In sickness and in health, we will keep our vows

This entry was written by Jackie Roth, PhD student at Thomas Jefferson University. Jackie was diagnosed with Stage III A breast cancer at the age of 28. Every other Friday, throughout the entire year of 2011, Jackie will share a blog entry about her breast cancer experience. This year-long blog series is in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary.

To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.

Jackie and Ron’s Honeymoon Collage

Pretty soon it will be my two-year wedding anniversary!  Time has really flown by.  My husband, Ron, and I haven’t really had your typical first two years of marriage though.  We always comment that in our vows there is a line that you say “in sickness and in health”…and we like to think that we are getting the in sickness part out of the way.  Yes I am talking about my diagnosis of breast cancer, but I also have another major heath issue that has been very hard for me to deal with over the past two years. 

In June of 2009 we went on our honeymoon toSaint Lucia.  We had a great time while we were there, just relaxing on the beach and enjoying some fine dining!  Upon returning fromSaint Lucia, however, I was immediately hospitalized three times with severe gastrointestinal problems.  I lost fifteen pounds in two weeks and missed months of school.  The doctors never found anything but they are certain that I picked up something inSaint Luciafrom eating salad or unwashed fruit.  The problem is…that it hasn’t gone away.

Over the past two years, I’ve seen thirteen specialists in the area to try to figure out what is going on.  I’ve taken all sorts of medicines, everything from antibiotics to antiparasitics.  I’ve tried tons of diets.  All of my tests have come back negative, and I feel no closer to an answer than I was two years ago. 

Basically, when you add it all up, I spend up to three hours a day in the bathroom.  Sometimes I can not even make it from my house to my work without needing a bathroom break, and it is only a four block walk!  It is very unpredictable, but I am usually sick in the mornings.  In addition, I have severe abdominal pain almost all day.  And now having started Tamoxifen and Zoladex, it only makes matters worse.  My stomach is so bloated from this I have to wear elastic pants most days.  I’ve even gone out and purchased larger pants just to accommodate my new waist.   

Since I am usually sick in the morning, this is when I am most upset.  I become extremely jealous of other people.  I see them walking around with their morning coffee and just enjoying a beautiful sunny spring day.  But I have tears behind my sunglasses.  I want to walk through the city without planned bathroom stops.  I want to enjoy a meal out with my husband without worrying.  So many times we’ve started a meal and then got sick while I was there. I’d have to run home.  I’ve literally left my husband at the table with two entrees and the check.  I am certain that bystanders think we broke up and I walked out on him – like you would see in a bad break up scene from a movie! 

There is so much I would do if I did not suffer from this problem. I would go to medical school so that I could become an oncologist to help others with cancer.  I would volunteer more and go to speaking events.  I would leave my house.  My doctors are at a loss and so am I.  None of them will try any other medications until my treatments for my breast cancer are completed, but even then they don’t know what else to try.  I feel lost and alone with this problem, which is much different than I feel about breast cancer.  Overall I am doing pretty well with the cancer diagnosis and it is because I know I am not alone, people understand.  But with my stomach problems, sometimes people just don’t understand what I am going through.      

For our second anniversary we’ve planned a trip to New York City, a place with lots of bathrooms and where I feel much more comfortable traveling. 

To read Jackie’s previous entries, enter “ Jackie Roth” in the search box on this site.

Has your significant other been instrumental in your breast cancer recovery? We want to hear from you. Comment here or on our Facebook page. 

3 thoughts on “In sickness and in health, we will keep our vows

  1. Jackie

    I will be married for 29 years in Sept; and much like you my marriage has been plagued with sickness. In addition to breast cancer I have had a slew of other health issues; although nothing quite as dabilitating as your gastro issues. Hearing your story is a testament to love and the sanctity of marital vows; you must be married to an extrodianry fellow. I know that I am; and he is so often overlooked in the unfolding drama of my life. You two are lucky to have each other and if you can survive the first two years like this you will be celebrating 29 as well. I hope an pray that you will soon get relief from this aliment; as always you will be in my prayers. You are an extrmemely brave and inspiring young woman.

    Love, Lisa Marsella

  2. From the point of view of the patient, however, it is best to do plenty of research, following provided directions closely.
    You can usually get rid how to reduce breast for men of your acid reflux.
    Who Needs Surgery Using these natural techniques together
    is the most natural way to minimize the sight of your chest?

    Eating habits and exercise is a great way to reduce chest fat.

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