Posts Tagged ‘chemo

19
Aug
10

who’s telling whom what?

We went in to see Dr. Medici today expecting to tell him that I was quitting chemo; instead, he surprised us by saying that another chemo would probably do more harm than good. I’d figured on having to convince him, and he thought he’d have to convince me.  So, no chemo for me.

Also I had fluid build-up in my abdomen again (ascites, pronounced ah-sigh-tees) & had 3.5 litres drawn off (when I was in the hospital, they only got 2.1 litres).

All for now,

17
Aug
10

how are *you* doing?

I’ve been out of touch for so long, and wondering how my friends are doing. E-mail (home, not work) is best, or a comment on this blog.

We see the oncologist on Thursday (way too early) to decide when to resume chemo. I’ll let you know what we decide.

12
Jul
10

. . . and Fuzzy on Top

If you compare it to the couple weeks *before* I started the anti-depressant, I’ve been pretty busy:

Cousins Greg and Jeanette came for a “just chatting” visit on a Sunday.

July 4th we went to our neighbor’s, Sharon and Gary, for Independence Day and had a fantastic feed. All four dogs were there and were generally quite calm about the fireworks.

Last Wednesday we had dinner at the Harborside with our friends Shawn and Hope. They’ve always got dozens of funny stories to tell.

Last Thursday Cathy came to visit, and took a picture of me nodding off as she was talking to me. She swears my mouth was not open!

The common ground that all these items have is that I was feeling better emotionally, and my stamina is returning, but that I was totally wiped out at the end.

But with a couple little tweaks in the meds, I think we finally have a winning combination. Too bad I’m scheduled to start chemo tomorrow just when I’m starting to feel good. We’ll find out if the “happy” drugs can hold up their end against the chemo.

In other news, I was scheduled to go to a memorial service for my aunt that died. A couple days before the memorial, I got hit by some sort of intestinal bug that lingered for another couple days after. Brian went and said it was a lovely service.

And a couple nights ago I had a fall. I’ve been using my library steps to climb into bed (but I slide off the bed directly to the ground). This is working pretty well, for the most part. I always pause to see where the dog is before I slide off, and he usually is already up and moving by the time I stop to look. I’m not sure what went wrong this time – all I know is that I must have stepped down on the bottom step, because I felt myself slip and had no way to catch myself. As a result I have a bruised toe that was just healing from having lost the nail (chemo-related); and bruised shin, thigh, and hip on my left side. Ouch!

I will report on the start of chemo – there is a chance that he and I may disagree and we’d delay it for another brief while; I’m quite intent on improving the quality of my chemo life, and he’s all yelling “Treat! Treat! Treat!” We’ll see who’s got the greater will power.

23
Jun
10

The Silence of the Cancer

On my little break from chemo, please don’t be surprised that I am being so quiet – only a little blogging, no phone calls or e-mails. Now that I’ve had time to quit wallowing in the cancer and its treatment, I’m wallowing in my depression. My normal depressive behavior is to do just that – withdraw and keep my feelings to myself.

Fortunately for me, I’ve got Brian here to help keep me sane.

I met with my counselor, Counselor Troi, today, and she took a lot of notes, with the end result that she doesn’t know how I’ve managed to go so long without an anti-depressant. So tomorrow I start one (sorry, the name escapes, me).

The bad news about that is that it’s going to physically depress me for a couple weeks – i.e., low energy, etc. Right in time to just about the time Dr. Medici wants me to start chemo again.

So how am I going to know if it’s working?

Also, Nurse Serenatia called today, and told me what I already knew – it’s going to take months to get back my energy to where it was – months I don’t have.

Thus ends the homily on depression for June 23, 2010.

19
Jun
10

Meeting with Dr. Medici

Well, the meeting went pretty much as I expected, although having been forewarned by my call to the triage nurse last week, Dr. Medici strode right in and took charge.

Basically, he agreed that the toxicity had reached a very high point and it was time to scale back – I think he was hoping I’d agree to a lesser dose, but I was having none of that.

Our agreed-on plan, then, is that I will call him each week to let him know how I’m feeling, and when I’m ready for my next chemo. At that point, we’ll decide on the drug and the dose, and see how it goes.

My goal, that I expressed to him is not to make sure I live as long as possible. It is to enjoy the amount of life I have left with Brian. If the quality of life is good, then maybe it’ll be a long time. If not, then it is what it is.

Right now I’ve got a minimum of 2 weeks before I have to decide, since Dr. M. is out of town through 4th of July.

08
Jun
10

Husbands and Friends

I was still wallowing in my misery come the weekend, because one week goes just like another.

I did have some relief – my friend Sue came to visit on Thursday, and it was so good to see her. I met her in my first support group – you remember, the one where I actually was helping support, not just being supported. She was having her surgery on the Tuesday after my Friday surgery and was very worried about it. I got dressed on that Tuesday, and had Brian drive me over there while she was in pre-op so I could show her my dressings, and how quickly I was up and around. She told me once that my doing that helped her get through her surgery easier emotionally.

Her coming to visit me when I was so down was sort of the equivalent for me.

A couple friends who had planned to come by on Friday had to cancel, but we’ve rescheduled for later – as it turned out, Friday was a very physically down day for me, and I really needed to sleep, so it worked out for both of us.

By Saturday I was back into full tailspin mode again, just seeming to be unable to shake all the nasty fatigue and pain – I can lessen the pain using the pain killers, but that ups the fatigue and inability to focus, and what is a good balance one day isn’t the same the next.

Brian is becoming hyperaware of my moods (for me, sometimes it seems there’s only one, which is down; but he sees variations). He said “I’m going to call Cathy and see if she can come for a visit on Monday.” I knew then he was worried, because he was calling in the big guns.

He tried to get me to go see Prince of Persia both Saturday and Sunday, but I just physically couldn’t come up with the energy.

Monday morning, I was taking it easy expecting Cathy’s arrival around noon or so, but emotionally I was worked up to a peak again. I finally called the doctor’s office to talk to the triage nurse, and tell her I couldn’t go on this way. I mean, I had 4 months of taxol/avastin treatment, and even with the pneumonia, I never felt this bad. Heather told me that there are lots of things we can do in terms of taking breaks from chemo, from lowering the dose to changing drugs, but that this level of toxicity isn’t normal, and nobody should be trying to deal with it. As I was talking to her I realized that I’d always just answered questions about what side-effects I was having, but never really told them, except for the pain, how hard they were to deal with. Also, she said abraxane is one of the hardest drugs in the chemo regimen – I just figured that since it was similar to taxol that I must just be getting wimpier than I was when I had taxol.

Heather told me that she would make sure the doctor knew we’d had this conversation, but that I had to make sure that I talked to him about it when I saw him on next Tuesday. After I hung up, I started crying and just couldn’t stop.

By the time Cathy got to the house, I was down to just sniffles, but as soon as she got a look at me, she asked “Are you OK?”

“Oh, my nose is just runny. . . . . . and I’ve been crying.”

She just opened her arms and held me until I quit crying. Again.

Everything else we talked about was secondary to that and the goodbye hug she gave me. Sometimes, touch is the only healer.

06
Jun
10

Oh yeah . . .

Did I leave off baldness?

I can’t believe I forgot baldness.

And dried-out mucous membranes.

And fingernails that look like something off Frankenstein’s monster.




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