19 Oct

I didn’t get to start chemo this past Thursday, but nonetheless, it was an eventful day. Dr. Great had some more great (obvi) news. My tumor is apparently a weird blend of a less aggressive type cancer and something known as borderline ovarian cancer. This is good. I met a bunch of people who will be joining team Colleen and we checked in with my leaky hematoma and made a plan for chemo. I’ve chosen to be part of a study through the National Cancer Institute. I’ll be receiving the standard treatment for ovarian cancer, a combination of taxol and carboplatin as well as a drug called avastin. I wouldn’t have access to this avastin drug unless I enrolled in this study. Don’t everybody panic though – this is not an EXPERIMENT or something, nobody is EXPERIMENTING with my cancer. Avastin is used in lots of different types of cancer, including recurrent ovarian cancer, it’s just not part of the standard ovarian cancer protocol yet.

I’ll be starting my chemo this coming week. They’re going to put a port in my chest so the veins in my arms won’t get all scarred up from the toxic drugs they’re going to dump into my body. My chest X-rays will look kind of like this from now on:

My X-rays will look like that, unless there’s something bad happening in that picture. Is there something bad happening in that picture? I didn’t get to imaging in med school yet.

My hair is going to fall out, but it will grow back. As soon as it starts to fall out, I’m just going to shave my head because I think have weird clumps of hair sprouting irregularly out of my head will be worse than just being bald. I think the strangest part will be my lack of eyebrows.

I also had a CT scan this past Thursday, to get a pre-chemo baseline of what my insides look like. I drank two canisters of this goo, berry AND banana flavored.

nice action shot, right?

My CT scan looked nice and clean, but this barium sulfate smoothie did not make me feel so good. After we left the hospital, we headed out to pick up some take out and crash at a hotel. The car ride did not improve the mood of the marching band in my belly. We finally arrived at the luxurious Ramada Inn in Seekonk, MA. My mom went inside to check in, and I was all like “No, no, I’m good, I think I’ll just walk around a bit, get some air.” Let’s keep in mind I’m wearing sweatpants and clogs and some kind ratty homeless sweater, and I’m shuffling like Ozzy Osbourne (because that’s how I walk after major surgery) in front of the Ramada which is scenically located along some rush hour crazy busy interstate.

And then, I know it, I’m going to puke. I can’t run, because, well, have you ever seen Ozzy Osbourne run? No. I’ll never make it to a bathroom, so I shuffle to this grassy patch in front of the Ramada and projectile vomit CT scan dye ALL over the place. Three times. I should have waved to the commuters.

You can laugh, it’s pretty funny. I laughed and then ate three mozzarella sticks for dinner and then passed out watching Law & Order.


10 Responses to “Chemo-sabe”

  1. Dana October 19, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Colleen, you never fail to make me laugh at this not so funny situation. I’m so happy to see you haven’t let any of this get the best of you. You have an amazing and inspiring spirit. I can’t wait to see you! Much love!


  2. Liza October 19, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    Okay….I figured out that to add a comment I go to the bottom of the page, not just press the “comment” button and wait for the window to appear in front of my eyes……..So, it all sounds good! And funny, ( you write so well and you are so funny!) and worrisome at the same time. I know a few moms who have had ovarian cancer and sport really great wigs…..But, I like the idea of just a completely shaved head-no wig……can’t wait to see whether you go glam blonde wig or rad baldy!

  3. Emily October 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    I think you should get a sweet ass tat on your freakin scalp to show off!!

  4. Marg October 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    You are so funny and I will never watch Ozzie Osbourne again without thinking of your shuffle! That barium is definitely better out than in. So happy the news is good. Please keep the blogs coming and know that I’m thinking of you everyday. I am going to try and visit in November and would love to do some wig shopping! I’m thinking Joan from Madmen red. Totally hot!

  5. Claire October 20, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    Colleen, thanks for keeping this blog up to date!!! Love to read it! Stay strong and positive!!

    All our love, Claire George and Ann

  6. barbara call October 20, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    hey colleen: you are sort of living the med school experience form the other side, which ultimately can only make you a better doc. Too bad about no cure for the common cold I gave your mother…bet she was livid. Drove around Brown and thought it a lovely facility; so smart to go to the top of the heap and then teach them something. Sending you love, light, strength to handle projectiles coming and going and yeah, love the shunt! Love you all, Barb

  7. EReid October 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    Hooray hooray hooray for Dr. Great/Team Colleen and good news!

    As someone who has experienced projectile vomiting first hand, I am laughing–because when you projectile vomit that really is all you can do. Topping it off with a few Mozz sticks is really the icing on the cake. Also, I’m a fan of the action shot!

    For more laughs, see this:


    ps–portacaths= wayyyy badasssss

  8. E-Fab October 21, 2010 at 10:29 am #

    I love how the portacath looks like some Janet Jackson nipple ring on the x-ray. Was watching the Bourne Supremacy last night and was totally freaked out how Julia Stiles(as Nicky)looks eerily like you. Check out 1:35 into the video. She even has the scarf thing going.
    Am thinking about you every day and know that your sense of humor and your great attitude are going to kick some cancer butt. Keep it up!

  9. Siobhan October 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm #

    Colleen, you may temporarily lose your hair but you’ll never lose those dimples!!
    I have a blonde student who last week had very long hair. Tuesday she came to school with a very short haircut. I complimented her on her ‘new’ hair and she told me she’d donated her ‘old’ hair to ‘Locks For Love’, an organization that makes wigs for chemo. patients. We’re ALL sending good vibes your way……looking forward to reading more!
    Love from all of us here in the Buckeye State. ~Siobhan

  10. murial February 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    I am laughing so hard because I’ve been just exactly inside of this day, with another silly-strong lady of the fight. The puking in the chain-hotel lot, the speed shuffle, etc. It’s all there, except we ended with Red Robin burgers and Criminal Minds.

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