10:24pm. June 1st 2014. I just came back from a nice long walk 🙂
How I’m feeling: Happy that I can go for walks relatively comfortably. Next time, I’ll push for further distance – and see how I do. I’m getting a little anxious to be done treatment already. From what I’ve heard – the midway point is when many cancer patients experience some extra difficulty coping. And I’m definitely understanding why right now.
Tomorrow I have a bunch of scans and I’m a little nervous about them. The scans will help my oncologist assess the progress on the treatment program I’ve been going through – and decide where to go from here. I’m not sure what all of the options are yet – but I do know that one possibility is to have me go through more chemo treatments. There are however limitations when it comes to chemo – duration, frequency and number of cycles. Oncologists have to cap it off at some point – as chemotherapy medication is essentially poison to the body. While it kills off ugly cancer cells – it kills off some good cells on it’s way.
The liver and immune system try to do their best to remove the poisons, but they are both weakened in the process.
Other rapidly dividing cells, such as those in the nails, blood, stomach lining and hair, also suffer. Nausea can also be a real problem, as it debilitates the patient. Also the blood count declines during treatment – less red cells mean less oxygen is carried round the body; less white cells mean the immune system (your natural defence against cancer) is weakened. Often after a couple of weeks and again around week six, the patient gets depressed. One reason is that lowered blood oxygen levels and depression are directly linked. Some patients lose weight. If this is too great it is called cachexia, and can be a cause of death.
If we stick to the original plan – 6 cycles I will be done chemotherapy at the end of June. If not, it could extend to mid-August – which means that radiation would take me in to November.
I have some MUCH NEEDED cottage vacation plans at the end of July and in August – with the assumption that I will be done chemotherapy end of June. But if it does get extended to 8 cycles, I’m hoping my oncologist will allow me to schedule treatment around my vacation plans 🙂 I really need the vacation – oh my gosh, do I ever.
Cross your fingers for me to find out that there has been HUGE shrinkage in the mass in my chest. That’s what we want to hear!
On another note, I’m currently watching Grey’s Anatomy. I’m in season 6, so please don’t spoil anything for me! It’s been an interesting experience. Ever since this whole cancer thing, hospital scenes (which is pretty much the entire show) makes me feel a little something now. I’m not sure what that something is. Part of it may be some discomfort? I haven’t quite figured out if watching the show is good or bad for me right now. Either way, it’s a really good show. What’s been really surreal is the fact that in these types of shows, whenever someone gets diagnosed with the “Big C” – there is a big dramatic plot change. And well, I’m living that plot change right now. The past few episodes have really hit home for me. It’s when Izzie gets diagnosed with cancer and she and those around her goes through the emotions through her treatment.
By the way, it’s about 20 Xs more emotional and shattering in real life than what TV shows and movies depict this life altering event to be.