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Lemons and Lemonade

On the other side of cancer, it looks crazy. While things are finally settling and looking up…things still look crazy. Many of you that know me well, or have read my blog, are aware of my diagnosis. If not, please check out the tagged related posts.

I was quite optimistic if I must say so myself. I tried my hardest not to let this diagnosis get me down or take me to a dark place. I knew what my plan was, and I was working closely with my team to ensure that I would beat this. Then, the bottom fell out. One week after my first and only round of chemo, I ended up in the ER, where doctors diagnosed me with Sepsis, MRSA, and Pneumonia. I was in septic shock and admitted to ICU. I don’t even know how long I was there before I woke up. I only remember waking up a day before doctors moved me to the Clinical Decision Unit. You know how nurses ask you your name and birthday before they give you a medication? I had to look at my husband or my father for the answer. I am not even sure which one of them was there that time. I just know it was one of them.

I was in ICU until the end of June. I hadn't seen my child in 20 days. I can't even imagine what she must have been thinking. She didn’t know I was in the hospital at first, and I didn’t want her to see me in that state. I had lost 40 lbs. in those 20 days, so you can imagine how that may have been frightening. I spoke with her over the phone, and it definitely brightened my days. After going home, there was a lot of recovery. I had home health, physical therapy, and a nurse that came to my home for a month after my release. It was hard. I had to learn to walk on my own again; I was using a walker to get around. I had no core strength at all, so I could barely sit up on my own. After all of the medication and the chemo still in my body at this point, food tasted gross, and I could barely keep anything down. Imagine the frustration of all of that. I had a PICC line in my arm, once I left the hospital, so that I could give myself antibiotics on a daily basis to ensure the MRSA would not come back. I also left the hospital with a Foley catheter on my leg. Those of you that know what that is, you know it is only the devil. The worst! However, after the doctors telling my family that they weren't sure I would make it through the first night, I thank God that I'm alive!

Doctors’ appointments became the norm for us. It definitely wasn’t the summer I had planned. Most of our days we were heading from one follow up or another. Finally, I met with my primary care physician and asked for a referral to a new breast surgeon and oncologist. I felt that I needed to make a clean break from my former team. I don't know where the fault lies in what happened to me, or if it lies anywhere, but I needed a team that I knew I could trust. I also knew I needed a team I chose not based on emotion and fear. I now have a new team, and I went through my surgery. The doctors only found a less than 2 cm tumor, and nothing affected my lymph nodes. Thank, God. I will have to have radiation, and I am beyond cool with that. I finally had an appointment with a new oncologist who gave me two choices for long-term treatment, regarding prevention. I chose and left the office with my husband and completely lost it in the parking lot. Why didn’t doctors give me choices the first time? Why was the first team so aggressive with my treatment? Those were the questions that went through my mind. Could I have avoided this situation? I almost lost my life. Is it wrong to have questions?

I know that I may never have an answer to that question. That’s okay. I can’t live wondering about it for the rest of my life. I can enjoy the fact that I have a second chance to live. I am still recovering and have some residual aches and pains from the sepsis, nothing damaging. I am back at work and I am so happy. I missed my work family. Each day is truly new for me.

Peace and Love

Alisa


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