FACING CANCER TWICE AND ALMOST LOOSING MY LEG THREE TIMES!!
My story in a nutshell – from Jodie Guerrero (Jodiesjourney.com)
(My story knocks the socks of most people who read it. Delayed diagnosis of 11 months-21 doctors’ visits-7 doctors-1 frantic trip to the ER, 6 years fighting cancer x 2, Discipline of my former GP by my state medical board, Disability and of course my amazing family!! Plus we 2 gorgeous disabled daughters).
I have a wonderful American husband (married 15 years) and 2 girls 10 & 13 – both with disabilities – our older girl goes to a special school. We have had a very challenging last 13 years – but remain focused on pushing through, no matter what our circumstances.
In 2006 – I was 35 when diagnosed, I am now 42 – but look like I’m 20ish most of the time. I had just finished breastfeeding baby 2 when I found a lump. The disease I got was typically seen in patients around the 70-80 age mark and by the time it returned, they were usually dieing from something else. So for me to get this was highly unusual and rarely seen. The cause was thought to be a combination of 2 viruses.
Initially, I went to 21 different doc’s visits w/ 7 doctors and was fobbed off continuously – until I couldn’t take the pain anymore and went to the ER – that’s when we found half my body filled with Cancer (Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma) – It was threatening my R leg, so we had to have emergency radiotherapy to save it.
The kind of NHL (Low-grade Follicular NHL) that struck me is usually incurable and this is my prognosis – however, if/when it returns – I will next go in for a Stem Cell Transplant and that will not only save my life, but it may possibly cure me – by a small margin. I have to believe that I have that chance and maybe by that time, there will be a better cure for Low-grade Follicular NHL. It’s a race against time. I call myself an optimistic realist – however, our family also prays and has a strong faith.
I got through my chemo, went into remission and was determined to go back to my career in Aerospace – my dream job with Boeing in Queensland. Before I returned to work – I decided to approach the Health Quality & Complaints Commission and after 2 years of investigation – they confirmed negligence, via the Queensland Medical Board.
My main former GP was disciplined as a result. I worked for another 8 months after taking an initial 11 months off. After a while my right leg started to give me more trouble and we realized I was relapsing in the S1 nerve roots of my spinal cord, back on the chemo again and this time stronger toxicities – I got thru that, but – it seems to have left me with some immune-suppression and on-going pain.
All was well for 2 years (whilst I had 2 years of human plasma infusions) and then – I started to loose function in the R leg again – we thought it was a 3rd relapse – but this time realized it was scaring of the S1 due to radiotherapy and tumours. I have had so far 63 doses of chemo and treatment to stay alive.
Physically now I use a cane and a brace for the R leg – I have finally got my pain under control with Narcotics and 2 other pain pills all at once and I am now I see several doctors as a frequent flyer at hospital. Due to all the chemo I have had – I have low Immunoglobulins plus – low B & T Lymphocytes.
We have just finished building a special ‘health house’ in Brisbane to assist with all our health and disability needs and are now raising funds for a Hydrotherapy Pool.
Women from all over the world come to my site to read my blog and story – I have some wonderful interviews and an amazing story of optimism and faith.
My journey through Lymphoma and fighting blood cancer twice is what makes my blog so popular. Thousands visit my website every month and I have a strong 10,000+ following on FB, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn.
Recently my journey was promoted as a cover feature for Australia’s third highest selling women’s weekly magazine. Parts of my story have been broadcast on Channel 10/SBS Insight/Melbourne Age & published in an edition of magazine – ‘Women’s Health & Fitness’. Plus a lot more radio and newsletter/paper features. The short form of my story has also been published in a collection of stories from 11 inspiring Australian women. The book by ‘Ark House Press’ has been released in all major bookstores in Australia & NZ, USA and UK. I wish to work more with the current political party to shape legislation for more support for young cancer & Mum’s with illness.
I am currently writing my auto-biography, as requested for my publisher.
My life is to serve other women – who may be struggling and need assistance.
I will make good of what happened to me – so others don’t have to endure it.
Warm regards and blessings,
‘Taking my lemons & turning them into lemonade’.
Posted by , 13th November 2013