Leanna's Slice Of Life Full Crack NEW!
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Everyone is invited and I hope everyone will be here. It usually is a full house. Full of love, laughter, great food, and always some super special Easter treats. Easter crack is sure to be the hit of the day.
I was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer in 1983 shortly after my college graduation. Like many others, I was not aware someone as young as me could get ovarian cancer. I went to the Gynecologist for the first time in my life because I was having discomfort in my abdominal area, especially when my bladder was full, and I figured at my age it was time to get checked out in case I would find Mr. Right and decide to start a family someday.The doctor felt some masses in my pelvic region and sent me for a sonogram. At the time he did not tell me he felt anything. I found out I had a problem from the technicians and then confirmed it with the doctor. I was scheduled for surgery a month later.
Well, for me my life began at 52, when I met my wonderful husband and moved to England. Life in London was very different from life in NYC, but I adpated. Fast forward 4 years and 40 lbs and I began to feel unwell. I went to my GP and gave my symptoms, frequent unrination, night sweats, a cough that wouldn't go away and my abdomen seemed to be swelling. Without even poking or prodding me, she proclaimed I probably had a bladder infection and if I lost weight, my frequent peeing would more than likely stop. I went back and forth to this doctor for three months and didn't get any better. Now my back started to hurt and that was also attributed to my weight gain. I was worried and I told her I think I have cancer. She smirked and replied, "Where, in your eyelashes?" So I took yet more anitbiotics, went for a chest x-ray (which showed clear) and became more and more tired. My entire abdominal region was so swollen that I looked pregant with twins. I made yet another appointment but to my great luck my original GP wasn't in that day. I saw one of her colleagues. This woman doctor carefully read my notes and noticed my family history of cancer. She listened to my chest and thumped on my abdomen; she gave me a form for a sonogram and some bloodwork. Now most people complain about how slow the NHS is . I had no problem. I waited two days for a sonogram and my bloodwork was done the next day. The results came back. The sonogram showed "something" in my pelvic area. I knew then and there it was cancer. I got an appointment with the local oncology clinic within a week. My onocolgist, a brilliant woman, was kind and compassionate. She explained that my mass was over 16 centimeters wide and she was 99% sure it was malignant. She introduced me to my surgeon, my brilliant Mr. J. He explained that my tumor markers were above 1900 with the normal range between 0-30. He recommended 4-6 rounds of chemo, then if able, debulking surgery. I trusted my team from the start. I was admitted to the hospital and drained of more than 12 liters of fluid) Two weeks later, I had my first round of chemo (carboplatin and taxol), got a bad reaction which kept me in the hospital for two weeks. First time out the gate the tumor markers dropped to 800. Everyone was amazed. I'll tell you this, all the time I battled to defeat my cancer, I was never afraid. I prayed to God and the Lady of Lourdes for my recovery. My surgery went textbook perfect. All visible signs of cancer were taken out. My tumor markers dropped to 17, they are now at 4. I still tire easily and can catch a cold at the drop of a hat but in time this will pass. My oncologist said it is my sense of humor that saves me. I tell that I trust my health team and have faith in my God.
So back to the waiting room we went to tell our family members who were anxiously awaiting our news. Their reaction was much the same as ours; we were all devastated. As we sat there wondering why this had happened and what we were going to tell her thousands of things ran through our minds. We had come to the conclusion that we would avoid telling her the full details in hopes that if we only highlighted the positive she would keep in high spirits and fight this battle harder. Little did we know that she already knew and had chosen to deal with it on her own in hopes of not worrying us. I know that my mother had hidden the details from me cause I was pregnant and already having a hard time with premature labor and the babies' heart rate. I was due to deliver on March 3, but the plan had to be changed cause he was tachycardiac, I would be delivering February 22. I was so worried that she would not be there for this birth. As selfish and childish that I know that is, she had been there for every major event in my life and I would so miss her not being by my side to welcome this blessing. I knew her health was more important and her just being there to see him grow up was more important though so I pushed all that to the side and focused all my attention on her.
She was a very musical person and full of life. My dad and she would sing and play guitar and piano together a lot. By July of 2006 she had gotten worse and was getting quite weak. She died on September 7, 2006. It was so hard being able to talk to her on Monday and by Thursday she was gone. I'm so glad we moved back to California when we did so we could have that precious time with her. I really miss her but I know she had a hope.
My mom, Barbara, was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer stage 4 on February 22nd, 2005 and told she had maybe a couple months left. What can we do? Nothing really but I still want you to see an Oncologist. Off we went to the local cancer center....had more tests done and told maybe with some success that she might have a year or two. She started with chemo cheerfully. I was so surprised...I thought she would give up...fade away. But she told me that all her life she worried about getting cancer and now she had it so there was nothing more to worry about. She told me that as a child she visited a relative who was dying of some terrible disease-cancer. What she saw was a middle aged woman screaming from pain. She buried her grandmothers, father and husband and best friend who all had one form of cancer. Now she knew how she would die and would deal with this one day at a time. No more fear. She was going to enjoy what was left of life. She continued with chemo, her CA numbers dropped and then started going back up in September. They took her off chemo in November and got her ready for debulking surgery. On December 13th of 2005 she had the surgery. She was home in two days and back on her feet feeling the best she had in years in January. She said, "If I didn't know better I would say I did not have cancer--I feel really good." In the past year, we lost a friend to ovarian cancer. We decided to plan a big family cruise in July. She slept alot on the cruise and had a reduced appetite; but would get up sit on the balcony and read each day, enjoyed the food, being waited on hand and foot and the company (good friends and her kids and grandchildren)-she had a great time...Over the next few months...we saw her little by little start to look more tired. The chemo was not working....they would do a few rounds, and the CA 125 Marker would go down then back up....she gave her notice for her part time job as our church choir director and went through the summer. She had an infection and had to be hospitalized in November for a week. In December, another friend, much younger died of cancer. In February of 2007 we did another cruise-she did okay but slept 75% of the time. But it was okay....now her legs are swelling, they are feeling things inside her abdomen, she had been short of breath and more tired. They did a pet scan last week and there is a big tumor which is impacting her colon and several in her chest where they do not expect to see re-occurrence of ovarian cancer. So in two days she is going for another biopsy. Is it ovarian cancer or is a re-occurrence of another cancer she had back in 2000-Melanoma stage I? We are praying that the doctors and treatment will give her more time-more quality time. Her attitude is so positive and happy. She is not letting this cancer define her....It is something she lives with and some days she hates it, but she is finding something wonderful every single day. I tell her that she is giving me a gift by being so upbeat, positive and by setting an example of hope and acceptance. She is embarassed by that. But she is my hero. And I LOVE her. Now we need everyone's prayers. My mom's life is in God's hands. Please keep her in your prayers.
I think she really stopped eating in July. She ate a good plate full of food on July 1st at a picnic. She felt good that day, laughed and enjoyed the day. She seemed herself that day and continued to feel okay for a couple weeks. She even cooked for my brother's picnic on July 21st. But shortly after that she stopped eating and got very weak. Oh, she nibbled here and there and I would slice ham into small quarter size bits and wrap them individually. She would eat one or two and a handful of grape tomatoes. That was a daily amount of food she would eat. She also kept up on drinking energy drinks to help her stay alert.
She said goodbye to everyone and visitors left feeling uplifted and hopeful about everything when they visited her. She joked about and was incredibly candid about her impending death and openly shared her feelings with us all. I asked her if she was mad about leaving us while she was still so healthy and vital and she said, "No, this is what is meant to be...it is my journey to take." She was so full of life even right before her death.
That being said, I resolve to live my life to the absolute fullest, love everyone a little bit more, be kinder, appreciate nature, strive to be as stress-free as possible, appreciate and take care of my body after all it has had to endure- through nutrition and exercise, and thank God daily for all my blessings.
My beautiful angel was born by C-section at full term. She is now 5 years old, healthy, happy and so very special to me. My dear daughter and I have a bond that I could never explain to anyone. I risked her life to save mine and I must always remember how much I prayed for her. I believe in my heart she was and still is my guardian angel. If I wasn't pregnant with her, I would never have known about having cancer and maybe it would have been too late. My daughter is a gift from God and each day I thank Him for my beautiful child and for my treasured life. 2b1af7f3a8