Appendix: Guide to Whatever It Takes: An Ovarian Cancer Diary
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| 187 Phyllis Tarrant, of Mint Hill, North Carolina, provides a more detailed description of the images and the full text of the words written on her diary quilt, Whatever It Takes: An Ovarian Cancer Diary (see fig. 2.14): “I would like for this quilt to be used in any way that can benefit cancer patients especially to help family and friends to understand what they are going thru. I would also like to make women more aware of ovarian cancer. I have found health care workers appreciate it more than other people. Friends and family of people who have cancer, but will not talk about it seem to appreciate it also. Some people seem to want to stay as far away from anything connected to cancer as possible.” The following is a transcription of the text on each block, reading left to right from top to bottom. A slash mark (/) denotes the beginning and/or end of each block: WHATEVER IT TAKES an ovarian cancer diary The pain first appeared in March and steadily increased until the surgery in June. / The pain grew from a one Advil pain to a four Advil pain plus two Tylenol pain. And changed from general to the left side. Sitting made it much worst. / There were days when I was walking or biking when I felt little pain and I held onto the hope that it would just go away. / Because it is on more than one organ, it is a stage 3 cancer, but the doctor thinks that it will act like a stage 1 cancer. We have to wait for the pathology reports. / I could see Steve [Phyllis’s husband] sitting in a chair. He may have been asleep, but I think he knew I was coming to. He did not say anything. That is when I knew. When Dr. Stubbs came, he told me. / A nurse suggested a journal as a way of dealing with my cancer. / The nurse said to avoid stairs as much as possible. My quilt studio is downstairs. I need to be there, doing the creative work and the machine work, I have handwork for upstairs , but handwork is for those times that I haven’t the patience to sit still. / According to the chemo nurse, I will lose my hair 18 days after the first chemo session. That will be July 23. / Today I had to go in for a blood test. Afterwards I bought fabric. Tomorrow I have the second chemo session. My mantra has become “Whatever it takes.” Especially when someone is sticking needles in me. / It first appeared as a cramp like pain. That was maybe March. I thought that it would go away but after a couple of weeks I decided to see the doctor. Then began the slow process of identifying the problem. Wait for the doctor’s appointment. Wait for the ultrasound. Wait for the ultrasound results. Wait for the CT scan. Wait for the CT scan results. No waiting for the surgeon’s appointment, but wait again for the surgery date. Now APPENDIX Guide to Whatever It Takes: An Ovarian Cancer Diary 188 | appendix wait for the appointment with the oncologist. / I want to be told both that I will be OK and the truth. / Sometimes I don’t believe all of this is really happening to me. / Both Dr. Grafton and Dr. Stubbs said there was only a slight chance that the cyst would be cancerous. / They told me the cancerous cyst was touching the colon. They took out part of my colon, I don’t remember how much. I will have to ask again. Also they removed some kind of lining and some lymph nodes. / The chemo consisted of seven drugs. The chemicals Taxol and Carboplatin were given last. Prior to then was a drug to prevent side affects. The side affects drug (Ethyol) was preceded by four drugs to prevent side affects of the side affects drug. I slept through maybe half of the 6 hours. I read a little, but my eyes became blurry. Mostly I listened to a book tape and drew blocks for my doodle quilt. I was extremely tired, but not sleepy when I got home. I feel better now (bed time) except that my arms are a little swollen above the wrist. / The way my left ovary, its destroyed fallopian tube, and my colon looked to me. / Tomorrow is my chemotherapy session. I have not thought about it much because...


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