Robin - posted on 03/17/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )
My name is robin. I was diagnosed with breast cancer October of 2006 (when I was 27). I underwent a bilateral mastectomy in November, at which point they removed and tested over thirty lymph nodes. In December I was told that they had discovered that the cancer had traveled to my spine, liver, kidney and lungs. I started chemo between Christmas and New Years. My first session of chemo went fine; my second was a totally different story. I had chemo Feb 10 2007 by the time I got home I had problems walking. My dad and brother had to carry me into the house. I couldnt walk, I couldnt eat all I could do was lie in bed - I couldnt even go to the bathroom by myself! My mom called the ambulance the Sunday before family day - after me not getting up for three days. It turns out that I had developed a staph infection. My oncologist told my parents to call in nyone who wanted to say good bye because i wouldnt make it through the night. They were very surprised to see me still alive the next day but said that we should still prepare for my death. We called the lawyer and I made a will to make sure that my kids were in good hands when I am gone. We called a priest to come and pray with us (hey the medicine wasnt doing its job). My parents took turns spending the night at the hospital with me. I lived though that day ...... and the next ..... and the next ........
The doctors every day came and said that they were amazed by the fact that I was alive ....... but the staph infection took away my ability to walk - in fact I was paralyzed from the neck down. I was alive but I needed a catheter to collect my urine, any time I had a bowel movement it took six nurses to clean me (four to roll me over two to wipe my bottom clean), I couldnt feed myself and I couldnt bathe myself. I was alive but I couldnt do anything for myself. I could have probably handled all of these limitations but I couldnt even hug my girls (3 & 5 at the time)! I am not married and my girls' fathers are not involved in their lives so my kids stayed with my sick parents (My dad had breast cancer and my mom has MS). It was not not the ideal situation but it was either that or foster care.
I was transferred to the Palliative Care Unit at the Grey Nuns Hospital. I didnt realize at the time that the palliative unit is where they send you to make you comfortable before you die. I was alive but so high off of the cocktail of drugs they had me on that I dont remeber it (ive lost a year of memory). I know that there were many times that my parents would come to visit (I still needed to be spoon fed) and I would prefer to watch tv than visit. They expressed some concern and I was put on anti-depressants.
I think what made me 'put my foot down' so too speak was when they started talking about putting me in a hospice care unit (just a real fancy title for a nursing home). I figured that if they got me into one of those places I would never get out (and I couldnt take my kids with me). I told them that when I left I was going home. But I was still dependent on other people for my everyday needs so I couldnt leave just yet. I started negging them to have the PT (physiotherapist) come more often to see me. Slowly but surely I began to move. At first it was just my big toe moving but it was movement none the less. The next time they brought up hospice care my mom talked to them about sending me to a rehabilitation hospital. I was transferred to a rehab hospital about a month later. I spent three weeks in the Glerose Rehab Hospital before I was able to go home - something I was told would never happen. All in all I spent 10 months in the hospital.
My fight wasnt over though. I got out of the Glenrose early December 2007, since then I have been hospitalized for different reasons. I have had fluid build up in my lungs and had to be placed on oxygen a couple of times. I had to have a pic line put in and when that fell out I had to be put under for a central line put under my skin.
It all comes down to the fact that I am terminal the cancer will eventually kill me, but not till after I attend a couple of graduations and weddings in about twenty years. I think I can handle that.