Well here I am in the summer of 2016, alive and well. After being diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008, I had abdominal surgery and heated chemo in New York. I also received intraperitoneal chemo via my ports.
First let me begin, yes I am well, working, teaching classes and exercising, all with completely negative Cat Scans. I must tell you that yes there are some bumps in my 8 year journey. For me, my major issue after abdominal surgery and that heated chemo is small bowel obstructions. Ok, now I must be honest I have had my share, but now I think I am a pro at early recognition. In 2008, I had no idea what to do with a distended abdomen and abdominal pain but go to the E.R. The treatment is always the same, pain med, cat scan, nasal gastric tube and NPO. (Nothing per oral). The only problem with the treatment is the placement of that unruly tube. Down your nose and yes into your stomach to drain everything that can’t pass through the blockage in the small intestines. Why the blockage you might ask??? Well your body after having abdominal surgery and heated chemo forms scar tissue which can pull on the intestines. If it pulls in such a way, the bowel will become narrow. When this happens, it makes it difficult for solid foods to pass, hence the dreaded bowel obstruction. Well after having 4 obstructions I finally learned that raw vegetables just can’t pass into my narrow small bowel. I can still see the orange drainage in my tube, Carrots, the dreaded vegetable!!!!!!!!! For me they are on my list of Never Eat Raw. I can proudly say I have learned that by modifying my diet I no longer visit the E.R. with an obstruction. Now, I cook my vegetables and thus they can pass through this narrow intestine. The ups and downs of surgery for this disease can be tiring BUT you will never see me back in any ER with an obstruction. It’s been 3 years for me without any abdominal issues. It takes time to understand your body but in doing so you too will ease your journey to recovery.
About Julie Russell R.N.
Julie Russell is an experienced Registered Nurse who is also a mesothelioma cancer survivor. Julie’s clinical expertise in nursing is in the area of the Cardiac Intervention. She has also been an instructor of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) for many years. Her varied nursing background includes roles as a nursing supervisor, educator and staff nurse.
Diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008, Julie has undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and become an advocate for herself and others. A mesothelioma diagnosis effects the whole family. Her two sons became active in the mesothelioma community as well. She is a passionate advocate for all patients, but peritoneal mesothelioma is a personal cause of hers. She will be a guest blogger for us. Julie will be sharing her personal experiences with peritoneal mesothelioma as she continues to live and work a full life. Since diagnosis, Julie has also become a grandmother. We invite you to follow Julie’s journey and feel free to contact her for any questions or support.