Jill’s theory about how chemo works
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.