The tumor came back malignant. That was really not a surprise for me considering I woke up to hear the surgeon talking about the colors in it and why he thought it was malignant. When I looked at the tumor it reminded me of a peach pit, except it was colored a differently. This was the beginning of my whirlwind of treatment, surgeries and chemotherapy.
In order for me to get treated, I had to leave the island I live on and travel to Seattle, Washington. I underwent chemotherapy and additional surgeries over the next six months after my diagnosis. My survival rate was low when I flew off the rock in June of 1999. My grandmother went with me to take care of me.
I was very lucky to have my initial oncologist to be Dr. Karen Hunt. Dr. Hunt was very thorough and knowledgeable. I like her right away. She was straight forward and didn’t sugar coat things. Bone marrow biopsy, blood work, shave head (yes, SHAVE it off before it falls out), choose between hickman or port for chemo entry, get apartment for long haul and set up rotation of helpers to be with me and relieve my Grandma.
My first chemo was intense. Adrymicin and cytoxin – a dark orange mixture coming at me in large bags where the nurses wore gortex gloves to protect themselves. I was on a lot of medications to help me not get sick so I faded in and out of sleep Called my bestie, Kim, and forgot I had called her so I repeated that call a few times that day. Threw up, barely made it to the bathroom when I needed. Help me get through this was all I could muster to God. Chemo brain… is that what I had?