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Showing posts from September, 2013

More complications on the way to chemo completion

The hits just keep on coming. Why can't any of this be easy?

This was all hard enough when it was "just" a new mom being diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer during the birth of her first child. But in hindsight, the early days of chemotherapy were relatively simple and well-tolerated.

When Amanda went into hospital this summer for the major surgery to remove the remaining tumours and perform a radical hysterectomy, her big fear was that they'd find a lot more cancer. I was more afraid of simple things like bleeding and hospital-acquired infections.

Sometimes I hate being right.


As mentioned last time, Amanda was admitted to hospital with a fever that the doctors figured was caused by an abscess about the size of two Chicken McNuggets. She was in for about a week as they dosed her with antibiotics and got a better handle on the pain from the intraperitoneal chemotherapy that leaked into the surrounding tissue.

She was eventually discharged and we returned to the No…

Amanda's message for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

Thanks to the Canadian Cancer Society for turning Amanda's notes and one of my photos into a concise and moving message for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. This was posted on Facebook and has been spread widely.


From the Facebook post:
Amanda is a proud mother, cancer fighter and passionate advocate for ovarian cancer awareness.

Diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer 5 months ago when her baby was born, 34-year-old Amanda is thankful every day for baby Gordon and for the support her mother and stepfather have provided:

“They have taken on the majority of the baby’s day-to-day care to allow my husband to continue to work and me to rest and cope with the side effects of treatment. They have sacrificed so much to help us. They bring the baby to my bedside and hospital room – wherever I am – to ensure our mother-child bond stays strong. Gordon is constantly surrounded by love and is a beautiful, thriving little boy.”

Her advice to other mothers with cancer: “You must take care of you…

Complications take best hope for cancer cure off the table

It's going to take a bit longer to grieve the loss of a treatment that had seemed like the greatest opportunity to nail Amanda's ovarian cancer forever.

The much-ballyhooed treatment that we'd put so much hope into as the best chance to extend Amanda's life is no longer an option, thanks to complications from the very same treatment.

I've written here about intraperitoneal chemotherapy -- IP chemo, aka IPHC or HIPEC -- and how it's done: a port is surgically implanted to pour intense doses of cell-killing chemicals into the abdominal cavity in hopes of bathing any stray cancer cells and remaining tumours in a toxic bath. Better to soak the bad guys in the killer juice directly, the theory goes, than to flush the whole body with with harsh chemicals in the hope that some of it will reach the target.

In Amanda's case, some of the chemo fluid seems to have leaked from the port site into surrounding tissue during one of the two IP treatments she was given. That…