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The Other Side: My Journey With Cancer

Kippy Bracke, lives in  Minnesota, where she was born and has family.  She has a love of travel, something which was developed in her at an early age as an army brat.  She recently left corporate America and has a part time job as a Tour Director with a travel agency. 

 It came as a surprise; it usually does.  I am a Tour Director, and I was scheduled to take a group to California when I started experiencing discomfort—which I thought was indigestion.  My mother, a retired nurse, suggested that I see a doctor before I leave and follow up with further treatment, if necessary, when I come home. No problem getting in to see the doctor on Thursday afternoon.  He started with the usual questions and poking and prodding.  He finished all of this with the suggestion that I get a Cat Scan.  And so it began……

 The doctor called me at home that night (yes, you read that correctly, at night and at home) – results of the Cat Scan indicated a large mass on my ovary;  he recommended that I cancel my trip and come in the next morning for additional consultation with an oncology gynecologist.  I saw the oncologist the next day, and a whirlwind of appointments, surgery and acute anxiety started in rapid succession.

 I was in a state of shock.  Cancer.  It brings all kinds of terrible thoughts.  It can be a death sentence.   How could this happen?  I am in good physical shape; I have watched my diet; I exercise; I don’t smoke.  Why was this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this?  I cried.  Self pity had set in. Friends and family surrounded me with love and support.  If I have learned one thing from this ordeal, it is that the only things that really matter in this world are faith, family and friends.  As I struggled to understand and deal with all that was happening, it was the conversations and tears  that we shared that kept me going.

My surgery occurred within a week of the diagnosis.  I had what I describe as a hysterectomy on steroids – all things that are removed during a normal hysterectomy plus a few other organs due to the cancer.   After surgery, the oncologist said I had Stage 2 cancer and that the cancer appeared to be contained within the tumor.   I was not completely awake and out of the anesthesia, but this registered with me –- I remember smiling (don’t know if I actually did, but it felt like I did)  My husband and parents were at my bedside;  we were all relieved that the cancer had not spread. Continue reading The Other Side: My Journey With Cancer