Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heather's Perspective

I was feeling less than peppy the Sunday after chemo, and Heather wanted to take pictures. I turned her loose with the camera. A few days later she asked to do so again.

Click for slideshow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Long Time, No Update

Last week on Monday I had the chest/abdomen CT. With most of them until now, I was interested in seeing the results. They have a CD ready to go by the time I leave Suburban Imaging, and I remember wrestling with the pile of pictures to see anything I might recognize as something. But this time around I really wasn't looking forward to obtaining any knowledge from the scan results.

Ya see, up 'til now it's been about finding out the extent of what I have. But to me, this time was different. This one was the "after" of the two rounds of chemo. Hope for the best and be positive and all that, but eventually certain moments come along. And this was one: the scan results would essentially show whether I'm doing better or getting worse. I didn't care to roll the dice, but instead chose to face up when I went to talk to Dr. Amatruda on Thursday.

This worked for me to stay the course and have a normal Monday. But Angie seemed to be more anxious for the results, and on Tuesday I inadvertently used my gift of words not coming out of my mouth right -- so it took a bit of a discussion to get her to understand what I meant. And in the meantime I played a message from Dr. Amatruda's nurse Michelle that was received on Monday.

So by Wednesday and early Thursday the myriad mind games were playing with my head. For example, Was it a good thing that the nurse, rather than the doctor, was calling? Or were they calling because I needed to know something before my next appointment? It's not a very fun game.

Thursday dragged while I was waiting for my visit with Dr. Tom (which is now how I mentally say it instead of Dr. Amatruda); I let him know I was coming in cold. He has a demeanor that makes it really easy to talk about this stuff. He started by mentioning that it may have been a good thing that I kept myself in the dark -- Michelle was calling to let me know that the cancer was progressing, but that in the intervening time he reconsidered the earlier conclusion and he was not convinced of progression.

I've got some notes, so I'll try to sketch a few of the things we discussed. I believe I have 5 tumors (previously the little seeds). Most are about the same size, one faint area was bigger (9mm). We discussed ongoing treatment options, which included some usual suspects:
  • Continuing the carboplatin + taxol for another round of 2 to be followed by another scan to see how that goes.
  • Moving on to the IL-2. Dr. Tom explained how this, though it sounds wonderful and all by making chemo seem like a walk in the park, can actually be a gateway to clinical trials. And I'm led to believe that clinical trials -- generally speaking -- currently produce the best outcomes. [Geez. Now I'm talking the lingo.]
  • Pills called temozolomide.
In general you're looking at our order of preference. Friday I was already scheduled for another push of the chemo, so we continued forth.

My chemo was scheduled for 8:30. Not being the morning person, this didn't go smoothly -- I woke up at 8:15. In the short span of about a minute, the following ran through my head: Angie didn't get a good sleep last night, Heather is still sleeping too and it'll take too long to get Heather ready, I've felt fine (driving-wise) after previous chemo sessions, I can always give her a call later, and more if you call now. I soloed. Needless to say, Ang was pissed with me.

I tried to take it easy, but maybe fixing the washing machine on Saturday wore me out more than I expected. Whatever the reason, I felt absolutely horrible yesterday. I flipped channels, napped, and felt like crap -- lather, rinse, repeat for 12 hours. We did catch up on some TiVo at least.

I went to work today, but still felt worn out and had the body aches. But at least they weren't as bad today as they were yesterday. I called Michelle and asked if this was normal. She let me know that this taxol coctail is apparently some pretty wicked juice; that as long as I wasn't running a fever what I was feeling was essentially par for the course.