and told my local Oncologist about it. They did a scan and found the tumor in my L4 had decided it wanted to grow and be active… so I underwent Tomotherapy which successfully brought the tumor growth back under control.
Shortly after that, I started having spasms, down my buttocks all the way down to the ankles of each leg. When I say “spasms” I don’t mean little jerks here and there. I mean massive spasms! I took a video of some of them and you could see my calf just indenting and jumping and doing all kinds of weird stuff!! They eventually got worse and worse… at times I could not walk because one or both of my legs would “lock up” as I was walking. Very scary stuff! I had to start walking with a cane, which did not make me very happy, but the doctor insisted. So… being the bull headed person I am, I would just put the can on the crook of my elbow as I walked, so it would be there if I needed it.
On October 8th, I got steroid injections in both sides of my spine and since that day have only had muscle pain in my back! WOW!!! Talk about something to be THANKFUL for!! In less than three weeks I had weaned myself completely off of the morphine and am now living “narcotic free” as well as pain free!
October 29th 2013, I met with Dr. Neelam at the Zion, IL Cancer Treatment Centers of America to go over the PET scan from the 28th and my blood workup. My husband and I were thrilled to here her say how happy she is with my progress and that my scans all came out normal!
So, I am thankful for God giving me the opportunity to still be around for my family, to see my first grandchild and another coming in April, to be able to walk in a store and shop without having to find places to sit down every 10 minutes or so, for being out of chronic pain, for my doctors, for my friends and for my family. I am sure once I post this I will think of another 100 things I am thankful for as well!!