In July of 2002, rubyloot was diagnosed with stage 2 endometrial cancer, confined to her uterus.
They did a hysterectomy, but did not remove her ovaries because they couldn't find them.
This was postponed because of the availability of surgical time and doctor time to late September of that year.
A month later, she went into a five week series of radiation treatments, three times a day, then five concentrated radiation treatments delivered in a very intimate fashion (ugh) which were a week apart, and which were totally exhausting. The last one was the week of Christmas, 2002. In 2003, for the first four to five months, she was totally wiped out by the after-effects, but her exams showed that the cancer was gone from the cervical area anyway. She was somewhat better during the latter part of that year and into 2004, but her knees were very sensitive, and she had a very hard time with the stairs in the house we were in.
In mid-2004, it got to where she could not climb the stair readily. When we sold the house in March of 2005 and moved into an apartment, she improved dramatically, but she continued to have bad joint pain and our new doctor decided he would investigate. Blood tests showed elevated levels of alkaline phosphatase, which is only found when either kidneys or bones are being destroyed (or in some kinds of cancer). Everything else looked normal except for anemia, and he put her on iron supplements and changed around her medications and zoit! her insulin requirements dropped, she felt better, and so forth, but he was concerned about the continuing pain and the enzyme levels, which could indicate kidney damage; a more precise test proved that it wasn't kidney damage. However, it wasn't hyper-parathyroidism, which damages bones and causes all the symptoms she had... because the HPT hormone levels were quite normal. There was about a month or so while we tried to figure out what was up and her symptoms got worse; we went to Orycon and it was exhausting for her, but she was able to enjoy parts of it. We saw the doctor shortly afterward, and he told us we needed to get her to a pain clinic to deal with the pain. Unfortunately, no pain clinic would talk to us - they don't take uninsured patients unless they can pay the entire amount up front.
The day after she saw the doctor, I was helping her get out of bed and caught her foot in the blanket; a very slight twist sprained the foot, and it puffed up like a puffy thing. The doctor, hearing that her feet were swollen, ordered us to the emergency room because that is a sure sign of congestive heart failure ... we said, "No, she sprained her foot, and her feet always swell up when they're traumatized, and have done so since she was in college." What bothered me, however, was that her abdomen was getting distended at night, that she was feverish, and that her urine was quite concentrated, because she couldn't get up to go very often so, wasn't drinking enough water.
Anyway. We took her in to see him yesterday, as it was the first day when she was able to go, and his first opening.
He ordered blood work and antibiotics, but was convinced that the abdominal distension was probably gas due to her being on oxycodone for so long - it's a typical response - and put her on antibiotics for possible infections, and because he felt it was likely she still had an ulcer (and ulcers are bacterial infections, or can become such, if they're caused by other medication).
The blood work came back very scary. Very elevated white blood cell counts. Very elevated alkaline phosphatase. He decided she needed a CT scan of her entire abdomenal area.
They found masses in her liver, and in the intestinal 'sheath', which are consistent with metastasised cancer. They don't know what kind. They need to do an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy to find out. Depending on the kind of tissue they find, the treatment can be straightforward and not terribly hard, or it can be miserable. We'll have to meet with her oncologist again, Dr. Gosewehr.
Of course, my contract with Intel (even though extended a month) ends Friday of next week, and it looks as though they won't be able to hire me on as a direct contract. I'm trying to find work, as well. This could become interesting in a very bad way.
Prayers and good thoughts are welcome.