Is this thing on? by Rhiannon Bath

Well here goes... If you already read Rollie's posts you kind of have an idea of what is going on here. If you didn't you are probably wondering why I sent you a link to my cancer website and/or why I have a cancer website. Either way, here's the low down. 

If you're reading this, you got the secret password and you know that I am currently in the midst of a full on battle with C A N C E R. You should also know that if you are reading this, it means that I love you very much and I know you love me very much. 

As much as I love you and you love me it sometimes gets very difficult and exhausting to share the influx of information I get over and over again. I also inevitably forget something and unintentionally leave it out with every story or piece of information I share with y'all. Hopefully this page allows me to share everything I can think of during this battle and gives you a quick and easy way to catch up and get a break down of what is currently going on in my life.

Here's a quick recap of what you already (might) know: 

9/15 - had a Colposcopy performed by Dr. Miskell to determine the severity of my abnormal pap results, the results from the colposcopy are inconclusive and cannot rule out the possibility of invasive carcinoma (AKA cancer) Dr. Miskell refers me to an oncologist (AKA cancer doctor) 

9/28 - At the suggestion of the Cancer Doctor I went in for a routine 'cone biopsy' in an attempt to remove all of the dysplasia and pre cancerous cells in my cervix.

:::SPOILER ALERT:::  It is full on cervical cancer. Dr. wilder, my oncologist recommends radiology and chemotherapy to rid the cervix of the cancer and force it into (hopefully permanent) remission 

10/1 - First consultation with Dr. Zubyk, she will be my Radiologist throughout this whole journey. She recommends 5 weeks of radiology in conjunction with chemotherapy (which will be conducted by Dr. Wilder). She needs scans to confirm this treatment diagnoses. 

10/5 - PET scans are done this day. All in all this is a pretty boring and painless procedure. Upon arrival I am injected with some radioactive glucose, this is some sort of weird chemical that makes the cancer cells show up for the party when you are in the scanner tube. I also get to drink a delicious and nutritious radioactive smoothie, vanilla flavor! It tastes like fetid goat's milk and I don't have any super powers yet, which is a total let down. I was certain by this point I would be 'Spiderman-ing' all over this bitch. After an hour of waiting for it to activate they put me in a scanner tube for 24 minutes then I am on my merry way with the promise of an update the next day from Dr. Wilder. 

                                                                     SOOOO GOOOOOD! 

                                                                     SOOOO GOOOOOD! 

If you have been skimming through the earlier portions of this post...

- PAY ATTENTION NOW! - This is the part I've been trying to get to that many of you probably don't know yet. It's been a busy week and I haven't got to share this (most recent) update with alot of you. 

10/6 - Dr. Wilder calls with the results from my PET scan. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but all in all this is the most informative and best phone call I've gotten so far. Probably because I bitched and moaned my way into getting to speak to the ACTUAL doctor instead of his nurse. :::Big ups to my gurl Michelle W., R.N. but sometimes she sounds just as confused as I am::: Dr. Wilder lets me know a couple of things:

1) The cancer is in the cervix and pelvic lymph nodes only. However, the cervical portion is way too big* to remove surgically. It will definitely have to be treated by a combination of radiology and chemotherapy. These two things work simulataneously together. If one procedure gets cancelled or rescheduled for a particular week so will the other. They are a package deal. *NOTE:  'way too big' is approx. 4cm, the option for surgical removal goes off the table at about 2cm. 

2) The cancer in the lymph nodes will need to be surgically removed. In order to begin radiation/chemotherapy to eradicate the cervical cancer the lymph nodes need to be normal sized, which is microscopic. I have 2 nodes that are enlarged with cancer,  one of them is approximately 3cm and the other is 1cm. The surgery to removed the radical node(s) will be performed on Friday 10/16. The big node will be removed for sure, the small node will probably be removed but Dr. W will decide once he is in there. The procedure will happen at 2pm, it is an outpatient procedure and I will be able to go home as soon as he is done and I wake up. It takes about an hour, is performed laproscopically, and I should have little to no discomfort or side effects. I plan on being back at work on Monday. Rollie is taking Friday off to take me to surgery and be with me that day and weekend. 

3) While Dr. W is in there banishing the rogue nodes, he will have the oppurtunity to suspend my ovaries. This basically means that he is going to move them out of the way of the radiation. They will be moved into the upper part of my abdomen and secured there for (hopefully) safe keeping. This is cool and important because it increases my chances of maintaining fertility to about 50%. While this is very exciting and wonderful news, I do not plan on focusing on this until much later in the game and would appreciate it if you do the same. 

 Being told that I would likely never be able to have our children was the most painful thing I have ever had happen to me in my entire life, real talk. I've spent alot of time praying, coming to terms with, and accepting this reality. Because it was so hard to get to that point, I am going to continue this process with total acceptance of infertility.I just want to get better.  At the risk of sounding corny, this is in God's hands and I need to live in order for any additional chapters to be written in this story. 

So, this is where this post ends. That's all I've got for ya at the moment. I love you all so much! Any phone calls, texts, emails, etc. are always welcome 100% of the time. Holla if you're wanting to talk/check in/talk about Empire/talk about football/drink a glass of wine with me/etc. That being said, if I don't answer, seem irritated, or decline please know that it's not personal. It's the cancer. Check this blog and you will probably be able to find some insight, that is after all what it's intended to do. I also encourage you all to reach out to me here. Please ask questions, comment, share your own feelings (happy, sad, frustrated, angry, anything really!) and talk to each other. Even if you don't all know each other IRL I promise you are all here for the same reason. You might even make a new friend! 

Tonight, I will pour one out for those nodes that won't be here this time next week. They should warn any and all other cancerous creatures living in this body that their number IS UP, going rogue will not be tolerated. All offenders will be executed, no exceptions or pardons will be granted. I'm in charge of what happens here and you can't sit with us. 





That Final Normal Moment by Rollie Agado

When Rhiannon approached me with the idea of creating an online journal/blog to chronicle our battle with Cancer, I nearly jumped to my laptop to create our workspace.

I don't want to speak for her, but one of the hardest parts of her Cancer diagnosis - is having to give repeated updates to family and friends - aloud - over and over.  I find the emotional vulnerability from updating someone to updating another person unpredictable and draining.

We hope this will allow us to communicate with friends, family and at times to one another in a semi-private space.  I encourage you to please leave comments, thoughts and reflections...  Despite it being a very bleak subject, we have connected with one another at levels I never imagined possible.

Day One

Before I commit any words to the screen.... I want to preface this by saying I will never truly know how painful or difficult this is on Rhiannon because the Cervical Cancer is currently something that is solely residing in her system.  

It's affected me in ways I can't even begin to describe with words...   I was the very first person to be made aware of her diagnosis.   Rhiannon was under an anesthetic, so the doctor alerted me in the waiting room a half hour before she received word.

I'm not entirely sure how we even arrived at this moment.  In the 15 or so months of being with Rhiannon, she repeatedly visited doctors for scheduled appointments or when she felt a tiny bit under the weather.

She's genuinely, the most healthy and responsible person I know when it comes to personal health.  With the exception of visiting a doctor earlier this year to treat a 2nd degree ice burn.... I can't honestly tell you when I went in for general health check.  Quite frankly, I'm fucking terrified to sit in front of a doctor knowing that I'm not exactly a picture of health.

When Rhiannon, mentioned to me that she was experiencing some internal pains...  she made an appointment with her physician and initial results were inconclusive.  The pain continued, more tests were ordered and everything remained inconclusive.

I began to over hear words like "dysplasia" and "pre-cancerous"...   terms I didn't want to Google, so I differed to Rhiannon to look me in the eye and have her explain to me what the doctors were relaying.

We were referred to an Oncologist, who recommended a small surgical procedure...  said Oncologist called me over last Monday to inform me that Rhiannon had Stage 1 Cancer.

In the middle of learning that we would be referred to a Radiologist to run a PET scan, we were alerted that our chances of having a child were slim to none.

That very moment was incredibly painful...  Rhiannon and I have talked about having children together before we began going steady.  I'm pretty sure that there's nothing more painful to her than the possibility of not being a mother.

There's so much more to explore emotionally when discussing our fertility hurdle.... but time doesn't permit for that right now.

This for me was the final moment of normal.

Rhiannon, bravely awaiting her biopsy.  She's better than me in every fucking imaginable way.