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Same Story, Different charactor

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My name is Dawn and I live in North Texas. I am a widowed, Navy vet and have 4 kids, 3 dogs and a cat who thinks he has servants.

My introduction into the soap opera I seem to be living actually started with the sudden unexpected death of my husband in 2002. It makes the story much longer so we will leave the first part for another time. My first steps in this new direction of the story started in March of last year.

I went to the ER for a killer migraine. They did a Ct and found...just brains and a killer headache. Three weeks later, I was back with what I though was a pulled back muscle from laying on the that hard, cold, metal table of the CT scanner and moving off of it wrong. I could barely walk. Well another CT and and x-ray. They thought diverticulitis but also saw a mass on the lung and one small "nodule" on the right adrenal gland. Anitibiotics for the diverticllitis and strong words to "get thee" to the VA (Veterans Affairs) for the lung mass.

I had to fight with the VA to get an appointment within less than 2 months, but they finally saw things my way and two weeks later, I was in. More x-rays and another CT. My PC (primary care) DR. gave more antibiotics for the "diverticulitis" and requested a PFT. After that, I didn't have to fight for anything and things started moving pretty fast, which was a good thing, as I was getting progressively worse and unable to walk on my own. He also requested a bronchoscopy which was for the same week. The PFT came back fine, although I was having shortness of breath and had had for a while (as noted to a different PC the prior November along with intermittent pain in my right back, you see where this is going, don't you?) During the bronchoscopy, they were able to get a biopsy and I was informed the next week that I had SCLC, probably ext., I was then seen by the Oncologist the same week. By that time, I was in so much pain, that I could not walk, stand, sit or lie on my right side. I had to talk to the Onc. laying on a couch in the waiting room as it was the only flat surface available. We were to start chemo the next week. The Onc. then sent me back to my PC for more antibiotics for the "diverticulitis" and scheduled a PET scan as well. The PC refused the antibiotics and said to let the Onc. decide. He never once said CANCER or mentioned that he thought the problem was related; but it gets better (said with sarcasim). After two rounds of chemo and the PET, I had to go back to the PC for swelling in my teeth due to an infection (I have extremely bad teeth, that I am unable to have repaired and which the VA will pull but not replace..sorry gotta be able to eat and to do that I need teeth, so I gotta keep what I got). He refused and accused me of "abusing" antibiotics. Since you can't abuse those unless you don't take them all (which I do, cause I know better) and the fact that he has still never once mentioned to word cancer, I demanded another PC. (at this time my PC is the head attending in the department). The third round of chemo is when I found out the "diverticulitis" was actually cancer in the lymph nodes in the left groin and that the "small nodule" on my right adrenal gland were metastasis from the lung. It is also when I found out that it was in my left femur, left hip (at the back of the socket joint), left 7 rib, left cervical , a small spot on my spine near my tail bone,and right jaw lymph node under the jaw line. It was during the exam with the Onc, that I found the lymph node in the right axillary (armpit) area. because it was so swollen and I was having extreme difficulty in lifting and using my right arm. No wonder I couldn't move!

To back up just a bit, with in one hour after receiving my first round of chemo, I could walk, not well, but on my own and no chair. I still needed a walker, but on my own feet. I could also sit for about 5 to 10 minute stretches and it was sheer heaven to lay on my right side again.

Third round of chemo, the walker was in the closet waiting for when I might need it again, significant shrinkage of all masses.

Was doing so well, that 4 rounds turned into 6 rounds of chemo with very little side effects and what ones there were, I easily controlled.

Just after round 6, PET showed nt activity what so ever with the exception of a small spot on the lung primary which was thought to be inflamation.

PEts in November, Jan and March , all show the same lack of activity.

PCI started last week, with the MRI showing small little blotches more consistent with multiple sclerosis in the plaquey areas of the brain (take a dropper and drop some colored water on a white paper towel...the spots are perfectly round with feathered edges. That's what they look like) and one area that looks like someone drew in an elongated oval with a pencil directly on the scan... not color inside the oval just the out line trace of one. It looks more like someone drew it on than an actual growth of some kind. And as I mentioned the inside of the oval is the same color as the brain outside, no white,no lighter or darker gray. Just looks like some one drew on the scan. Really weird.

Anyway, that is the current episode in the soap opera that has become my life. As I said in the beginning, there is more, but it is not really pertinent to cancer. I f you would like to know about it, let me know, I will be glad to relate it, as I have learned a lot form the whole ordeal of living it. But it is a long story.


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  • 3 months later...

Hey Dawn,

I thought I responded to you a while back, but don't see it. Maybe it was my old modem now since replaced.

Wanted to try again, and I'd love to hear more from you. You sound like an amazing, spirited, fellow Texas woman!



PS I just added my signature, i'm sure it's one of the longer ones, lol, but one never knows when a detail might help someone

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Thanks Patti

Things are about the same. Still have the issues going on with my head. I'm still a little wonky. But I am still here, so I'm working with it.

I am doing what we all do. Doing the best I can in trying circumstances.

So for everyone here {{{{{{{{HUGS)))))) and a high five!!!


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  • 4 weeks later...

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