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Kala has been diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare cancer.
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Friendship isn't a big thing...it's a million little things. - unknown
This quote resonated with me as I tried to figure out how to start this story...from the moment I met Kala it's been about all of the little things that make her who she is and why I and so many of us, love her so. Kala is a fun, positive, lovable, insightful, loyal generous, faithful, and thoughtful friend. She is an amazing Mom, Grandma, daughter, Aunt, cousin, niece and friend. Kala is there for you and now is the time I am asking others to be there for her and support and encourage her on this journey she is embarking upon - Kickin' cancer's you-know-what! Kala has started radiation treatments for cancer and I've shared her full story below. Please join me in supporting Kala in her fight against cancer. This is meant to help with any financial burdens.
Thank you so much for your support, positive thoughts and prayers! She feels the love XOXO
Kala's update Oct 2, 2023...
I've debated if I should share my story, and with the encouragement of my friends, I decided it was time. They reminded me of the impact the power of prayer and positive thoughts can have from sharing. If nothing else, I hope that my journey might help someone else. The short story is that I've been diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare cancer.
Here is the long story if you're up for the lengthy read. Back in March, I was experiencing blurred vision, pain in my right eye and the right side of my neck, which caused dizziness and nausea. When I messaged my doctor, she asked me to go to the emergency room, which I thought was crazy. After all, I had already Googled and self-diagnosed. I was sure I just needed physical therapy. At my co-worker's urging, (there might have been a threat to drag me out of the office) I did go. As I was sitting in the exam room after the CT scan a notification popped up in My Chart, the CT Scan test result showed a 1.8 x 2.8 cm mass in the deep lobe of the parotid gland. CR ENT said they wouldn't touch it and referred me to UIHC. Luckily, my boss's husband works at UIHC and helped me get to the best doctor. Thank you, Angie and Ethan!
I was still experiencing all of the symptoms and taking Zofran for the nausea like it was my job. I met my doctor with UIHC, and she said the tumor was not causing the symptoms (I was later diagnosed with vestibular migraines which were treated with medication). What the Hell! Based on the location of the tumor she was unsure if they could biopsy it. She took my case to the tumor board. Who knew there was a tumor board?? The radiology team decided that they could indeed biopsy it with CT assistance. Thank you to Candy for taking me to the biopsy that started 2.5 hours late. The tumor was benign!! What a relief.
At the next appointment, my doctor said it was indeed a pleomorphic adenoma tumor and needed to be removed because it would only continue to grow and could turn cancerous. So, on August 1st they removed the tumor, and all looked good. Thank you to Dylan, and Maddie for taking me down and Aunt Rosie for staying with me! I went into surgery with about four options of how she would remove the tumor, one of them was to break my jaw! Luckily, I had the absolute best, least invasive outcome I could have asked for.
About two weeks after surgery, I received the pathology report. I had zero concerns, after all the biopsy was benign. I read My Chart (The Blessing and the Curse) at 9:30 PM... Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Of course, I immediately went to my friend, Google...what the Hell? Cancer?!?! My mind was swirling, I finally fell asleep at 4:00 AM.
My surgeon was equally surprised and again, my tumor was taken to the tumor board. I asked if this was possibly a false positive. She said she would have thought the same, but she saw it with her own two eyes. She then said, ‘You'll need radiation, 30 treatments, five days a week for six weeks.’ This is a rare cancer and can metastasize to the lungs or hitch a ride on a nerve and go to the brain. The CT scan of my lungs was clear!
Prior to head and neck radiation, you have to see the dentist. Radiation causes damage to teeth; I needed two teeth pulled. Up to this point, it all sucked but now I'm angry. I've taken care of my teeth and now I must have two perfectly healthy teeth pulled. Errgghh! Thanks to DeLoss for taking me! Pulling the teeth then triggered the return of the migraines, we adjusted the meds, and all is good again.
Last week they made me a mask (pictured) that will be used to help pinpoint the radiation. The mask is creepy as Hell by itself but they snap it onto the table so you can't move your head. They put the mask on and put me into an MRI Machine. I never thought I was claustrophobic, but this freaked me out!
Last Friday, accompanied by my friends Andrea and Jaimen (Thank you!!), I went for a radiation test run. I started radiation today! One down and 29 treatments to go. I was struggling with the mask. When it’s snapped onto the table it was so tight against my face, my lips bothered me the most, making me feel like I was being suffocated. Today they were able to cut a hole in the mask which made me feel like I could breathe.
The biggest lesson I've learned so far is that it's okay to accept help, it's okay if people do nice things for you, and it's okay if people care about you. I've been independent for so long that honestly, it's a struggle to accept all the kindness...but I'm getting better at it! I'm surrounded by so much love and people that care about me...although this sucks, I feel like one of the luckiest girls in the world!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. I would appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts you have to spare. Cancer SUCKS and I’m going to kick its booty!
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