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    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    ~Miracles do Happen~

    First, I would like to thank those of you that have sent emails checking up on me. Although they have gone unanswered, they have been very much appreciated. I am using a laptop loaned to me from work to type this and I estimate it will take me a couple of days to finish this post.
    As some of you may know, I had a hysterectomy in June and while preparing for that surgery, I was found to have two tumors on my thyroid. The tests on these tumors indicated what types of tumors they were, but not if they were malignant or benign and surgery was scheduled for late fall. After my mother passed away in August, I visited my chiropractor for some serious pain in my left hip/buttock area and she once again sent me to my doctor. I say once again, because a year ago this past September, she had sent me to the doctor requesting a CAT scan of that area because I had been having chronic problems and she feared there was a more serious problem. My doctor didn't believe that a CAT scan was necessary, sent me for X-Rays and told me that I had a benign bone island in my hip, the X-Rays were repeated in January and I was told the same thing.
    Things were about to change this August.... My new doctor immediately sent me to a surgeon who told me that there was a very large tumor in my right hip/buttock area and my journey began. I had MRI's, CAT Scans and a biposy in October. The day of my biopsy I was told that the tumour in my right buttock was cancerous and very large. I was also told that I had "hot spots" on my right femer and hip. I saw a Radiation Oncologist and Medical Oncologist who told me that I had a very rare sarcoma that they couldn't positively identify and that may have possibly spread to the bones. The Oncologist sent me to a Dana Farber Sarcoma specialist. This specialist told me that sarcomas are very rare and that I had one of three types, and more tests would have to be done.
    I don't need to tell you how horrifying this news was for me. I didn't know if I would live to see my youngest two children graduate from High School and the looks I received from my original doctors spoke volumes to me of their fear. I was sent for another MRI and a PET scan and I was given my first gift. The majority of the tumor presented itself as a benign Solitary Fibrous Tumor, that there was no indication of cancer in my lungs or liver, but that there was a portion of this tumor that was lighting up positive for malignancy on the PET Scan and MRI, however they weren't convinced that it really was. I was introduced to an orthopedic surgeon and my surgery was discussed. The tumor was extremely large and I was told that I would most likely lose my entire Gluteus Maximus Muscle and what that would mean to me in terms of walking and activity for the rest of my life.
    I had my surgery in Boston on November 16th. The surgery took 5 1/2 hours, 4 units of blood and 5 days in the hospital. The tumor was the size of a Cantaloupe, roughly 12" x 10" by 9", and they removed a large margin of tissue around it in the event that there was a malignancy in a portion of the tumor. This surgeon was wonderful and was able to leave a very thin strip of the muscle, however, he had a very difficult time isolating my sciatic nerve due to the immense size and location of the tumor. My incision begins behind my knee, goes the full length of my thigh and across the upper portion of my buttock over to my tail bone - it is (60 centimeters) 24 inches long.
    My miracle is that this tumor was benign. I have been blessed in so many ways over the last months with the love and support of so many friends and family and their continuous prayers. Co-workers and friends have sent gifts of food, monetary gifts, too many cards to count and numerous phone calls and visits. I can't even begin to thank all of these wonderful people. I've been home since October 18th, unable to sit and spending most of my time laying on my left side on the couch or the bed. I have wonderful nurses that come here as well as physical therapists. My recovery, I'm told will take up to 6 months and I have no idea when I will be able to drive or go back to work.
    I am still facing surgery within the next few months to remove my thyroid and I pray that even if it is cancerous that it can be controlled. I will also need to have follow up MRI's every six months for a year and then every year after that to make sure that the tumor in my hip/buttock area hasn't come back. A small price to pay for the gift I've received.
    I have always been a very proactive person when it comes to healthcare and unfortunately I now know that if the original request for a CAT scan over a year ago had been done, I wouldn't be in the condition I'm in now. My hope and prayer is that all of you will fight for a second opinion and tests that should be done when there is a shadow of a doubt that something is wrong.
    I don't know when I will be able to post again, this has taken me a few days to complete - I don't type well on my side! I miss you all and hope you are well.
    I wish you all blessings, health, happiness and joy this holiday season and in the coming new year.

    Comments on "~Miracles do Happen~"


    Blogger Karen said ... (12/18/2007) : 

    Oh my goodness, Cathy, I had no idea you were going through so much! I will immediately start sending good thoughts and energies to you for your recovery. It breaks my heart to think of you stuck in bed for all this time. I also really admire the wonderful attitude you are showing - you are a strong woman. All my love to you!


    Blogger AmyArtisan said ... (12/18/2007) : 

    I had missed you these last couple of months Cathy - what an incredible journey you have been on. You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers as you continue on your recovery.


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/18/2007) : 

    Oh Cathy I'm so sorry to hear of all you have been through but I'm glad that the news was good. I've had you in my thoughts and I'll keep you and your family there as you recover and take the next step.


    Blogger Julie said ... (12/18/2007) : 

    Best of luck with your upcoming surgery/medical care and it's great to hear the large one was benign. It sounds like you have a hard journey ahead just yet but such a positive attitude will make all the difference. I'll definitely be thinking healing thoughts for you!


    Blogger pacalaga said ... (12/18/2007) : 

    Good gravy. I hope they sent that tumor to the original doctor who refused you the CAT scan.


    Blogger Rositta said ... (12/19/2007) : 

    Cathy, I am so sorry to hear what you have gone through and still going through. I feel like an ass now bemoaning my stupid gallbladder and heart issues,geesh. I wish you a speedy recovery, I am glad that you have a good support network. Hugs my friend...:)


    Blogger Rositta said ... (12/26/2007) : 

    I'm commenting one more time, I am unable to read your blog, your background completly blocks out the text. I don't know if you have changes but I noticed it today for the first time. Feel better...ciao


    Anonymous Anonymous said ... (12/29/2007) : 

    Cathy I wish I could just come over and give you a big hug! I had no idea that you where going through so much. I'm glad to hear that the worst is over, and that the news was good. ((hugs)) you will remain in my thoughts (Which its funny, I was thinking of you today!) and in my prayers. You are one wonderful gal : )


    Blogger Veggies.... said ... (12/30/2007) : 

    Oh dear Cathy, what a terribly hard post this was to read. I really, really hope that things get better for you and that you can turn the corner on your health problems. MIRACLES do happen, don't give up and know that many many people are wishing you all the best, including a full recovery.

    Huggs, G


    Blogger Kimberly said ... (1/02/2008) : 

    Oh my, Cathy!! I'm soo sorry I haven't been around, life has been extremely busy for me and I don't have time to read blogs anymore, except for rare vacation days such as Christmas break. I'm sooo sorry to hear what you've been through. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers!! Your good blogger friend in Germany!


    Blogger ~Kristie said ... (1/09/2008) : 

    Oh my dear Cathy. If only I could be there with you to help in some way. I am so thankful (as I'm sure you & your family are) that you made it through your long surgery and that such a large tumor was benign. That is great news! With such long scar left "behind", you've just got to come up with a funny story as to why it's there in case anyone ever sees it and asks about it. Although, I doubt when you're back up and running around again, that you'll be flashing anyone your butt and thigh. Aren't I horrible, I'm hoping your laughing just a bit. It is great medicine.

    Keep in touch with me. I'm interested in when you are scheduling your thyroid surgery. I'm with you in spirit. Hang in there!


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