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I debated writing a diary about this, since I really haven't "done" diaries, but I decided I'd feel better if I did. Last year around January, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, stage 1B, after a regular pap smear.  I didn't fit any of the standard risk factors, being 63 years old and monogamous for 36 years, but it just goes to show you that there are always outliers. (Yes, go ahead and use me as an example when your health provider says a clean pap smear several years in a row means you can skip it. I never skipped one, and they were all clear.)

Anyway, I had 5 weeks of every day radiation, combined with 6 weeks of chemo, and two hospital stays for internal radiation in which I wasn't allowed to get out of bed for 3 days.  I made it back to school for the last week, just in time to say good bye to my students.  I felt pretty good, was fine last semester, and the results of two pap smears were negative.

It was all going well until last Friday when I had a PET/CT scan. Well, the scan worked fine, but the results weren't. Yesterday I found out that although the place I had the treatments was clear, there was another spot further up that had swollen lymph nodes. Today I found out it's back to chemo and radiation again.

I feel like my body is betraying me.  I had decided to retire after this semester, but it just couldn't wait.  I'll hang on as long as I can, but I am pretty sure there is no way I can deal with teaching and getting chemo at the same time.  I remember feeling nauseous for days on end.

This isn't really a story about health insurance, because I have good health insurance.  It costs a lot, but it's working well.  My doctors all seem to be good too.  I just feel bad when I read and think about all the people who don't have such good health care.  What do they do?

At this point I don't really "need" anything, except maybe a few words from anyone who has gone through double cancer treatments.  I am afraid it won't ever be done.  I am trying to keep my spirits up, but sometimes it's hard.  Thanks for listening.

Update:  I never thought this was reclist worthy, but I appreciate the thoughts.  It's keeping me very busy answering everyone, and that is good for my mental health!  I might need to take a short break, but I guarantee I will read all the comments.  Thanks again.

Originally posted to Lorikeet's Landing on Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 03:19 PM PST.

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