Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hold Off on the Knives, Stir Me Up a Cocktail

The CT Scan result and doctors decisions are in. On Wednesday I start up my 3rd round of chemotherapy. They're mixing up what a cancer buddy of mine likes to call a chemo-cocktail. I'll be on four different chemo drugs at once. If that sounds a bit extreme, it may be. We'll see how I handle it.

My liver surgery will be put off, as they found a third cancer spot in my lung. They assume it travelled there through my lymph nodes, which means chemo is the best option now. My treatment has focused mainly on the primary area where cancer started. I haven't been given "systemic" treatment. Systemic treatment addresses your whole body. This chemo treatment is meant to kill cancer cells all over my body. After about 2 months, they'll measure my tumors again. If they've shrunk (are responding) then I'll have liver surgery after a chemo recovery waiting period, then more chemo, wait again, then lung surgery, wait again, then more chemo.

I'm trying to stay positive in light of this latest news. It's hard not to get overwhelmed and let my mind go to dark places. I find myself uncontrollably envious of just about any healthy person I see. I miss my health, my peace of mind and my old routines. But I have to buck-up, as it's a long road to recovery ahead.

So as always, keep me in your prayers... for the chemo to work, for the side effects to be managable, and for my peace of mind. I hope to find my comfort in God. For those of you who might be inclined to do so, please pray for my faith, which has been shaken, and for me to use this dark hour to reconnect with God in a deep way.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Going Under the Knife May Be Sooner Than Expected

Last night at 9pm, I had another CT Scan. It's an interesting time of day to have a procedure like that done. The hospital was eerily quiet.

On Monday, my oncologist ordered the CT Scan, as I just completed a round of radiation and chemotherapy. I am thrilled to report that there were no complications that landed me in the hospital this time, thanks to my oncologist who removed Oxyplatin from my prescription. The CT Scan will be sent to my surgeon at UNC. He is going to determine if I should go to surgery now, or continue with more chemotherapy before surgery. Either way, at least six months of chemotherapy is in my future. I'm hoping for surgery now. Let's get this tumor off my liver, the sooner the better. Not to mention, taking this dreaded bag down. I can't wait to poop normally again!

In preparation for my last round of radiation, I sat with my radiation doctor, as is customary. He prescribed 18 straight days of treatment, Monday though Friday. As he sat with me to discuss my case, he told me a piece of data that crystallized exactly what my surgeon at UNC had meant when he stated, "my margins were very close." Apparently, where the surgeon cut to remove my rectal tumor was only 1 mm from my vaginal wall. (I can't believe I'm sharing this with you all). When I discussed this with my oncologist, I shared my fears with her that I may find myself having a 3rd surgery down the road to remove that wall (yikes). She said, "Not really, that's why your radiation is so important right now". So I ask yet another thing to pray for, the preservation of my vaginal wall. I can honestly say, I never thought that I would be asking my friends to pray for ...that. Can you imagine? Eeashhh, it's a bit unthinkable.

I'll add another post to this blog soon when I receive my doctor's decision. The truth... I can wait for my surgery if the doc thinks that more chemo would be best now. The optimal word here being "best." I would like surgery now to be what is best. But not in lieu of my health.