When Life Hands You Lemons…

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You’re supposed to make lemonade, right?!  That’s how the saying goes so…what if you don’t know how to?  What if you’re unsure of what recipe to make?  What if you’re just too goddamn tired?!  Tired?…Yes!  That’s exactly what I became after begging for help on some newly surfaced side effects.  I felt alone, I felt scared that “it” was back, I felt tired.

I went back up to Mayo at the end of June because I was sitting and spinning my wheels otherwise.  I’m beyond relieved to know how much they care about their patients getting better!

What prompted me to light the fire under my tush?  The months of May and June I started experiencing a heaviness in my right leg.  I noticed it was swelling and I didn’t understand why.  Then I remembered other ladies I know going through lymphedema.  I knew it had to be that or a blood clot but I figured I would be in a lot more pain with a clot.

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The Mayo Clinic performed an ultrasound (pictured above) on both legs and ruled out the blood clot.  The next visit would be a consultation with a physical therapist.  Throughout those two months, I documented my swelling and was able to show the physical therapist.  She confirmed it was lymphedema and the newest accessory to my wardrobe would be a compression garment.  Here’s what it looks like and how I put it on every morning:

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One side effect I have dealt with nearly my whole life is my stomach.  If you know me, you know I don’t shy away from talking about it.  I love to talk shop about poo.  One might say I have a sick sense of humor.  Sure!  I wouldn’t be me with out it!

When I was a senior in high school I had enough and was referred to a specialist.  From there I was gifted a colonoscopy resulting in a microscopic colitis diagnosis (during prom week mind you).  I’ve gone through years of discomfort and trying to wean out certain foods.  I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2015 and again in 2016.  I experienced external and internal radiation during the first diagnosis.  This treatment pushed my stomach over the edge and I’ve had one hell of a time trying to regain the semi-confidence I once had.

The verdict after meeting with a new specialist was my original diagnosis is highly unlikely and I must get a new colonoscopy done.  I will also undergo an esophageal scope to make sure I don’t have acid reflux.

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Another side effect I have been pushing away for nearly two years is the fact that I am considered menopausal.  Chemotherapy and radiation pushed me into menopause when I was 24 years old.  I no longer have my fertility and I no longer have a monthly cycle.

I was never fully educated on what that could do to my body and when I met with the Women’s Center at the Mayo Clinic, I had a  rude awakening.  I was told I needed to be on estrogen (the patch pictured below) and progesterone in order to keep my body healthy.

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I felt stumped knowing that all I have been told since I stopped treatment was to use a dilator (pictured below: Soul Source) to keep my vaginal canal from closing.  My tissue down there has been radiated to all get out so estrogen cream and a moisturizer was in order too.  Once the tissue is healthy I get to see a pelvic floor therapist to help me regain my muscle strength not only in my pelvic floor but to help with my rectal muscles that have been effected by radiation too.

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Upon finding out about my menopausal status, I had a bone density scan that resulted in an osteoporosis diagnosis.  I am only 27 years old!  How can I have osteoporosis?!  I guess I’ll find out when I see the Endocrinologist!

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And lastly,  I was sooooo tired of getting my port flushed every 6 weeks after I was told I could have it out a year ago.  It was one of the first items I wanted to check off of my post treatment list!  I became fond of Priscilla during treatment as she saved my arms and veins from being blown out but it was just time for her to go.  Here’s a picture from my second round of cancer:

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I had her removed on 7/12/18 and got to say #GoodbyePriscilla.  That surgery experience confirmed I was in the right place.  The team was so compassionate and good-hearted.  They loved the fact we had a name to call the port.

I am now 1 week post-op and I’m healing up nicely!  I have a nice green hue to my bruise and a pretty wicked looking scar that will get better with time.  I think those are ALL of the updates, at least until I go to the August appointments!

 

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