Coffee and Cancer

by Joyce Hooker
(High Ridge, Mo)

It was 1995, when my normal ordinary life was turned upside down. I was a 38 year old wife, mother, and a recent grandmother of one. I always considered myself a pretty healthy woman, never smoked, drank liquor, exercised, and usually kept my weight down within reason! My life was busy and full. Ever since I can remember, I have always been a very independent person. My marriage was filled with love and support,a bond for life. I had some sickness at times just like everybody else,but I did not like to take medicine unless absolutely necessary. Being a woman does come with its problems, we tend to have more things that can go wrong than men do. Mine happened to be that time of the month issues.I was 37 years old when I noticed my periods became very abnormal in amount and duration. Of course, I went to my GYN doctor , he assured me it was just some hormonal problems. My doctor prescribed a mini birth control pill which would slow down my bleeding. I went to the pharmacy and did what the doc said and started my regimen of pills. I wasn't too concerned at that time, I thought it made sense what I had been told, so I went back to my normal daily routines. Months went by,the excessive bleeding continued, but I now had occasional stomach bloating and a little discomfort in my lower abdomen. I went this time to my general practitioner. My doctor did an exam, he sided with the prior GYN doctor. I was advised to continue the mini bc pills. My bloating and discomfort was probably just a little irritable bowel issues, my doctor said.It was that visit when I felt as though they were missing something, I wasn't sure of what yet. While at work one evening, I was walking down the hall when, I felt a stabbing pain up deep inside me, that stopped me dead in my tracks. It lasted briefly, then soon faded away. The next day I was back again at my GYN doc,again he assured me it was most likely hormones. I pressed the issue, that is when he asked me how many children do you have, and do you plan to have any more? I said no.I asked him why? He said you might just want to have your uterus removed to fix the bleeding problem. He gave me a pamphlet to take home and read and think it over. In the mean time he said, "We'll schedule an ultrasound on your ovaries to see if they're working." I went home and discussed it with my husband, and I decided to have my uterus removed. Soon the day arrived for my scheduled out patient surgery. My ovaries were ruled fine to leave in, so I was sent in for the procedure to start. My husband sitting in the waiting room, suddenly was confronted with a nurse stating the doctor would like to speak with you. My husband said, his knees felt weak like he couldn't stand up, he thought a problem happened in surgery and I had died. When he saw the doctor, it was then when it was revealed, I had a stage III Ovarian cancer. My husband was so afraid. I awoke in the hospital, not knowing what was going on, because I assumed I was having an outpatient surgery, and afterwards would be sent home to recover. Upon opening my eyes, to see not just my husband, but my mother, and other family members. My husband informed me I had cancer! I said, No! He explained to me the doctor's findings during surgery. I was in utter shock to say the least. I said, are you sure? He and the oncology doctor all confirmed it was cancer. That moment I felt numb, it was weird, I had never felt that before. I felt not in control of my life anymore, helpless and uncertain of my future. It may have been vain what I said next, but I told my husband I am not taking chemo. He said, you need to do whatever needs to be done. I knew the effects of that type of treatment, and was not looking forward to it. My oncologist explained to me he removed all the tumors he could, but there are still microscopic cells that can only fought with chemo. What could I do, I agreed. The first IV chemo treatment was very frightening, I had somewhat of an allergic reaction to it. My face became bright red and swollen. I could feel the medicine through the IV as it went upward in my veins. My head felt like it was starting to explode, I started to panic, the nurse assured me the the first dose usually feels like that. After ten days in the hospital,I was discharged for home. Follow-up care consisted of once a month and over night in the hospital for more chemo doses, this continued for six months. My coffee and cancer experience. Each month as we arrived at the hospital, my husband and I walked the same path past the fresh coffee stand to the elevators to the chemo floor. My chemo treatments were so hard and unpleasant. I became so violently sick and suffered the most extreme migraines you could ever imagine, that I felt ill just at the though of going through them each time. The moment we took the same walk to those elevators past the coffee stand, I caught the same smell and whiff of fresh brewed coffee, that's when my stomach churned and I felt sick, because I knew what I was about to endure again. Don't get me wrong I love coffee and always have, but that particular coffee aroma at that hospital, was a mental reminder of chemo. It has been 16 years I am happy to say I am still cancer free, but each time I have visited that particular hospital for any reason, I get a sick feeling deep in my stomach.

Comments for Coffee and Cancer

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Nov 13, 2011

just put in in paragraphs so it's easier to follow the text. great job though!

Sep 19, 2011
Really really good writing!
by: Anonymous

I think you did a stellar job on this. I felt it all with you all the way through. You captured it. Thanks for sharing. I am now 16 years cancer free, you go girl!

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