Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Chemo week

Hey everyone- Today I restart another week of my chemo pills. Just a reminder: I take 3 pills in the morning and evening for one week, then I am off for a week, then on a week. It is so nice not to have to go to the cancer center for infusions as I used to do. Last chemo week, I had fatigue but otherwise no other side effects. I hope that will be the case this week, it may change as the chemo accumulates in my body. The other thing to know is that on the weeks off, the chemo is still working in my body, so that is reassuring that I am not just giving the cancer time to grow in between chemo weeks.
I had another comment about my original symptoms that lead to my diagnosis. This is probably the most frequently asked question. A good question... it is explained a few times previously in my blog, but I don't expect anyone to read the whole thing. So, I did post my symptoms to the left above our picture. I did this all by myself too. I am getting pretty computer savvy if I say so myself! hehe.
To answer the question fully, I had symptoms for a few months, I did blow them off a bit because I had just had a baby not long before so I kept thinking this was just my body getting back to normal. The symptoms though did come on fairly suddenly, it wasn't just gradual. Probably about 6 months after Ella was born, I started having abdominal cramping where I would literally bend at the waist, arms around my stomach in pain. My bowel movements were not normal, prior I was a fairly regular person, with no problems going. I started to struggle to get BM's out and when something did come out, it was just little bits, sometimes just looked like dust. So, thank's to my mother who finally pushed me that this wasn't normal. I took action. I am a nurse practitioner and I still hesitated, I was taught to look at the most common diagnosis first, cancer at my age was not a common diagnosis. Even the GI doctor I ended up seeing after I saw a primary care doctor first, said that he didn't want to do a colonoscopy right away because cancer would be so rare. So, lesson learned...listen to your body, don't hesitate, and don't take no for an answer if your doctor doesn't think it is a concern. Also, listen to your mother, hehe. Because my mom kept telling me, shawndra, this isn't normal, she probably saved me from it getting much, much worse. Thank you mom!!! If anyone has any more questions,please feel free to ask. I am a pretty open book, as you all can tell. It is a rainy day today,a good day for getting things done inside. I better get going for the day. I need to get some fall clothes for Ella, it seems to be coming quickly. It was kind of chilly this morning. I love fall, ahhh. Have a great hump day. shawndra


kelley said...

Well, I like fall too but this is a little early! Maybe that just means spring will arrive early too. I am happy to hear that you can endure the effects of the chemo from the comfort of your home. It is such a difficult task in itself, it wold be nice if it could be done like this all the time. Hope this method continues to give good results without many side effects. Tell that great Mom hello.....Dad too.

bahama mama said...

I am very proud of how you have handled all of the challenges that have been thrown at you over the past two years. I also know that your doctors greatly respect you for the war you have waged on cancer.
While your diagnosis changed your path, you are still doing great things and touching many lives. Keep up the good fight!!!!

Love, d

Nurse Practitioners Save Lives said...

I'm sorry that you have colon cancer at such a young age. Too often providers will not listen to their patients and miss things. I am often accused of making too many referrals to specialists but you can better believe that I don't miss much. I hope that you continue to do well with your treatments. said...

Hi Shawndra
I just wanted to comment about your post, saying to listen to your body and push the doctors. My father has colon cancer, he was diagnosed at 45. At the end of last year, I saw blood in my stool and went to the doctors - she brushed it off, as did most people that I talked to about it (including my Mom). At the beginning of this year I found both Jennifer Ireland and your blogs, and decided that I needed to be sure. I went to my family doctor, and she wouldn't send me for a colonoscopy (it's likely different here in Canada, we NEED a doctor to send us, because it's covered). I ended up switching family doctors, and the new one sent me. Still everyone was telling me that I didn't need it. Even the specialist, right before putting me out said 'we aren't going to find anything'. I woke during the procedure to see polyps - I had 7 removed total, 3 large ones, all of them were 'precancer'. If I had waited till I was 35, (like everyone was trying to make me) my Doctor said that it is almost guaranteed that I would have had cancer. I am only 26 years old, but because of the blogs that I found (yours and Jennifers) I followed my 'gut' and now will be carefully monitored. All that, to say thanks!! There is very little info about cancer in young adults, your blog IS actually SAVING people. You may not be able to be a nurse any longer, but maybe your calling was to save people in a different way.
Best of luck with chemo this week...stay strong, there is a world of people praying for you!
Crystal from Canada

Anonymous said...


Thank you for letting us be apart of your journey. Sharing you story has inspired our family to live each day to the fullest. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Keep Believing!!!

The Mudge Family

Naomi in GA said...

Hey Shawndra
I miss ya girlie!
Hope these chemo pills are kickin the rest of that cancers butt!
Been a crazy couple months here, not gonna public post as I dont want to hijack your site w/my problems or health issues..LOL
But good to hear you are feeling as well as you can be are such a trooper and a inspiration, well Adam my newly turned 3 yr old is fighting his nap today so gotta run, I think naps are now a thing of the past.
Aww fall stuff, I love the fall too, I am all deocorated for fall here in GA leaves window clings changed to fall colored curtains, and wreaths swags, Im a Martha Stewart wannabe when it comes to deoctarting for the holidays and the seasons, I LOVE the fall, signals the holidays coming soon too = ) Alghough the 90 degree temps here in GA may have me fooled its not feeling like fall yet, but belive it or not we do have a nice fall cooldown and the leaves do change color, even had a snowflake or two fall last winter, nothing to write home about (as I am from MI where we measured by feet) but it was nice to have some change of seasons, maybe the ARMY will move us further north again on our next duty station change, but I do love GA too = ) every place has its pros and cons.
Well love ya girl, and miss ya
Your sis in emails

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI:

Light the Night for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society is next Friday September 12th:

Kansas City - Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 - Corporate Woods

All participants will be treated to a great night of free family entertainment, including bounce houses, face painting, music, dancing, food and free drinks! At all Walk sites, the festivities begin at 6:00 pm and the Walk steps off at 7:45 pm.

Glad to hear you are doing pretty well...enjoy the rest of the week!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading the comments on your blog. Girl, you literally saved Crystal's life. What a fortunate person she is!

The ACS says to start getting screened at age 50, but it would seem that it should begin much earler.

Good luck with the chemo pills

Love, Marny