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Jill’s theory about how chemo works

January 16, 2010

Here’s my theory: It makes you feel so old and disabled that you want to die young.

Corollary: It makes you feel so old and disabled that you feel like you’ve lived to be 90 or more and are ready to die.

Speaking of feeling old and tired, that’s how I feel at the moment. I get chemo 3 weeks on and then have a break. Thursday was chemo number 3. After that happens, my face swells and cheeks turn purple. This is an allergic reaction that happens on Saturday. My eyes also swell, and I just feel generally tired and horrible. The worst takes a few days to pass, so by Tuesday I should start feeling somewhat better. By the following Wednesday, the day before chemo starts again, I’ll be feeling semi-normal and I will be most unwilling to get poisoned again.

Yesterday I had a brain MRI to see if the brain lesions are still shrinking. The last check two months ago showed 50% shrinkage, which was as good as it could be at that time. I think they’ve continued to shrink, but the scan will show that for sure. I will get the results on January 27. I could call in to get the results earlier than that, but I’ve found that the best way to cope with these things for me is to compartmentalize my life. Right now I’m on doctor and cancer vacation and I will think about those things in depth again on the 27th. So, here was the funny conversation I had with the oncologist on Thursday:

“So, you’re having a brain scan Friday morning. We should have the results by Friday afternoon or Monday at the latest. Do you want us to call you?”

“No. I’ll wait until my next appointment on the 27th.”

From his face this is clearly not the usual answer.

“It’s no problem for us to call you.”

“Well, I just don’t want to hear from another doctor or look at another doctor’s office until the 27th. Don’t call me unless I need to go to the emergency room.”

“Really. It’s no problem.”

“That’s okay. I’ll wait until the 27th.”

Anyway, it’s nice of him to offer to call me, but I don’t want to be on pins and needles every time the phone rings. So, there ya go. I’ll let you know what I find out on the 27th.

In February we’ll scan my torso to see if a couple of spots on my right breast have continued to grow. A couple of months ago the radiologists couldn’t figure out if they were just old things that have been stable for years, or if they’re something new. Something new would be very very bad.

We’ll also see if there are new lesions anywhere else and if the lung lesion is shrinking. Your duty, if you’re the praying type, is to pray for shrinkage or stability and that there’s nothing new.

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=nap&iid=289337″ src=”0285/f0a110a9-e9e7-428b-87a5-d0cf9e21aaaa.jpg?adImageId=9106724&imageId=289337″ width=”234″ height=”352″ /]Should there be shrinkage or stability and nothing new, we’ll be able to make a plan to get me off the chemo part of treatment. That’s what’s making me feel awful. The other two treatments — Avastin (cuts off blood supply to tumors) and Zometa (builds bone and prevents bone lesions) — don’t make me feel bad and I might be able to just stay on those as maintenance drugs. If I can go off chemo (Abraxane), I’ll need a month or two to detox before I can resume life as we know it.

So that’s all I know at present. I also keep reminding myself that it’s a free country and I can go off chemo any time I decide I should go off. So, pray for wisdom there.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print here. As I said, I’m extremely tired so if I don’t get back with you right away it’s because I’m taking an extended nap.


13 Comments leave one →
  1. Mame permalink
    January 16, 2010 9:18 pm

    Prayers for everything (and some).

  2. Sarah permalink
    January 16, 2010 9:51 pm

    Prayers from here too, Jill. Thanks for the update.

  3. Mina permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:29 am

    Praying for wisdom, ease and everything else in between.

  4. Lisa Welch permalink
    January 18, 2010 7:57 pm

    Thinking about you daily, Jill.

  5. Lisa permalink
    January 19, 2010 9:03 am

    Continued good thoughts and prayers!

    I have made that choice with waiting till an appointment to learn more. It allows me to feel I still have some control over the situation. But, I also have had folks think I’m a bit off.

    I always look at as I’d rather feel emotionally prepared to hear on that day, then never know when the phone will ring. Plus, I’ve noticed on the phone before, often you are just left with more questions than answers.

  6. January 19, 2010 12:52 pm

    I visited with my friend Lanna yesterday while at her house to do her quarter-end / year-end books. I think we did work for 15 minutes, and talked for close to two hours just about “stuff”. Lanna prays for you every single day, sometimes for an hour and a half. She’s so awesome!

  7. Tammy permalink
    January 20, 2010 8:03 am

    Good idea to just live in this moment and cross the bridges when you come to them and not before. Praying for lots of good “present” minutes, as well as God’s grace for the future.

  8. Lisa Welch permalink
    January 20, 2010 9:14 am

    Hey, Jill – I forgot to tell you Nat had been to Daniel’s territory. Week before last gymnastics meet. It was her only one of the regular season that wasn’t at her own high school (nice, I know!). I wish I could have gone, but I had class that night.

  9. (Jakk)Kim permalink
    January 20, 2010 8:39 pm

    Hey, just thinking about you and thought I’d let you know. Cyber hugs (or a pat // \\ if you prefer). xoxo Jakk

  10. Maria Murray permalink
    January 21, 2010 9:16 am

    Hi Mrs. B,

    Prayers for you from Atlanta and New Hampshire, too. Here’s hoping the rest helps and the scans show only good things. – Maria

  11. Bemused Boomer permalink
    January 25, 2010 10:08 pm

    Adding my prayers. Obviously, wisdom is already here. You will know what to do when you need to. Good on you for determining when and how you receive information!

  12. Colleen permalink
    January 26, 2010 7:30 pm

    I was thinking of you and then remembered that you have your appointment tomorrow. We have been praying for you.
    “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
    Have a nice night and day tomorrow. God bless you.
    Love, Colleen and Ed

  13. Lisa permalink
    January 26, 2010 8:09 pm

    Sending extra positive vibes, healing white light, prayers and good thoughts your way for tomorrow! And if it were ‘me’, I’ll add for tonight as that is when it would really start to hit me more.

    I wish I could send something literally that would make a real difference, but all I have is my thoughts and words!!!

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