Natalia's journey

In reality our entire family news will be shared through this blog as our baby grows and as we fight cancer.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Literally and figuratively .... You can't even imagine what we've been through since last Wednesday. No need to watch the latest drama/suspense show... I've got ER showing unannounced right here at home!

The usual scans were scheduled, life was hectic as Raymond was constantly away for an intense summer project with the youth. Wednesday rolled around and Raymond was going to take care of Andryusha while I was at MDA.... well, I got up tired after another bad night of "imitation sleep" and slowly drove off. That day was hot and I was feeling dizzier under the sun waiting for the bus to take me to MDA. I thought things were getting better once I was taken in promptly but then I had trouble gulping down all 3 cups of the contrast. Mind you, I am already on the thin version (Gastro) that's milder on the stomach but now I know my sensitive stomach can't tolerate even that. I had to stop at a little over 2 cups and went for scanning. For whatever reason, the tech lady did the scan in a different order and left me laying on the table after additional contrast infusion. I tried to tell her that I needed to get up to breathe (I get nauseous and dizzy) but she kept me down as she took the last 2 slides. Well, I could barely walk once she helped me get up and I was short of breath. The nurses were great there though - they immediately hooked me up to oxygen, took my pulse and blood pressure which was low 80s over low 50s. Once I was stabilized I went home and I was so exhausted I went straight to bed only to be up a few hours later with shivering fever. Covered with two more blankets I felt better though my stomach was not cooperating so I was up and down all night long. Thursday came along and I knew I was not right ... sick in my stomach, weak all over the body, temperature spiking up and down and Andryusha coming down with a similar fever! I think we have a strange connection -- my baby feels everything that's going on with me and gets sick in his little efforts of relieving me from pain! I guess I do the same when he gets sick and I follow him. Well, we've been through all this before and it's hardly scary anymore -- we just deal with it.

Here is when the real scare kicked in.... Thursday morning I started having some sharp chest pain and it didn't go away through the day, and in the night as I was having fevers again I realized the pain was keeping me awake and it was so sharp that I could hardly lay in bed, I couldn't lay on my left side; Friday crept in and I started having difficulties completely exhaling due to the chest pain. Fast forward this to another feverish night where I am staring into the night trying to find some reasonable explanation of what could it be, naturally thinking 'I hope it's not another pneumonia', where in the world could I get it and since I am not coughing (but I do have trouble swallowing) what else could it be..... what else? what else? ... and then it dawned on me ... and the sheer idea left me breathless for a long while! The intensity, the gripping power of this one thought left me paralyzed for more than a few minutes. Even my mind was frozen and helpless as I laid alone in the bed. Raymond was gone working with youth, Andryusha was finally asleep and I've never felt so alone and so scared in this universe! Yes, I was scared of IT coming back!

Even now, as I write this, tears are coming back and I get that sinking feeling in the stomach again.... That night, though, I didn't even have the tears ... no reaction, other than, is IT back? In October 2005, 2 weeks after my baby was born I started having a cough which turned into the chest pain that would not let me lay down on my left side or breathe freely. A week later I was told I had cancer.... do you see the parallel? The weekend was awful... I honestly told Raymond what was on my mind, he came home at once, refusing to believe but also scared. Another draggy night came on, and once Andryusha fell asleep we weeped away hugging intensely each other. Our little world was at stake ... and we are all shaken again! Is Monday ever coming?

Yes, it is ... at a turtle pace Monday came; we haven't been so anxious to see the results and Raymond wanted to come along but decided since Andryusha was just barely recovering it's was safer for boys to stay home and I would call from MDA. Finally, Liz (the nurse) came for me ... the usual questions came... any symptoms, pains, problems? And I broke down.... YES, YES, YES! I have symptoms and I am scared for life! What are my results?! And she is so sweet and understanding ... "Well, I haven't seen them yet, but let me see if I can get them NOW" in the meantime let's take your blood pressure/weight/temperature .... My blood pressure was elevated (high 90s over 60s - unusual for me since the transplant), and yes, I am dying hot to know my results. She comes out with the print out - "Here you go, it says YOU ARE ALL GOOD!"

I am good? I AM good?! I AM GOOD!! IT'S NOT CANCER! THANK YOU GOD! I hugged her and burst into happy tears ... then I called Raymond and we cried together, this time from infinite happiness! Yes, that's all it takes to be happy -- to know you still have a chance to live the LIFE! The excitement brought back the chest pain but it was now OK ... whatever it is, we can fix it! Then my favorite oncologist came in and we had a serious talk of what it could be. He examined me, asked numerous questions and finally said that it's strange that it came so late in the game but more than likely, I have pericarditis or pluratis as a result of radiation and it's good to get an EKG and see a cardiologist.

So this is the grand finale of ER episode 101: I am alive, 4 lbs lighter and CANCER FREE, I had an EKG and will see a cardiologist on Jule 24. Chest pain is under control, stomach is stable ... just some nagging pain under the right rib and liver aching (my guess is from all the stress). I may sound like a 70-80 year old lady but I am still kicking! :)


  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger TheBehst said…

    With tears of joy, I wish you good night.

  • At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow Natalia:

    You kept me on the suspense with your extraordianry writing in your blog. Thanks God with the latest news from your test results!! I am so happy and excited to share the news with Mioara!!!

    God bless you. Your trials and tests make some of my complains about life so trivial. Thanks for sharing it with the world!

    A big hug from your friends in Seabrook.

  • At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Natasha, I was crying for you, but I am so happy you are cancer-free!
    May it never come back!


    Julia Bobrysheva

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Susan said…

    Dearest Natalia,
    How my heart jumped for joy to read CANCER FREE. You truly went through more than one "darksome night of despair". I am so grateful that you are being watched over by such loving and caring people. Our prayers and thoughts embrace you and surround you, always.


  • At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Tayebeh said…

    our prayer with you and your family. you are in my list prayer.

  • At 2:10 AM, Blogger Olya said…

    a kak u vas, Dolly ne doshla?

    kak u tebya dela?

  • At 2:53 AM, Blogger Olya said…

    zolotye slova...

    PS ei, pishi dal'she blog, vsio ravno pis'ma ne pishehs' :))

    PPS privet Raymond'u.

  • At 7:30 AM, Blogger Olya said…

    мне тоже твой блог нравиться :))
    не то слово.. а ты грозишься закрыть :(

    ПС спасибо за ссылку

  • At 3:52 AM, Blogger Olya said…

    ну как, дождик уже был?

    ПС какие новости?

  • At 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey girl,

    I am so happy that you are doing fine and the scans came back clean!!!! A lot of stuff you are experiencing might be some sort of post treatment side affects. My husband got sick and treated at MD at pretty much the same time as you. His Hodgkin’s history is very similar to yours. He is also cancer free at the moment. He is able to work full time but some after treatment side affects started showing up. He was very tired for a while and we thought IT CAME BACK. I did some research that radiation might have fried his thyroid little bit too much. We checked it and were right. He has started drinking meds and this problem is under control now. He started having huge problems with the sleep. He can sleep for 3 days or he cannot fall asleep at night. So, I asked the doctor to schedule some sleep study and they found a pretty bad sleep apnea and he even does not snore. Apparently, it is also due to the radiation. He was prescribed a sleeping mask and his sleep is getting under control. The doctor also explained that during the transplant some signals in bone marrow that send the information to the brain when to go to sleep and when to wake up can be destroyed. You went through a very rough treatment and highly likely you can be experiencing some weird post treatment affects. Try to get them under control.

    Keep up your good work! I LOVE YOUR BLOG!



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