The Last Drip: A Survivor’s Goodbye To Cancer

The Last Drip: A Survivor’s Goodbye To Cancer

[mellow guitar music] – [Voiceover] No one ever wants
to hear a cancer diagnosis. But when you hear those
three words, you have cancer, it changes your life completely. The comfort of your daily
routine is turned upside down, and what was once the way
you did it, is no more. [mellow guitar music] Maintaining a healthy diet is essential to maintaining your strength, but with the loss of taste
comes the loss of appetite. Food no longer is a
pleasure, it is a necessity. Everything in your world seems different, yet nothing has changed. Simple tasks that we take for granted now challenge us and
become goals to achieve. (mellow guitar music) Over 20,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with
ovarian cancer every year. Symptoms of ovarian cancer
can be so vague and mild, it often goes undetected
until the later stages. As an otherwise healthy person, I was diagnosed with
stage-four ovarian cancer at the age of 44, and began intensive intravenous and intraparitonial
chemotherapy treatments two weeks after surgery. Preparing for chemotherapy
treatments is your new normal. Not only has your body changed, but your mind has changed as well. I found myself avoiding the mirror because the reflection I saw was not me. This unexpected journey has been a long and difficult one, but one that has redefined me. As a baby most of us are born bald and do not have the
knowledge at such a young age to understand, much less even be aware, of the hair that’s growing on our body. As we mature and learn about such things, they become staples in our lives, and somewhat define who we are, until the moment you are
diagnosed with cancer. During treatment, normal staples diminish because of the harsh
nature of chemotherapy. A bit of your identity that
you have known since birth is suddenly lost. It’s changed me and I for some reason am drawn to wanting to let people know how this happened to me,
how it happens to people, ’cause it was a complete shock. One year ago, had I known
symptoms and things like that, maybe things would have been different. Hello.
– [Nurse] Hello. I’ll get your weight.
How you feeling today? – Better than the other
day, that’s for sure. – Good. – That was not a good day. – I know, I felt so bad for you. Okay. – [Voiceover] Stress
and anxiety can’t help but get the best of you sometimes – [Nurse] You’re up a little bit. – Can’t imagine why it’s up today. – [Nurse] I know. Oh, two’s perfect. – [Diane] At least something’s right. Routine procedures for doctors and nurses are potential life-changing
actions for me. I must trust their knowledge and hope that every decision
made is the best one. I’m reminded, as I head
into my last treatment, that soon someone new will be replacing me in my usual treatment chair. Their journey is just beginning and they will not know the
difficulties that lie ahead. – [Nurse] Okay? – Mm-hm. Osiris, the Egyptian god of
the afterlife, once said, “You’re not the same
individual you were a year ago, a month ago, or a week ago. You’re always growing. Experiences don’t stop. That’s life.” – [Nurse] Do you know what your CA-125 is? – [Diane] I think I do. It’s 9.8. So that’s down from 2,400. – [Nurse] That’s pretty amazing. – [Diane] Yeah. – [Nurse] Alright, nice deep breath in. – [Diane] Yeah, in seven
months, 2,400 down to 9.8 and normal is 35– – [Nurse] And under. Yep. – So, 9 might be my baseline. – [Nurse] Yep. – And the next time you’ll do
a CA-125 blood test is when? – [Nurse] You’re gonna go
for your four-week CAT scan of your abdomen and chest, and then you’ll see him right after, within a couple of days,
if it’s not the same day, and we’ll draw it then. From there, it’ll be every six weeks. – [Diane] And that’s the nervous part. – [Nurse] I know. It’s the waiting. But we definitely do try to get it so that you’re seen right after the CAT scan, so that you don’t have
to wait for the results, so that you know that day what things are looking like. – We’re not even gonna
think about what if. – Yes. – [Voiceover] Throughout
the poking and prodding, you learn to cherish those few moments that give you a sense of normalness. – [Diane] When I first started this, I was super ticklish here. It was kind of funny. – [Nurse] Now I’m gonna
grab, this will be ticklish. Nice deep breath in. – Didn’t feel a thing. (calming music) What does that do, that clear stuff? – [Nurse] This just holds
everything kinda on in. You wanna start your pre-meds? – That kinda makes me… – [Nurse] A little sleepy. – Goofy, though. I don’t think I’ve ever
said anything really stupid. – No, you haven’t. – [Man] I hope you do this time. (laughing) – Pre-meds are Benadryl,
– [Nurse] Benadryl, dexamethasone, and then
a nausea medication. So, that takes about 20 minutes,
but I keep fluids running through the chest port
for a period of time. And then I’m gonna hook
up the port to the abdomen and she’ll get fluids
first and then the chemo. And the chemo takes, like
three hours to run through. – [Voiceover] The
relationships that you make while undergoing chemotherapy treatment are like none other. – Hello. – I’m good. – Good to see you today. – Big day today. – I’m a little nervous, I don’t know why. – Everything’s, I think, going
in my favor, numbers and … – Right. – So, when you say a while, that’s … – Okay. – Okay. – So, like you said in the beginning, we’re gonna be seeing each
other for a long time. – [Voiceover] Doctors and nurses
become a part of your life and you become a part of theirs. Fellow patients become your inner circle with whom you learn from and teach. Your strength doesn’t
come from what you do, it comes from overcoming what
you thought you couldn’t. – At the drop of a hat, I can cry for, just ’cause I think about what’s going on. And then other times I get super tough and I get mean and mad. I’m gonna beat this stupid
thing and kick it to the curb. (inspiring piano music) – I remember saying something
to you about getting dressed or doing little things
– [Diane] I remember that. make you feel better, and the next time you came in, you were dressed.
– [Diane] That’s right. – You’re like, I got dressed for the first time.
– [Diane] I remember that. – And you had a smile on your face for the first time that I had ever seen. I’d never seen you smile. – I know everybody loves
me, cares about me and wants nothing but the best
for my treatment and that, but there were some times
that I just didn’t wanna talk. I wasn’t physically up for
talking, mentally up for talking. I just didn’t wanna have
any contact with anybody. My husband, he knew about that, and he would kind of talk to people for me and update them and give them my results every time I would come here, And then there were other times that I didn’t wanna be
without talking to somebody. I didn’t want to be alone. Other times, I wanted to be alone, but I wanted somebody in the house. – The worse off she was, the easier it was for me to give care because she was so dependent
on everything from me. And as she got better and better, or cycled up and down in her treatments, it was a little more
difficult for me to give care because she wasn’t so dependent on me. There was resistance sometimes when I would want her to do things, so, as a caregiver, I never
had played that role before, but I was exposed to it and I tried to do the best that I could. – I’m sure there were days that he left the house, saw the state that I was in, the weakness and everything, and he probably just felt that that was the last thing he
wanted to do, was leave me. But, you gotta pay the bills. This isn’t a cheap disease to get. Some people go bankrupt. We’re very fortunate that we have planned for problems like this,
should they ever come up, and now, here we are. Him going to work, and
I don’t think his mind was fully at work some days ’cause he was thinking of me and how I was doing, what I was doing, and making sure I was okay. It definitely affected him, and I’ll never know how
it affected him, truly. – I knew that I needed a break. I needed to maintain an equilibrium and a level of balance. So, getting away from the
situation here at home for me was important, and I knew that. And when people could come in
and help out and take over, and I could go to work and
earn a living to pay the bills, I knew I needed that,
but at the same time, it was tough to look over my shoulder during the dark winter mornings and leave and know that she was
gonna have a rough day. That wears on you. – [Voiceover] A cancer diagnosis puts the traditional wedding vows, for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,
till death do us part, to the ultimate test. – So, this is your Aloxi for nausea. – Well, I have a salad today, spinach. Hopefully I’ll be hungry for that. And I have my pumpkin seeds. So, those are the magnesium. – [Voiceover] The intricate process to administer the medicinal
poison fascinates me. How did my life get caught
in this tangled web? – [Diane] All these cords. – [Voiceover] When you undergo
chemotherapy treatment, among many things, support and encouragement
are very important. Your family and friends want to help but may just not know where to begin. They need to overcome the
helpless feeling they have by watching you go
through a difficult time. – So now we watch the drip. Once this bag is done,
then she’s done treatment. And this, usually you can
see how slow it’s dripping. So this takes about three hours. – A special delivery for you today. – Here, look it. Yellow, sunshine, happy days. – I need a little sunshine. (mellow guitar music) (crying) My sisters. “You did it. We’re proud of you.” But I couldn’t have done it without them. That was nice of them to send these. They are pretty, that’s for sure. Most people don’t know what they will die from. And I think I unfortunately do. What the time frame is,
that’s the undetermined. (inspiring piano music) Why is that making me cry? – [Nurse] ‘Cause it’s the end. – So that’s it. It’s the last drip. All my anxiety seems to have lifted in the last two seconds. (laughing)
It’s weird. Thank you.
– [Nurse] You’re welcome. It’s been my pleasure, it truly has. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like, just the thought of knowing that right now I know I don’t have to have that within me anymore. Whatever the future brings,
I can’t control that, but, for right now, that’s the moment. No what ifs. Tickle me one more time! Yay! And I actually felt that one.
– [Nurse] You did? – Yeah, you just plucked
it right outta there. – Alright, my dear.
– [Diane] That’s it. We’re done. We’ve had the last drip. I’m no longer a drip. Yay! When you see the first drip
and you see the last drip, then that’s something to be proud of, that you’re no longer a drip. (laughing)
Take me home. – [Voiceover] I’m sharing
my experiences with others so no one will go through the
same difficult time as I did without being prepared. My friend Josh Clement, who lost his stepmother to ovarian cancer, knows how to bring a smile to my face when I least expect it. – So, this has been an interesting day, and I wouldn’t trust
doing something like this to anybody but Josh, and he knows that. And this is going to be
phenomenal, whatever he does. I’m grateful for it, and this will definitely be my legacy. – Hello. – Hi. – Did you make out today? – Good. I’m done. – The last drip has dropped. – I saw the last drip, yep. – [Voiceover] As I return
home at the end of the day, I’m reminded of all the good in my life and what I truly am thankful for. – To commemorate your last day, I stopped and got a little something. It’s been a long journey. – I’ve got a lot of people that love me. Thank you. I’m gonna go lay down, I think. – Very good. I think I’m gonna walk Zucas,
cut the grass, and hang out. – Okay. Wake me for dinner. – [Voiceover] While
there’s nothing I can do to change my diagnosis, there is something I
can do to make an impact for those who have been
recently diagnosed, or for anyone who knows of someone dealing with cancer right now. (mellow guitar music) – If the people who helped
us on this journey see this, we’re very, very thankful
for all the help we received from Dr. Eltabach, who was the surgeon, and the caregiver, the
chemotherapy administrator, to his whole staff. To our family, to our friends, to my work, to my wife’s work, thank you. (mellow guitar music)

2 thoughts on “The Last Drip: A Survivor’s Goodbye To Cancer

  1. Thanks for posting this video. I've watched it about 4 times, and have shared it on my Facebook page for friends and family to watch. I am currently going thru chemo for clinical Grade IIIC advanced ovarian cancer.

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