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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Goodbye 2015, Here's to a Bright and Shiny 2016


A Rosey Tail to Tell
Dear Readers, I feel I owe you an explanation as to why I've been so terribly absent this past year.  I posted a brief explanation or two many months ago, but at that time I had no idea just how sick I would eventually get.

It all started last December (2014).   I got a tummy ache that didn't go away.  So, in March, my family doc sent me to a endocrinologist to get an endoscopy which revealed I had cancer in my esophagus, near my stomach.  The treatment involved chemo and radiation for 8-11 weeks to stop the growth and shrink the tumor.  Then I was to undergo abdominal and thoracic surgery to remove the tumor and part of my stomach and esophagus about 4 weeks after chemo/radiation ended.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks before surgery, I suffered a very large and sudden pulmonary embolism which stopped me from breathing altogether.  Luckily, my husband was at home, heard me fall, and revived me until the ambulance got here.  That landed me in ER for several hours and then ICU for a week during which time the docs were able to dissolve the clots brought on by the cancer and chemo.

They let me rest another 2 weeks, then I had to undergo that major surgery which was very invasive.  They kept me in ICU for another week, then 7 more days on the general floor for recovery.  This procedure involved cracking my ribs and chest, rearranging my innards, and many opiodes to help with the pain.  The docs keep telling me it will take at least 6 months to recover, and probably 2 years to get back to normal.  Well, that surgery occurred on October 1st, and I'm here to say, I made it.  There were major set-backs during recovery which wrecked havoc with my overall health, and I'm still recovering from some of those as well.  One issues is from the embolism event which left my heart "stretched" out from the backup of blood flow.  As digestion was hindered, I couldn't hold enough fluids down which caused my poor deformed heart to start going into tachycardia events dropping my blood pressure to dangerous levels.  One event landed me back in the ER again, and I spent another 3 days in ICU.  Yeah, that's 3 times in ICU in case you've lost track. The answer was as simple as taking anti-nausea medicines; a simple but brilliant solution to the dehydration problems.

Not all of my news is bad, though.  The pain is all but gone, and my digestive system is working again.  I've suffered nerve damage and muscle loss during the post-operative weeks, and I'm still struggling with  the residual issues of weakness and shakiness, but I AM getting noticeably stronger every week. Yes, I still remain vulnerable to infections more than normal, so I must be extra careful about keeping healthy, but I have a good family doc that keeps reminding me that I'm not normal yet and keeps me on task (he's cute that way).  No one can say it'll all go away, but I remain optimistic.  "No need to borrow on trouble," as Mom used to say, and I really am getting much better with each passing day.  Now if only my hair would grow back more quickly :)

The best news is that I'm cancer-free  now. 

Plus, I've also lost 50 pounds (in 6 weeks, ouch) which means new clothes are in my future...HUZZAH!!!   

Seriously, though....Many of you have placed me on your prayer lists, and I can't thank you enough for all your love, kindnesses and encouragements through these tough months.  I'm so grateful and touched by you and how many angels that have been sent my way through your prayers and well=wishes.   I'll remain eternally grateful, and will try my best to pay it forward.  God Bless you all in 2016. And may the New Year bring you many joys and love.

Until next time.....

                        ~~ Karen ~~

9 comments:

  1. Karen, you are such an amazing woman and I am so proud that you are my friend. I'm really not sure I could be so brave going through all you have gone through. Keeping you on my prayer list for continued healing, and that you remain cancer-free! I'm looking forward to seeing you and Lee in Florida one of these days in 2016 (hopefully!). Love & hugs!

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  2. You are such an inspiration for enduring hardships. Your attitude is great! Thank you for sharing your story with us. May the Lord continue to bless your recovery.

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  3. I am a friend of Terri's and have prayed for you along the way. God is good and He certainly heard many prayers on your behalf. I pray things continue to heal, and you regain strength. Super on new clothes!!!!
    Linda E.

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  4. I'm visiting from Ms. Terri's blog. So glad to hear you're on the mend...prayers that 2016 holds good health for you. And, having to buy a new wardrobe....that's awesome! ;-) Happy New Year!

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  5. I am here visiting from Teri to say hello and praise the Lord for His goodness to you in your behalf. May He bless and keep you in 2016 as you continue to progress. Have fun shopping for those new clothes!

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  6. Hi Karen - I'm here from Terri's blog, where she had kept us updated on you and praying! She's a great friend. :) Glad to hear the good report.

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  7. Hello Karen, WoW, you've been on quite a journey. So nice to hear you are on the road to recovery. Prayer is a mighty warrior, that's for sure. Praying you continue to improve and get stronger with each day. I'm visiting from Terri's blog!

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  8. oh, bless you! you have gone through hellfire and come out the other side! thank goodness you are getting better and your positive attitude shines like the sun here. :) may your 2016 bring all good things and good health!

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  9. I honestly don't know how you survived all that Karen, but I'm so happy to read that you're on the [long] road to recovery....I am keeping you in my prayers, and rejoicing for the cancer-free!!!!!!

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