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My Cancer Story...

My sister Kelly was diagnosed in 2018 with cancer but never received a diagnosis of what kind of cancer until close to the end of her life. She opted to receive Chemo and radiation in hopes of saving her life. The results were devastating. The Chemo and radiation gave her Neuropathy and she was unable to walk again. She got super sensitive to the cold and it was horrible watching her try to be brave and be in severe pain when it was cold. She had a tumor in her colon and it was removed but the cancer had spread already. The Chemo and radiation only complicated her condition and remedied her an invalid. I watched her vomit endlessly and listened to her scream when the pain was in her back kept her from standing up straight. Her oncology doctor was never honest with her and never listened to her complaints about the neuropathy. He continue to dismiss her complaints and continued with the endless poison that they dumped in her system. She never responded well to the treatments and I was horrified with the results.


February 2019 - Kelly was rushed to St. Vincent's in Billings, MT because she fell, couldn't get up and was in severe pain. I was at the hospital when the oncologist entered her room and told her that there was no hope and that she was not a good candidate for Immunotherapy. Shit. No hope.... They arranged for her to be transferred to Hospice in Cody so her husband John could still go to work and be close to her. She made it to 3 days before her 59th Birthday. She passed away on March 26th 2019. I vowed to never be a lab rat for Chemo or Radiation therapy after watching her be poisoned and not having any quality of life after being treated.


2020 started out great with vacation rental bookings and it was going to be a promising rental season.


COVID19. Ok, everyone that is sick of COVID has lived this weird and scary year. Lockdowns started in March 2020 and my entire reservation list vaporized. Everyone cancelled and no one was allowed to travel including me. Since I work for the City of Cody, I was banned from leaving the County. Is this legal? I don't know but I need to stay employed for a couple more years so I am a smart girl and comply with lockdowns.


Lockdowns continue til June and then the entire country is sick of being locked down. Reservations began to return with a vengeance. People are escaping the cities and trying to find a social distance place where they can get out of their houses. WELCOME TO YELLOWSTONE! We are naturally social distanced here in Wyoming and my doors are open! God is still watching out for me and continually blessing me. Reservations exploded and the rental year was awesome!.


The year was weird with mask wearing mandated, not coming within 6 feet of people and being told not to make physical contact with people when they called the police for service. We were taking calls by phone as much as possible. What are we doing?!!! Ok, so I don't like to write tickets to law abiding citizens for small infractions so this was not a problem for me. It was BORING as hell working 12 hour shifts, sitting in our cars and not doing anything. I listened to a lot of audio books, got reacquainted with Classic Rock and Roll and grew bed sores on my butt from sitting so much.


By July, Cody was sick of being locked down and the Cody Stampede went on when everyone else canceled their PRCA Rodeos. GO WYOMING! We will not be ruled by the weak minded politicians. OK, sorry, my type A personality is obvious here.


With summer over, I became the Cody Middle School, School Resource Officer. I was really getting into this position and loved being around the kids in the school. My Grandson, Lance, was there and it was fun seeing him everyday. I loved my new job.


I have always had frequent urination problems for at least 5 years and I was used to drinking a cup of water and having to go pee instantly. Ugh! I had to drop my duty belt and hope I could make it to the bathroom. I had been complaining to my VA doctor that I wanted that little pill that was the off button for my bladder. The little commercial with the bladder leading a lady around was me but 10 times worse! I was blown off every time I mentioned it to my VA doc. It was maddening to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes and pee a teaspoon. It was ruling my life and I couldn't do anything about it.


In September 2020, I noticed a blood clot in the toilet when I went pee. My urges were almost painful and my bladder just seized so hard it hurt. After several weeks of seeing blood and wiping blood when I went pee, I called the VA. No appointments were going to be available for several months. Big surprise. Thank you socialism and President Obama. One day, I filled the toilet bowl with blood. Called the VA again. OK, go to Urgent Care. I'm on it.


I arrived and gave them a urine sample. Filled the cup with blood. Wow! That doesn't look good. Hmmm. Ok they will see that and be worried. Nope. I have a UTI they said. Gave me antibiotics and said in 7 days I will be good as new. OK. Yippee! Hey! can I get that little pill so I can turn off my bladder? Oh yeah, go to Billings Clinic. The Nurse Practitioner can get you a prescription. YES!!!! FINALLY AN OFF BUTTON!!!. Urgent care was going to send my urine to the lab and let me know if there was anything I need to worry about. Ok, cool.


I got my prescription for Oxybutynin. Yahoo! I was going to see results in a couple of weeks! I CAN'T WAIT!!! 7 days later, I was still wiping blood. Dangit. Maybe the antibiotics need a little more time. I waited 7 more days. More clots and more blood. OK, something is still wrong.


I called the VA. I am still bleeding. The response was, OK we will send you to OB/GYN to see a doctor. NO! It's not there. I haven't had a period in 18 years. ITS NOT THAT! Well, we need to eliminate that. OK, but it's only when I pee. OK, we will also see if we can get you to a urologist. Great! Heard other women with complaints of frequent urination that drives them crazy and occasionally they have blood in urine from UTI's. I had never had a UTI in my life so I thought it was nothing when all of this started.


Because my sister died of colon cancer, I earned the unique privilege of having colonoscopies every 3 years vs 10 for normal people. I was being a good girl and keeping up with that and had a few polyps removed. OK, good, keep that from getting me too. Pay attention to your body and don't be stupid or complacent. The Oxybutynin was having no effect on my frequent urination problems but I was still hopeful that it would kick in.


October 12 - Happy Birthday in the mountains. My friend and hunting partner Dan made me a cake and I was in the Bighorn Mountains for a few days. Love it there and love hunting elk there. Spectacular scenery, great hunting friends and peace! No tags for me this year so I didn't stay my usual week and hunt with everyone.


When I got down, I got a call that I have an appointment with urology on October 22nd. PERFECT! Never heard from OB/GYN. Doesn't matter, didn't need that anyway. ITS NOT THAT!!! Why waste money on something that wasn't. What do I know? The VA knows what's best for me, right?


Back track to the Military days - In 1982 the military left my arm broke for 6 months before they acknowledged that it was still broke. Like compound fracture broke! I kept telling them that it was broke and the ortho surgeon said it was not broke. Go back to work, stop riding sick call and stop contacting me. My aunt finally looked at it, saw that it was broke and raked him over the coals and demanded an X-ray. Great - Goodbye E4 hello private. I didn't want to ever make Sergeant anyway. Lowly enlisted Army personnel have no right to tell Officers anything let alone how to do their jobs. My aunt got it done and an Xray showed that my arm was broken and had been for so long, the ends were smooth and a large gap between the ends. I don't think it's supposed to look like that but hey, I'm just a little Army Specialist who needed to mind her own business, stop whining and get to work on those broken Jeeps and deuce and a halfs in the motor pool! Great! Finally got it fixed after several grafts from my hips and plates and screws. Yahoo! I have two arms again!!!!


I draw some disability from the nerve damage and the wreck that they left my arm and collar bone in. Took a year to get my collar bone fixed. The Ortho surgeon wanted to cut my left collar bone out. I really thought that was an important bone since it held my bra strap up and I didn't want my left boob hanging 6 inches lower than my right. Might be hard to get a belt around that. Oh yeah, he did tell me I wouldn't want to put a backpack on my shoulder when he took it out or carry a purse there. Uh, yeah... NO! His response was OK, I'll fix it and plate it but I will have to graft it from your other hip. Almost a year from the date that I broke it in a crash, I am grafted, plated and on the mend, but I have nerve damage from the bones grinding together because they were not set or repaired in a timely manner. The Army hated me because I was a pain in the ass with all this broken bone whining and we just want you to go to work and do your job. I WOULD IF I HAD TWO ARMS!!!!


OK, fast forward to October 22, 2020. Dr. Faaborg at St. Vincent's Urology gets the privilege of meeting Officer Rayna Wortham who was in good health in 2019 and is falling apart in 2020. I'm hating turning 58. Dr. Faaborg is this tall, young, pretty, blonde curly long haired twin to Thor!) If you have to spread your legs for someone that you aren't sleeping with, he may as well be pretty! Thank you GOD! LOL. Sorry Matt...


After explaining the symptoms, I earned a bladder scope. Yahoo! That sounds like a barrel of fun with mister pretty. OK, not so much but you have to have a sense of humor when you are trying to be brave and you are in a freezing room and your bladder and all those other things down there are creeping up into your throat because it's COLD! He might need a longer scope to reach that far. Do they have extensions for those? Just curious... Please don't let me pee on him or worse! Lol.


Dr. Faaborg's next words were "I'm so sorry, Honey" HuH? What does that mean? There it was, a tumor on my bladder and another one that was smaller right next to it. Well, that's the off button I have been searching for. Push it and see if it shuts off the gotta go, gotta go, gotta go song. Lol.


Dr. Faaborg is a professional so he didn't point and laugh during the scope so I am grateful. I can't say I would have been so professional in the same position. Must be why there is no Dr. in front of my name. OK, now what?


Surgery. OK, I am going on vacation on the 8th of November for a week. I have cancelled every dive trip this year because of COVID and Matt and I are going to Moab and the Grand Canyon to socially distant. Lets do the surgery after the 15th. Dr. Faaborg "Nope, we are scheduling surgery for next week". Nope! After the 15th. Nope, next week. Wait, What?


Dr. Faaborg told me that he only thought the cancer was only stage 2 maybe 3. OK, what does that mean? Dr. Faaborg explained that as long as the tumor was only in the lining of the bladder and not in the muscle, we could just remove them and do some treatment. OK, let's do that after the 15th. Nope, next week. Why? Bladder cancer is aggressive and fast moving and we don't want it outside of the bladder wall or we could have bigger problems because bladder cancer is 100% fatal. Ok, he got my attention. Dead? Me? No way, I survived the Army, terrorists and police work for 25 years, I am invincible!. Well, Ok, Maybe not really. OK, I'm headed to surgery and get this cut out on October 28. Pray for no muscle invasion...


October 28, 2020. I am admitted for outpatient surgery. St. Vincent's Surgery Plus, Billings, MT. This hospital staff is class A. They were great and they didn't make me get up, make my own bed and walk a mile to the mess hall to eat. OK, well I was only there for part of one day, maybe I would have had to make my bed if I stayed longer. Do I get a big discount for leaving and going back to work?


Mr. Awesome is flying in and will be here when I get out of surgery. He is amazing. He flew to Korea and back and jumped on a flight to Salt Lake without even going home. Made it to Billings a little before I got out of surgery. I am a very lucky girl. He's going to stay through all of this when it would be easier to walk away and not have to watch this tragedy unfold. I am so humbled by his generosity and caring attitude. He's going to stay and take care of me for a few days before he has to get back to life in Ohio. He's seen me at my worst and is still committed to stay. Thank you God!


Before I left I got the good news that i get to keep my catheter for 2 weeks and not one. Ok, I'm good with that. I can walk and pee at the same time and no one knows I'm doing it! Hey, this is not so bad! Walking around Walmart and peeing without having to undress. I think I like this! Men have no idea how good they have it. Week 2 - Oh please take this thing out! I can't walk without my bladder seizing and it HURTS!. No more walking and peeing. Walking is painful because of the bladder seizures. OK, my days of being a man are done. I will undress and pee and be glad to do it but please let me have my dignity back. Come on November 11 so I can get this OUT!



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