Cancerversary #1

by Paola PalmieriNeuroendocrine CancerNovember 9, 2020View more posts from Paola Palmieri

This article was originally posted on Paola’s blog.

June 1st 2018 – I decided that June 1st is my cancerversary. Technically it is, give and take a few days. I was diagnosed one year ago. Something about the first that connotes a fresh start, a new beginning, a new chapter. I guess having a cancer diagnosis is exactly that one way or another. There is always the “me” pre-diagnosis (see story The “Pre-diagnosis” Me) and the “me” post-diagnosis. This is a reflection on the past year as the post-diagnosis “me” – Here it goes:

It’s been a crazy year… so many emotions, challenges, difficulties, opportunities, discoveries, etc… It started with a visit to the GI, then to the ultrasound technician at North Shore Medical center, after to the endless scans, and finally to the biopsy in Mt Sinai that verified anyone’s worst nightmare: Cancer.

After that, I started with my first oncologist visit to get the results, Dr Bao said, “I have good news and bad news. Bad news is that it is cancer. Good news is that it is the lottery of cancers. The one you want to get if you had to choose to have it.” Way to put it, Dr Bao! Who the hell would choose to get cancer? But, alas, here I am!

I did leave that visit feeling good and jumping up and down: I am not gonna die!!! As the weeks passed by, and I spoke with other doctors for second and third opinions, I started learning little by little about my condition. So far, my treatment was monthly injections of LAR. So I thought, “That’s all? I have cancer and all I need is a monthly jab for the rest of my life? Well That was easy! Should I even consider myself a survivor? Do I even deserve to be in the cancer patient category? I mean those people have it bad, and I am not really one of them”.

It was not long before l realized it was not that easy.

In the next few months, I saw a specialist and we began my other treatment- liver embolization. We did 4 rounds of this. This shit would leave me feeling like I had been run over by a train twice! It was intense!! But I finished and with decent results. Now I get to relax until August and then start my next treatment – PRRT. I use the word “relax” very loosely here as one can never actually “relax” when you know you have a crap load of tumors in a vital organ.

Turns out it really isn’t as easy as I thought. I am living a normal life, and I am fully functional. Other than my anxiety that triggers my symptoms and my emotional rollercoaster ride, I would say I am doing excellent! My new diet and approach to life in general have helped me cope with this, and it is helping me see things in a new perspective. I know in my heart that there is a long future ahead of me. I am only getting ready take it all in, fight the battle, and give the best of me for as long as I can…and then some!

All in all, this past year I saw more doctors and scan machines than most people see in their lifetime. I had two ER visits, spent five days in ICU, six days in the hospital recovering from my procedure, spoken to countless doctors, lost and gained about 15 pounds (at one point I weighed 97 pounds), and been jabbed in the butt 12 times and counting. Oh! I also had my wisdom tooth taken out, but that is a different story. All of this brought me to the place where I am today. I have to say that it is a good place.

I am at peace, I feel good, and I feel positive. There is no point on looking back at the things that bring me down. I only think about the past to remember fond memories that fill my heart with happiness, otherwise I keep looking forward as there is nothing but hope and opportunities ahead!


All of the posts written for Elephants and Tea are contributed by patients, survivors, caregivers and loved ones dealing with cancer.  If you have a story or experience you would like to share with the cancer community we would love to hear from you!  Please submit your idea at https://www.elephantsandtea.com/contact/submissions/.

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