Friday, November 23, 2012

Back to Chemo

Well, it's been an interesting November, starting off with my trip to Maine with Joyce, to stay at the Meadowmere and to take a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen, back on the first weekend of the month. 

We did stay at the Meadowmere but we never made it to that cooking class.  Instead Joyce had to drive me to the Urgent Care Ctr in Wells, where they did a CT scan, blood work and pee test and found out I had a UTI...and a small bowel obstruction!  DOH!  

I won't go into all the sordid details and all the weird things that happened that night, but suffice it to say, I was VERY happy to have Joyce with me....she being a nurse and being able and willing to advocate for me.   I ended up taking a three hour ride in the back of an ambulance to Backus, as the surgeon on call at Maine Medical Ctr (which is where I wanted to go) kept pushing back on taking me.  Sandy thinks it's because I am "complicated."  

Anyway, back in Norwich I didn't care for the ambiance at the hospital (roommate who plays the TV 24-7 and spends the daylight hours on the phone whining about her pain level and how she needs more drugs) and the surgeon (who shall remain nameless) was a LITTLE TOO eager to operate on I asked to be shipped to Women and Infants.  

So another ambulance ride to Providence, with another great ambulance crew.  The Maine guys were fun, the American Ambulance gals were also fun. 

When I got to W&I everything calmed right down...including my guts.  What professionals they have up there.  I had my chemo nurse, "Little Anne Marie" as my night nurse and then my all-time favorite, Marcia as my first shift nurse!  WOO HOO!   They took good care of me and by noon I was farting and then VOILA....a BM!   I was out of there around 7pm....and back home in time to vote the next day. 

I saw Dr. D instead of Dr. McCourt on Wednesday for my routine follow-up.  He told me what McCourt had told me when I was in the hospital, that the last CT scan showed that the cancer was growing in me.  He presented me with the option of going on a clinical trial of a drug combined with a substance that stimulates the immune system to fight the cancer.

Sandy and I did NOT like this trial.  It would involve me going to Providence six times a month, having chemo and then having to wait around for HOURS while they drew blood work at four, six and eight hour intervals after the infusion!  No, I did not want to put my family, friends and myself through that ordeal....not in the dead of winter, driving on icy back roads, etc. 

I admit that I sank into a dark hole after this.  I was very weepy, and very down.   Thankfully Sandy understands and put up with me when my depression came out as anger, with me snapping at everything she said. 

The dark hole got darker last weekend when my stomach started acting up...not my small bowel, my stomach...which felt like I had a big fist in there every time I ate something.  I had to soak in the bathtub in hot water three times during the night last Saturday, trying to ease the cramps and pains in my abdomen.  Sunday I lay there in bed like a limp rag....and vowed to eat only liquids from now on.  The next day things felt a bit better, so I dared to try cottage cheese...big mistake.  Right back into the tub I went....weeping silently like an old fool.  

I called Tracy at W&I's Norwich Office and she snuck me in to see Dr. McCourt before office hours Wednesday AM...which was timely since they were discussing my case at Tumor Review Board on Tuesday.

Sandy met me at the office and we went in to see the doc.  She explained that the CT scan shows that the two lesions I have, one near my spleen and one near my liver, have grown....slightly.  They are still only about an inch long apiece.  There are also new "spots" showing up in my abdomen...not surprising given the little "pings of pain" I have been feeling off and on.  She doesn't know how much more cancer is in there that isn't showing up on the CT scan, but my CA 125 is still over 300.

The good news!  She recommends that I go on a treatment of Doyxl....not the clinical trial.  I will start on Monday, will only have to go once a month, and will not need pre meds, so I can drive myself if I am up to it!   WOO HOO!   And the infusion won't take long at all, so it's a quick trip and I'm out of there!  I am so happy about much better than that onerous trial they were talking about.

Doxyl doesn't have many side effects.....mouth sores, a rash that you can get if you wear tight clothes (which I don't) and the skin on your hands can crack so I will need to keep them greased up with lotion.  I won't lose my hair...which is too bad actually, I like being bald.

I still am reluctant to eat solids.  I will stick to puree for a while...we'll see if the chemo "dries things out" in my abdomen, making it easier for me to digest things.   I've lost a bit of weight...I now weigh what I weighed when I went in the Army, back in 1974!   I don't look too good would be better if I was thin AND looked good! 

I didn't go to Sandy's folks for Thanksgiving...I couldn't eat the stuff and the smell of it would have made me sick.  I did, however, puree leftover mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and gravy and have that for supper last night...YUM!   And, it went down just fine.  Jean sent up enough leftovers to keep me going for awhile...she is so sweet.

So Monday AM I go for a cardiac ultrasound as part of my pretesting for chemo, then Jean and her friend Dorothy will give me a ride to Providence to start my new chemo adventure.  Can't wait! 

I don't want to just write about my crap...I also want to note how much I am enjoying the Huskies basketball teams...both of them.  I was so sick of Calhoun and am loving Kevin Ollie all over again.  I think he is the best thing that could have happened to this team.  The women are going to win it doubt in my mind and I am enjoying every second of the season.

AND....THE PATS!!!!   I think the Pats can go all the way too...barring injuries.  They are really clicking on defense now,  to match their offense and I'm so happy!  

Happy Thanksgiving ALL!


1 comment:

Frenchie said...

Damn girl! Your perserverence is absolutely amazing! I really am awed by you!
So that was one way to get out of the cooking class! LOL! I often think about taking a cooking class but then I weigh the amount of time I am willing to give to it and I shy away.
I want to thank you for being supportive of my son. He is having a lot of positive opportunities lately and he is very grateful. He now has an agent who believes his unique look is worth exploiting so he is happy. He had an audition for Halls (cough meds) last week and he was notified of a call back. That will be Monday. While it is not a sure thing, it is encouraging.
At any rate, positive light and thoughts to you...tenfold!