WARNING: Some of the Content here may be Objectionable to some. I have this blog labeled as "Adult Only" as a common courtesy for those who may easily be offended by Adult topics such as the Truth, Down to Earth topics, realities of living with Ovarian Cancer and/or any life threatening disease that goes along with it; Sexuality, Medicinal Cannabis, Profanity, and of course plenty of unpleasant body functions are also discussed here. This is a very tough battle for which I don't intend to hold anything back on what I am facing.

This blog is very personal and comes from the heart of a real fighting cancer patient who wishes nothing more than to live for all of those I love my own will to live, and my love of life. While sometimes I might be on heavy medication (prescribed by my doctor) and occasionally I might write about things or subjects that one may never even think about or consider; so please consider that as well. Yes; whacked out things might even be found here; but I mean everything in all good intentions.

This blog is not at all intended for the faint hearted, those who lack a sense of humor, have no idea what down to earth means, greedy mean people, and/or those who don't know how to share the world with others, and especially those who are unable to easily put themselves into the shoes of others. This blog is mostly about my journey of living my life in the best ways that I can under the Golden Rule and appreciating all of the GOOD KHARMA that comes my way! Never take anything in this world for granted; especially family and friends!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Livestrong day...Getting diagnosed...

Well today is officially the 10th anniversary of Lance Armstrong's initial Cancer Diagnosis and the 2nd year diagnosis of another fellow blogger; POD. She had mentioned that Lance Armstrong wasn't too much of a big deal until her diagnosis and it was the same for me. I didn't even know who he was until after I got diagnosed. A friend from work got me the first Lance Armstrong book which inspired me to fight. I will be celebrating my 7th year next month on the 15th. I even had my last name changed to "Armstrong" for my battle and it was 2 days before my battle began that I became an official "Armstrong".

Well here is a little of my story of how I got diagnosed; I know I had written about it on my "About Me" page; sorry to bore so many of you but I am still celebrating getting married to the most most amazing man ever. I can't help but feel so much love and appreciation for him and for all that he does for me each and every day. He helps me in so many ways and has so many responsibilities that he has to do each and every day in order to take care of me.
To be totally honest, when I first got diagnosed; we had been trying for children and I wasn't getting pregnant; the GYN doctor had told me that my cervix was tilted and we had accepted this for about 2 - 3 years; my PAP smear had always come back negative; so we had nothing really to be suspicious about. I got a transvaginal ultrasound ordered after the doctor felt what he thought was a ovarian cyst. I was hoping and praying that it was a dermoid cyst since they tend to emulate many cells in the body by sometimes growing hair and even bone; sometimes even teeth. I researched these different types of cysts on the internet and learned so much about them; they were all a type of benign tumor; GOD how I wished that I had one of those.; I still kind of do. Anyway, the ultrasound and x-rays all indicated that I needed surgery to remove the cyst or what we had thought was a cyst. I was OK with that. I even prayed that before the surgery that it would be one of those (dermoid); we could just get it removed and go on with our lives and raise a family of our own.

Well right before the surgery; I had an anxiety attack and cried just before being pushed off to surgery. Everyone around me told me that I had absolutely nothing to worry about; everyone. There was not a negative person in the room; there was maybe a 1-5% chance that I would have cancer; so they were all able to calm me down. I wasn't even sure why; but it happened then when I awoke from that surgery; I kept hearing "Stage II/III Ovarian Cancer patient." "GOD, I hope they are not talking or referring to me" I thought. It was so surreal and scary. What a nightmare I thought to myself if I really have cancer! Then I would just go back to sleep and awake again just thinking that it's all just a very bad dream; it will all be better; "I'm not the one they are talking about!". Then I opened my eyes to see what the reality just might be; I was blinded for just a second with this light right in my eyes.

I couldn't believe the timing, but my husband or actually my fiance was standing right over my gurney and asking me to marry him soon. He had the ring neatly tucked in the box so that it was shining in the light so perfectly. I could become an Armstrong and tackle this disease with my partner hand in hand!) He told me the news of the cancer as I uncontrollably started crying and hyperventilating. Also to find out that all of my female organs taken out too; I almost felt that I wasn't a female anymore. OMG I thought! What a horror! This can not be real! I was so incredibly heart broken and sad.

This wonderful man who wants to marry me and we are not going to have any children.? We wanted some kids our own and felt that we would be great parents, but it wasn't in the cards for us. He was more accepting of it than I was at the time; he was always looking at the bright side of things for me and reminding me that I was incredibly special to him; I was this cool chick that inspired him and introduced him to so much great music and all the fun times we had together and still do.

I remember being in my room (right after the surgery) and one of my friends who had just had a baby came to visit with her cute son and to see my husband hold that tiny child just completely broke my heart. He handled the child so carefully and the baby was only 2 months old; still very young. I kept thinking to myself, "I can't give him this" and I tried my best to control the tears but they just streamed down my face like there was no tomorrow mostly because it was so incredibly beautiful to see him holding this tiny child in his arms and how he corresponded with the child; it was my dream to see him holding a child of his very own. "My this wonderful man could make such a wonderful caring, loving father". It was such sweet music to my ears to hear him talking to this baby in his manly sweet tone; I think it made me cry even more because it sounded so beautiful. He was so touching and loving to this very young child. He then saw the tears that were streaming down my face and he immediately gave her back her son and then came over by my bedside and immediately held me in his arms and told me it's OK. He rocked me in his arms so gently until I was calmed down and the tears had stopped. We just told her that we are still in shock from the news of the cancer.

After she had left, we had a long talk and he told me that his love for me is so great that he is kind of relieved to not have any children and to have me all to himself. It didn't matter at all that I wouldn't be able to have any children for him. I was still very, very special to him. He is always quick to remind me that I am a very beautiful person both inside and out and that is why he fell do deeply in love with me. Hell, this just means that we get to have more fun together; go snowboarding, travel, spend all that money that we would have spend on the children on ourselves, and just enjoy having many wonderful dates together. He just sat there and told me everything that I wanted to hear at the moment to make me feel so much better. He just has this way of making me feel better about the situation and he still does. It really was the bright side of things with this stupid cancer.

What it came down to while in the hospital; hearing all about starting chemo and all the awful things you have to prepare for in this battle is that we really needed to get married right away before my hair fell out or even started chemo and that is what we agreed together on. I needed to have the last name "Armstrong" before starting this battle and I can thank a very good friend at work who gave me the first Lance Armstrong book which detailed his fight; I was very inspired. I didn't even know who Lance Armstrong was (actually I had heard his name many times before) before this battle but to be another Armstrong fighting this battle really meant a lot especially after reading that book!

So while in the hospital we planned our special day together. We listed a bunch of restaurants that maybe we would like to get married at. The Moss Beach Distillary topped our list; there was this Blue Lady associated with the restaurant and it had been on "Unsolved Mysteries" and it was on the beach practically. What a gorgeous sunset we would have during our wedding! (This is the actual sunset from our wedding!) It hadn't been official yet until we called our families.

We did get to celebrate Thanksgiving (I baked a turkey and some ham) and I remember one of the chemo nurses had even called me around Tuesday (week of Thanksgiving) to let me know that tomorrow (the day before Thanksgiving); she had an open spot for chemo (in case I would like to start early) so that I could just puke up all of my turkey all over the place on Thanksgiving day. I thought that was kind of heartless to call me and ask me to move my chemo date. Do I really want to spend my Thanksgiving puking my brains out and my wedding date would be in a week! We were still planning our wedding and I wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving too! My first chemo was scheduled for Thursday, December 5th, 2002.

My father immediately got an airline ticket; he wanted to be there to walk his daughter down the aisle. He wasn't going to miss this for the world. My dad arrived on that Friday just after Thanksgiving (we had plenty of leftovers); so we kind of had a second Thanksgiving with him.

Then the whole weekend my dad and I went driving around looking for a place to get married that whole weekend before the wedding. We had to stop so I go potty every 20-30 minutes; it was frustrating but we kept agreeing; "at least I'm alive". When we got to the Moss Beach Distillery and looked out at the view; there was no denying this place and they told us straight up; it was OK for us to do our wedding here. We also went on that Sunday and found the perfect dress! It wasn't white, but it was this 20's style that I was picturing in my mind of getting married in.

There was only about 10 guests total and even those who had come to the restaurant could even be a part of our special day. We had a few people watching us get married.

Boy that Monday before the wedding was a very hectic day but we got his best friend deputized to perform the wedding; we got our wedding license and we even had the clerk take the photo of us after we got our wedding license. We photographed everything. My honey even got his suit on that day as well (I had gotten my dress, shoes, and coat on Sunday).

It was quite a story for many to follow at my job. I had asked off 6 weeks for my initial surgery (many had been concerned for me but it was supposed to be a routine surgery); then for them to get the news that I had advanced cancer and would be going through chemotherapy treatments (I still worked during those treatments) and on top of that; I'm getting married too! Anyway, we stopped by my job I think it might have been the day we were to be married and they had a special surprise party for us and had raised over $1000 for a very special honey moon for us in Napa. There were wedding gifts and gift certificates and cards signed by everyone in my department and some other departments as well. I guess many could not believe a wedding resulting from a cancer diagnosis; it must have tugged quite a few hearts. I wasn't in the shape to take a honeymoon just yet but we did eventually in July of 2003. I was so touched by everyone at my job and will never ever forget the kindness they share for me and still do. It is the best place I have ever worked.

9 days after being released from the hospital and 1 day after getting those annoying staples out of my tummy was the special day; Tuesday, December 3rd, 2002. My sweetie was so precious on that special day. He wanted everything to be perfect and it was so freaking cute. He had these little tantrums and he makes the cutest noises ever when things do go just as planned (like dropping things and being clumsy). Anyway, our wedding was a blast and it could not have been more perfect.

The evening of our wedding; we stayed at this nice little inn that had a jacuzzi in the room and since I still have my surgitape still on; I couldn't soak in the tub but I was able to soak my feet while my most deserved honey got enjoy the full benefits for both of us. We had a blood test to take early in the morning and then the following day was my very first chemo. I still feel we have the ultimate love story of what it really means to get married and to be there for one another no matter what. He continues to take good care of me each and every day; hooking me up to the TPN and it is a long process to do each day; but he is more than willing too and I'm excited that he is taking off time from work to help me get stronger. Peace and love to all! I hope you all enjoyed!

No matter what side of the healthcare debate you're on, I believe we can all agree on two things:

No American should be denied health insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

No American should lose their insurance due to changes in health or employment.

Make sure what happened to Lance Armstrong, doesn't happen to other cancer patients. Please be sure to sign this petition to Congress! All Cancer Patients regardless of insurance, deserves to live.

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POD said...

Such a beautiful story. and despite the disastrous news, romantic. He sounds like a great guy to stick with you. My x-BF left me in July (that's a whole other comment that I won't bother you with. haha).

And that is amazing that you changed your name!

l'optimiste said...

yay CJ - such a lovely post - as usual I was crying into my wine...your husband is the greatest, we are both so lucky in that. And the photos are wicked, you look beautiful in that lacy dress. :o)

Glad you've met POD too. She is a great laugh, and laughing is always healing.

big hug

TC said...

I agree beautiful pictures (and a BEAUTIFUL bride) and your husband sounds like a keeper (like you didn't know that!).

Kia Taylor said...

What a beautiful story, I'm so glad you chose to re-tell it...sometime's we get so caught up in our own day to day BS, we forget what's most important...xoxo

Girl Holding On said...

You have such a beautiful love story.

WhiteStone said...

Ahhhh, lovely wedding photo! Sending you hugs.

Dee said...

CJ thanks for sharing your story and your lovely wedding photos. Your husband is wonderful- I too am blessed to have a supportive and loving husband.

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My techniques and treatments work simply for me and may not produce the same results for others. Cancer is a very tricky disease in which it is very different in everyone it touches. No two cancers are the same just as we humans are not the same. What works for me may not work for others.

I love life and expect to live for as long as I can. I intend to use those treatments that do work for me which includes medicinal cannabis. I'm still alive with this disease over 7 years later because of this miracle plant and as long as I have my medicine available; I intend to survive many more years. I hope one day the Federal Government will eventually grow up and be led by true leaders who represent the people and not just coorporations; real people who live by the Golden Rule "treat others how you would want to be treated". I also hope the Government of the US can finally learn to admit that it has made a mortal mistake in making this life saving plant which is provided by GOD and does indeed have the ability to provide all of us with food, fuel, clothing, shelter, and medicine; a mistake that have made is that it is illegal. Yes, it was a mistake out of greed, ignorance, and racism that this miracle plant is illegal. This is a confirmed fact and we should all know and face it.

Cannabis is not at all harmful and in fact quite the opposite. Perhaps our economy can once again grow as it has in the turn of the century by making this life saving plant legal once again.

The contents of this blog including all images, (except images from third parties) and the name "Shopping Kharma - what comes around goes around" belong and copyrighted to C. Jayne Armstrong 2008-2010
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