Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Cancer for Which There is No Cure and Few Treatment Options

'Start by doing what's necessary;
then do what's possible;
and suddenly you are doing the impossible'
Francis of Assisi

At the time of my breast cancer diagnosis in 2003 there was nothing to photograph.

In December 2005 I underwent surgery to remove this tumour that had begun to grow on the outside of the breast. It appeared to be fungating.
After very successful surgery, and 5 days in hospital, things were looking decidedly better. My chosen surgeon's handiwork was remarkable!
In April 2009, after months of agonising pain, a diagnosis of recurrence in the brachial plexus was made. I underwent 30 sessions of radiotherapy believing that it was the only option available to relieve the pain and treat the cancer.
At no time, either before or during treatment, was I informed that there was an increased risk of secondary cancer.
Haydn refused to take photographs as the therapy continued. The burning and blistering was probably 4 times worse than the pictures show.
I am now living with soft tissue cancer caused, according to my Medical Oncologist, from the high doses of radiation. Hidden away under the lesion is my 'tatoo.' 
We are now measuring and photographing the lesion to keep track of its growth.

In an attempt to further educate myself on the possible outcomes of my 'latest' tumour I have been making an effort to research 'fungating' tumours. My first attempt left me feeling quite distressed. It is important that I take one step at a time, and do not get ahead of myself, which is easily done. I did have a discussion with one of the Palliative Care nurses, however, although well intended, the possible outcomes are quite frightening.

It seems my latest tumour is a fungating tumour and, although not normally fatal, complications can be. I am hoping that through blogging I will learn more about possible treatments and outcomes. I understand these tumours can be very confronting as they are so unsightly. The stench is unbelievable! The risk of morbidity is high! Overall not something to look forward to!

Although I am jumping ahead slightly, I am looking at both Manuka Honey and Medical Maggots as possible treatment options for the wound. I think it will be up to me to find the best treatment options in an all out effort to live as well as I am able, for as long as I am able.

May God bless you for sharing the journey.

19 comments:

stonepost said...

Wow, Chez, the photos are dramatic and scary and tell the story of how courageous you are! My bout was nothing, not a drop in comparison. It seems in you "treatment" you are being tortured to death! You are one pretty tough lady!

Kaz said...

Chez always know u are in my prayers.have to agree with Stonepost you are one tough lady thats has gone thru to much.Priscilla know someone she is going to ask about this and i will let you know.Gentle Hugs always.

Love Kaz.xo

Anonymous said...

Cheryl the courage and determination you have shown not only by fighting these terriable health issues but by also sharing your story is remarkable

I pray that what ever treatment you eventually do try has a positive outcome for you

"One step at a time" You are always in my thoughts

~Edwina

Julie Goodale said...

Oh, Chez, you know my heart is with you! I marvel at your toughness, and will be quite interested to learn along with you about possible options. I wonder if some type of energy work, such as Reiki or acupuncture, could be helpful with the pain.
Much love to you.

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Oh I wish that you didn't need to endure this! As for controlling the bacteria that are causing the odor, there are charcoal pads and silver.

I will keep my eyes open for any possible help.

Starry said...

I am certain there must be someone out there that has or has had this same cancer, probably even caused similarly from radiation. I am hoping you will find the inspiration you need of how to face this.
Of course I am sending you my love, and offering my prayers, always, xoxox Starry

Wendy said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I can only imagine how hard this journey is for you and how much harder it is to share such intimate and confronting things but please know that your hope and strength touch people in such powerful and inspiring ways. Sending blessings for continued strength and healing.

Chez said...

StonePost I really do appreciate the kindness of your words. For each of us the journey is difficult and not something we should have to endure.
The problem with my circumstances? Simply that it seems to go on! An on! And on! There is no end in sight and I am still working on ways to regain my positive attitude and become more upbeat about the 'adventure.'
Take care my friend :)

Chez said...

Thanks Kazzy my dear friend. You are an amazing source of strength to me. Could not do this without you. Talk soon my lovely xo

Chez said...

Edwina, you are such a sweetie. The past couple of weeks have been very challenging as I endeavour to seek information and process it all. The trials and tribulations of the cancer patient hey!
I am so very grateful to you and wonderful friends that take the time to help me with information for the journey. Your love is a source of incredible strength dearest friend. Hugs xo

Chez said...

Julie there will be many 'complimentary' treatments to look at. I aim to get results of CT Scan later this week which will determine if the cancer has spread. Then it will be time to look at options as, already, lymphoedema is becoming a problem. It would be lying if I said this is not a cause of grave concern for me.
Do hope you are feeling much better these days.
Love and gratitude xo

Chez said...

Sue, it would be lovely if you could keep your eyes out for any treatments that may work. Already I have had a couple of emails providing personal alternatives. I am so very grateful.

Chez said...

Starry dear friend I know you are right! It is the inspiration that is absolutely necessary at this time to fight this dreadful disease.
I know there will be others, however, it does appear that many are prepared to simply accept what medicine has to offer them. There has to be more!
As I have already mentioned, your friendship, and that of my blogging community, is my source of strength. I could not do this without you.
Love always my friend xo

BreastCancerSisterhood.com said...

Chez,
These photographs are sobering indeed. They make me sad that you've endured so much in your life. I would imagine you're in a great deal of pain and/or discomfort.

While still in the hospital for my first mastectomy, I saw a jar of leeches at the nurses station. Several physicians used them to clean the wounds on some of their more severely injured patients. While it sounds like something used in another century, you might ask about leeches.

You continue to be in my prayers sweet friend.

Love,
Brenda

diane b said...

Dear, Chez, I find it hard to comment. Your story is so sad but your courage is inspiring.

Chez said...

Thank you sweet Brenda. I will make enquiries about the leeches when I see my oncologist Thursday. I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that this latest lesion appears to have been 'caused' by the hight dose radiation to treat my last tumour. I cannot believe that with all the money going to cancer research we are treated with radiation that, in effect, itself causes cancer.
Although I am absent from these pages often my friend, my thoughts are always with you knowing how difficult it must be for you to come to terms with the loss of your precious James.
Love always xo

Chez said...

Wendy it is lovely to see you back. It has been far too long. Although there are many things beyond me these days, the one thing I can do it to offer hope to others by informing and educating. Hope you are enjoying these beautiful days that we are experiencing. xo

Chez said...

Thank you Diane; no words needed. The knowledge that you have been here makes a huge difference.

Emmy said...

I am waiting for positive results. Missed your blogs.. sorry i didn't keep up.. i was feeling a bit down myself. xoxo