Saturday, 21 May 2011

Game on!

Hi everyone,
Ive finally found a quiet moment to post a quick update for anyone who would like to know where my treatment is up to.  Im not going to talk about how my situation effects my family too much as I think thats personal to them, and if they want to share it then they should choose how that happens.  So yet again its all about moi! 

I will say that Izzy (age 9) had a few good cries in the lead up to my chemo.  I think she expected that my first dose would result in me spewing into a pile of my own hair.  Fortunately it was considerably less dramatic than that!   I actually felt remarkably calm and believe it or not, happy!  Finally I have a game plan and and to this cancer I say 'game on'. First I went in to have my picc line inserted in the top of my arm - this is it!  It stays in for months.
The picc line is inserted into a large vein and is threaded up through the shoulder and comes out just above the heart, where the chemo can be instantly diluted so it does the least damage.  It also saves the veins in my arm from getting scarred. 

From there I went up to the chemo room where the staff and volunteers were fantastic.  There are series of rooms, all with lovely outlooks over the city or parklands.  Each room consists of a semi-circle of ageing plastic recliners, all in various shades of blue green.  They are very comfortable though.  When I first started my five hour stint on the drip every chair was occupied by women of all ages, but I spent the last hour on my own as one by one they snuck out without my noticing.  (I guess my book was better than I thought).   I expected there to be chatting during our long periods of reclining but to my suprise everyone kept to themselves. I have chemo every fortnight so I wonder if it will be the same group of ladies.  Sometimes its good to keep to yourself, but other times a chat can help break up a boring day.  So basically, I just sat there for five hours on the drip and.....nothing happened!  I  didnt feel sick, my hair stayed on my head and I didnt puke!  Now I am at home with my portable pump that looks like a babies bottle, except it is much more sinister and full of very toxic chemicals. This is it....
Chemo is really toxic stuff.  I hope my 'lumpatron' is screaming in agony as it shrinks and dies!  So the ovarian cancer might be a new primary cancer, or it might be a secondary from the original colon cancer. We want it to be a secondary, because then the chemo will shrink it too.  Otherwise it will be completely ineffective.   So far the chemo has given me a bit of nausea that is under control, and some neuropathy.  Anything I touch that is cold feels like freezer burn, and there is a constant metallic taste in the mouth.  A couple of people have been brave enough to ask if I had to have a stoma (bag), and Im happy to report that although I had 45 cm of bowel removed I didnt need one, for which I am very grateful, and everything is back to normal.  So the game plan as far as Im concerned is:
  • Three months of chemo
  • Get rescanned, find out the chemo worked amazingly well and everything is substantially shrunk and some tumours are even gone
  • Surgery to remove the ovary
  • Three more months of chemo
  • Sir spheres direct into the liver
  • Get rescanned, find out the liver mets are clear on one side of my liver and the rest are operable
  • Shock the pants of Dr D who then has to eat his words and give me a liver resection
  • Dr Handsome will have fallen madly in love with me by that time, but of course despite his fantastic accent I will spurn his attentions for my fantastic husband, lol!
  • When I get the all clear, we will celebrate by opening one of our special bottles of wine with our favourite friends. 
I found a couple of quotes that have inspired me this week.  The first is from a mesothelioma patient and statistician who was expected to live for 8 months but survived for 20 years. He said that 'variation from the median is the new reality'.  The second quote 'see the doughnut, not the hole' is from that other great philosopher Homer Simpson ;-)

I couldnt finish up without a few words of thanks... to everyone who has been messaging me and texting me - your words of support have been great. Sorry I havent been able to catch up with everyone, but things will get a little less frantic now that Im getting settled into a routine. Special thanks to Miss L for a lovely lunch,  Miss S who unexpectedly got saddled with my job and is doing fantastically as usual (I miss you!), Miss B for offering to help with the kids and suggesting a fundraiser to help with the $18,000 we have to find for internal radiation therapy (anyone with ideas let me know) and the divine Miss M who arranged for a friend in Holland to send me these clogs.... I laughed my head off!!  Love'em!   Until next time, keep smiling!

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