This is Now My Life!!!

I’m backkkk… As I ended in my last blog telling you that the mass in my abdominal area was finally revealed and the VA could no longer hide it since the mass had doubled in size and was wrapped around my Supra Vena Cava artery… That artery is the main artery that supplies blood to our small intestines… It is inoperable because of the location. 

Since the VA is never in a hurry, it was almost a month before I had a biopsy done on the mass. On December 7th 2017, I had the biopsy done on the mass and lymph nodes in that area. I had a great surgeon that went above and beyond and he repaired a double hernia after he finished with the biopsy. 

About a week later my sister in law, brother, sister, and I met with the surgeon and I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma!!! It’s an incurable cancer but a person can be put in remission!!! 

Since the VA has a habit of delaying medical treatment, I finally had an endoscopy on January 15th to biopsy a lymph node by my pancreas and to look at my pancreas closer because according to the oncologist she said the PET scan hinted that the lymphoma was in my pancreas also. 

 My beautiful niece Kerri drove me to the Ann Arbor VA for the endoscopy… I woke up from the endoscopy and the GI doctor said she didn’t see anything on my pancreas but she did biopsy a lymph node on the outside wall of my pancreas and she said it would probably come back as being lymphoma also… We celebrated the fact that the lymphoma wasn’t in my pancreas at Saganos on the way home…

On February 9th my loving niece Kerri drove me all the way to the Ann Arbor VA during a blizzard for me to get a bone marrow biopsy!!! Finally the results of something was in my favor… The lymphoma is NOT in my bones!!! YAY!!!

2 weeks later another GI doctor called me and told me that the lymphoma was in my pancreas!!! 

On February 15th, thankfully my cousin Laura went with me to my oncology appointment at the VA. My oncologists Fellow verified that the lymphoma was in my pancreas!!! Then the oncologist came in and she verified that it was too!!! That wasn’t a good day!!! Thank God Laura was with me… On the way home we  drowned our sorrows by eating a delicious meal at Saganos in Fenton… 

Because My Social Security disability was approved in January of 2018 and I was awarded Medicare also, and I was able to stop going to the VA for my medical care… 

On February 26th, 2018, I took my medical records to Karmano’s Cancer Institute across the street from McLaren hospital in Flint… When I asked the front desk receptionist how long it would be before I could expect an appointment with the oncologist she said I could see one the next day at 9:00 am… After the initial shock wore off of finding out that in the real world a person doesn’t wait months to see a real doctor, I asked if she could tell me how soon I could get in to see Dr. Singh because he had already saved two of my cousins lives… One with breast cancer and one with stage IV ovarian cancer!!! She then said she could get me in the next day at 10:00 instead of 9:00 with Dr. Singh!!! I was elated!!!

The next day my sister in law and brother went with me to see Dr  Singh. He asked me to tell him what I had been told so far from the VA about my diagnosis. I told him about the lymphoma and that it is also in my pancreas… He then told me since it’s inside my pancreas then I am Stage IV…

After he started reading my medical records and he reached the pathology report about my pancreas he looked at me and said, “The lymphoma is NOT in your pancreas!!! He said it is still outside of the pancreas wall and that we weren’t going to let it get inside… He also said I am now Stage III instead of Stage IV… 

He proceeded to tell me that the following Tuesday, the 6th of March I will go to McLaren hospital and have a med port inserted for my chemo and then the next two days I would start my chemo treatments!!! My sister in law and brother took me to McLaren the next day to get my med port. Although my surgery got started about 3 hours late due to an emergency that the radiologist was involved in, the insertion of the med port went very smoothly… 

My first chemo treatment started on March 7, 2018 and it was a long day but a good day…My loving sister in law, brother, and sister all accompanied me to my first treatment… I have such a great family!!!

 My nurse told me that Dr. Singh changed the one chemo medication after he did more research and decided that a different drug would be better for me. A few minutes later Dr. Singh was standing in front of me with the back of his hand stretched out in front of me and asked me to slap him… Of course I didn’t slap him… He apologized for not calling me himself after he made that decision… I just LOVE Dr  Singh!!! 

My appointment was at 8:45 am and we finally left at 5:00 pm… I had no adverse reactions from the two different chemo drugs I received, which was a win, win for me!!! 

The next day (yesterday the 8th of March) was a little shorter,  I was only there from 8:45 am until 4:00 pm… My beautiful neighbor Joann took me for my treatment and around noon I called my dear friend Tammy and she stepped up and agreed to pick me up when I was done with my treatment. At that point I sent Joann home because it was snowing pretty hard and I felt better knowing if she left then that it would be safer for her to drive home…

After my chemo treatment was over the nurse inserted the Neulasta pump on my arm. It is a pump that will start releasing the medication at 5:05 pm tonight (March 9th) and run for 45 minutes. I can then remove it. The Neulasta boosts my white blood cell count to help fight off infections and a side effect is awful bone pain. It also releases histamines so I have to take Claritin since it’s an antihistamine. Today  at noon I will start the Claritin, Norco, and an antiemetic that will help stave off nausea and vomiting… I’m hoping that they all help me with those side effects but if not I’ll get through this!!! 

I’m at home and I am still feeling good. Please keep those prayers coming cause they are working!!! God is Great!!! 

Karmanos has arranged for the American Cancer Society to pick me up for the rest of this months treatments and then take me back home. I decided it would be a lot easier for me to do it this way so that no one else had to sit for hours while I get my treatments. I have no choice whether I’m there or not since this is my life but I felt bad for all my family and friends that had to sit there all those hours… None of them ever even hinted that they were bored out of their minds but I just couldn’t continue to feel bad for them… This way if anyone wants to come and spend some time with me during my treatments they can decide how long they stay… 

My next treatment is next Wednesday the 14th and I’m so happy because a dear long time friend, which also happens to be a junior high  and high school teacher I had way back in the day, will be coming to Karmano’s to visit with me during my treatment… I can’t wait to see you Marilyn Scheidelemantel!!!

Stay tuned for more of my story… 

Love you all,

Kindra Starr


3 thoughts on “This is Now My Life!!!”

  1. You are still in my prayers my friend. I am serious when I say if you need or want anything to call me.

  2. Kindra you are such a strong woman and I know God has this and he has a purpose for your life. You will touch so many lives by writing this and letting people know your story. Keep your faith and I know God has his arms around you and with him you will get through this. He is your creator and he knows everything about you and what is to come and he has a purpose. Love you girl and so sorry you had to go through all this before finding the help you needed. hugs

  3. I am NAUSEOUS reading about the TOTAL INCOMPETENCE.
    It’s wonderful you have so many helping you…it is imperative.
    You MAY not have side effects. Barb didn’t, ‘cept the hair.
    And what a great service provided by the hospital!
    Hello to Marilynn!

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