Saturday, September 5, 2009

Shelba's Story

My wife Shelba posted this on her Caring Bridge site:

Last February, I went to see my gynecologist. I did not feed bad at all, but I was having abnormalities. All of the usual tests came back normal except for cysts. In April, I started to feel some pain, but still thought the problem was cysts.

The first week in May, Mark, my husband, and I went to Destin for a week and enjoyed all of my favorite things, eating and shopping, and ususally in that order. However, the more I walked, the worse I felt. When I came back, I had a follow up ultrasound that still showed just cysts. The next step was an MRI. The MRI showed a potential malignancy on my right ovary. The results of the blood test for cancer were in the "elevated" range but not definately cancer.

In June, I found a very good gynecological oncologist in Tallahassee and scheduled my surgery for July 17th. The surgery was supposed to be the two and a half hour robotic removal of the ovary. Going into the fourth hour, Mark, my secretary Tammy, and my friend and client, Cookie, realized that my doctor had to do a lot more work than expected. Once the surgery started, the doctor had to ditch the robot and start debulking the cancer which had spread to my bladder and colon. When I woke up, I looked awful. Mark, the former prosecutor, told me he had seen autopsy pictures with more life than I had after my surgery. Luckily, I think that's funny. The day after surgery, I started to bounce back from being on an IV all night.

According to my doctor, the survivability rate from ovarian cancer that has spread is 50%. Currently, I am undergoing chemotherapy treatment to get rid of any stray cancer cells. Part of chemotherapy is figuring out how to deal with the side effects. I need your thoughts and prayers, and feel that they are already working. I was also uplifted by all the visits, flowers, food, phone calls, and cards from all of our friends.

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