Friday, June 11, 2010
So, once again, I know it's been quite awhile since I've posted anything. Sorry about that. In any case, I thought I just give you all a quick update on how I have been and am doing.
About 6 months or so back my chemo got changed from being the oral Xeloda to a combination of the IV chemo drugs Gemzar and Cisplatin. The frequency and amount of chemo that I have been receiving has fluctuated a good deal over the past months due to low blood counts but it seems we have finally settled into a schedule that my blood counts seem to be tolerating. I am currently receiving chemo once every three weeks. The chemo isn't horrible, it really could be much worse, but it's no spa treatment either, that's for sure.
The last time I was up at Mayo, about 6 weeks ago, my scans looked pretty good. "Pretty good" meaning they showed that my liver is still free of tumors right now, full of holes but still tumor free, and that the tumors in my lungs have not grown at all. And I would agree with the doctor, that is indeed pretty good! So no changes were made to my treatment plan.
Now I am heading back up to Mayo next week for scans on Thursday and meeting with my doctor on Friday followed by chemo if all goes according to plan. I am, however, a bit nervous that things this time may not look quite as good as they have been looking. A few weeks ago I got a bad sore throat followed by the loss of my voice for a few days and then that was followed by a deep chest cough. Over the next week or so the chest cough improved but then turned into this weird sort of lighter more gaspy (is that a word?) cough... and that cough hasn't gone away or gotten any better. And I have also started to have some upper back pain behind my lungs. So, I'm a bit worried about this doctor's visit. It could be nothing, and I really hope that it is, but it could also be the start of bad things to come. And the not knowing can drive you absolutely batty.
I think it has got to be one of the worst things about cancer, not knowing if what could very likely be a "normal" ache or pain is indeed normal or may be a signal of something bad and cancer related. It makes you feel like a hypochondriac or a crazy person. I have actually laid awake some nights (yes, more than one) trying to "assess" my various pains and it makes me laugh to look back on it because I was thinking things like, "Now, does this feel like a liver tumor?" Like I would really be able to tell. Heck, I had tumors the size of a lemon before I was diagnosed and only had occasional pain and nothing that screamed liver tumor at me. And really, who sits there thinking, "Ah yes, this pain feels very liver tumor-like, I really need to call my doctor now"? So, you see, you can drive yourself crazy wondering and worrying, but then, on the other hand, if you just write every ache and pain off as being a "normal" one then you can land yourself in a whole heap of trouble by missing early signs of something that could turn bad quick. I guess the trick is finding a happy medium... I, personally, haven't found it yet.
So that's where I am right now. Headed back up to get everything checked soon and worrying about it all in the mean time. But even on the rainiest day there is the knowledge that the rain will eventually stop, the waters will recede, the damage can be assessed, and work to repair any problems can begin.
Labels: health update