Alejandra L. on January 17, 2009
I was Diagnosed with:
less than part time
Type and Description of Treatments:
immediate surgery within 3 weeks for 1 of 3 procedures and cancer staging -remove cycts, testing -remove uterus; cancer found -decide option to remove ovaries;yes
How do you feel today?
grateful for being able to survive cancer because I have a son and daughter, a husband, my strong father; battling leukemia-mds, dialysis, diabetes,coronary heart disease, a strong mother who survived a major lumbar surgery and now has titanium rods in her back, developed diabetes and is learning to control, my sister Toni who juggles schedule to care for me and shares my family growing pains.
I fell blessed and grateful! I feel like helping other families and women who face day 1 with a question I had such a short time to plan " what do I do? where do I search for answers to? what can I do to look strong for my family?"
No, lie my body has changed and so have I, not having ovaries and a uterus! But I am still grateful!
Thank God for my doctors!
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your life?
My sex life had changed, but my husband doesn't make me feel unattractive! He is great! I have scars forever! My body has changed. I joke and tell my mother I am probably physically older than her, because I beat her to the hot flashes!
What is going well for you right now?
I do not have the fear of living with cancer within me. But I do have to keep in contact with my doctor's orders and follow thru! I feel responsible to share my story openly with other women. Starting with my mother and daughter! I want to help others!
What is not going well for you right now?
I have not accomplished writing a book in many languages to share within communities~ I want to share my story and for educational purposes tell people not just women how important it is to see a doctor and listen to your body!
What has been the most challenging thing about having cancer?
at the same time;
-finding out I had uterine cancer AND
-dealing with almost loosing a house
-having a dad go thru chemo
-having to help my mom just survive surgery with her titanium rods in her lumbar area, and develop diabetes
-having two kids age daughter 6yr old, son 13 yrs old
-having a spouse for 1 yr in prison, not knowing the outcome of his case
-somehow pulling strength for 3 jobs
-having the worst neighbors that made racial slurs,direct comments at my family while I was at work
-not having all answers my children asked questions about
When difficulties overwhelm you, where do you go for support?
my husband wrote many letters for support, he arranged for a church and Rev. Branch to call us and the church send our kids Christmas cards, clothes and gift cards.
I kept a phone for his calls, and he was able to call us almost daily. We kept "dad" around that way.
The children and I made many changes at home. We went to churches, we read books, we walked at the park. We made new friends, the kids played sports. But gratefully and on top of all things my parents helped us all keep it together with their simple ways and lot's of love and support.
Grandparents are very much needed to plant seeds in childrens hearts!
How have your long-term goals or life goals changed since diagnosis?
I have had many changes in my life since then. I started saying to myself that " I should do the best with I have!" and I still tell myself that!
The most important thing to me are my two kids and family.
Life is not too short!! Life is the longest thing you will ever do!! So live it the best way you can! Be realistic and if like me, know if you have an ill parent, do not be selfish!! plan for reality!
The next step is for my kids go to college and for them to be responsible adults and good citizens.
What is your work arrangement right now? What are your hours?
I am a caregiver, I take care of my parents.
I quit a corporate job. It has been a drastic change in money and position. There have been many cutbacks.
But I do the best I can for all of us.
Since the diagnosis, what has changed in your work life?
I am afraid to tell anyone work related if I apply for a less than part time job because I will not get hired.
Insurances have not been easy on me either.
But, I am grateful for the boss and understanding people I worked for during my cancer. I had to leave them and I needed to care for my family, avoiding the commute.
I became a Notary Public to make some extra money. I volunteer at my kids schools, My kids are signing up for volunteering organizations in the community, we want Grandpa and Grandma to join so they can share their love with others.
What has helped you continue to work the most?
This will be the most expensive year because my son is now 17 yrs old and my daughter is now 10 yrs old They will both graduate this year, 2009.
My son is training for his second L.A. Marathon, is in student council, is running for V-P in school,is in a AP-Spanish club, joined Volunteers Org.
My daughter is a star supporter of her grandpa and has been a healing sunshine for his cancer,dialysis, and conditions.
She has been tested as highly gifted in school, she loves to read, is joining an organization for a greener planet, loves to draw pictures, host social gathering with " mommy and me tea lunches" , she wants to go to college now,and loves learning to use the computer, she loves swimming and want to join a swim team or tennis team.
What advice do you have for others trying to work through treatment?
MAKE A LIST OF WHAT YOU WANT TO DO!! AS ONG AS ITS REASONABLE!
Keep a daily journal, draw or paint, learn to read doctor and lab results,research! feed your mind!
search for our inner core strength!
AND remember "treatments can be invasive and strip u naked!! But cancer can not rip you from your sense of humor!!" that is a true quote from my father!!
My father was told he would like 6 months from diagnosis!!
That was 4yrs ago!!
How have you dealt with any side effects of treatment?
I didn't have to deal with chemo. My surgeries were urgently scheduled I only had three weeks to get ready! and while recovering 3 weeks after another surgery!!
BUT when I got better I started taking my dad to chemo, I feel I suffer his pain while I watch him, or what I could have gone thru!! I see him loosing control of his body! I see him trying to keep his head up and look strong! I see him scrapping for strength!!
The movie "the bucket list" reminded me of my dad!!
If "today's you" could give advice to "day-of-diagnosis you," what would you say?
PRAY, TAKE SOMEONE WHO WILL HAVE A STRONGER STOMACH THAN YOU FOR THE RESULTS AT THE DOCTORS OFFICE, A CALENDER, DIRECTLY TELL THE KIDS AND FAMILY AFTER, "WE WILL DO THE BEST W/WHAT WE HAVE",REASEARCH , ASK QUESTIONS,GET ANSWERS,GET INFO FROM DOCTOR ABOUT OPTIONS, GET A THIRD OPINION,EAT GOOD FOOD, WALK WITH FAMILY, MAKE YOUR BODY STRONGER FOR SURGERY, PRAY