Monday, November 17, 2008

Like cake


Serena cheering me through Cycle 15/17.

(11/17/08)

Numba 15 is done! It was like liquid cake, fed intravenously through my chest and bringing about a slight burning sensation in my nostrils. Okay, so the analogy doesn't work that well, but what I mean is, the day seemed to go by with few problems. I had to get poked three times in my double-lumen port, though - once in the morning to access one lumen for bloodwork, and then twice after my doctor's appointment before getting treatment, because the first needle was defective. No big deal, but we did determine that using the cold spray that they have does in fact help reduce the pain of inserting the needle (we did the first one without the spray and the second one with the spray. Normally I have to smear on this lidocaine cream half an hour beforehand to numb the area, but since I had done that before labs earlier in the day, it had worn off by the time I was getting treatment. Anywayz. . . ). I had a little bit of nausea after lunch, so I took an Ativan, and after claiming to my nurse Kyla that Ativan doesn't actually make me that sleepy, I promptly fell asleep for the rest of the afternoon until about 4pm. We got out of there pretty late, about 7:30pm, but I feel pretty good, relatively speaking. This was a Vincristine/Cyclophosphamide cycle, and it's been hit or miss since I dropped the Adriamycin. After the first one-day cycle I had, I went camping the next day and was relatively fine. I didn't feel perfect, but I was able to hike and wander around with no big problems. The second time I felt pretty crappy for a couple days after. We'll see what this one holds. Sometimes I think if I force myself to do something rather than lie around and feel crappy it might be better. Who knows.

In general, I'm still on track, thanks to the new timing schedule for my neupogen shots, and things are going pretty well. No lumps or bumps or humps or clumps anywhere. The latest scans show nothing in my pelvis, and the little lung nodules persist, indicating that they were probably not metastasis to begin with - a definite good sign. I've had some blood in my urine the past couple cycles, though, so the docs have upped my dose of Mesna, which Serena likes to say in the voice of Edna Mode from the Incredibles: "Mehhh-znah". Mesna acts as a bladder protectant, but apparently it's not been doing its job very well. Protect that bladder! Hopefully I won't have any significant toxicity issues, or I might not be able to finish off the last two cycles. I suppose it wouldn't be the worst thing - at this point in the protocol it's unclear as to whether these last two make a difference or not. Still, the big thing is. . . ONLY TWO MORE!!!

Psychologically, though, I'm cautiously optimistic. I've certainly had darker days (usually right before I begin a cycle I'm just in a bad mood - It's hard when you feel relatively normal and you know you have to go feel crappy for a couple days), but I think the worst of the uncertainty is yet to come. While you're getting treatment, you know that you're actively doing something. You have a plan, and a set of tasks that you need to accomplish. Once you're done treatment, you just have to wait and see. You go into surveillance mode and try and continue with your life, always wondering if the cancer will rear its ugly head again. I never thought I would be turning 30 with the prospect of this kind of uncertainty in my life. I'm sure it will hit me even harder when the treatment is done.

So, nice, vague question for the day: How do you deal with uncertainty in your life?

Here are some random pics to peruse while you're contemplating:

My cousin Monica had a baby girl in SF on Saturday. My mom and I went to visit on Sunday afternoon.
My mom holding her yet-to-be-named grand-niece.


The newly expanded family: Monica, Jimmy (her husband), baby, and Sophie (their two-year old).


Monica with baby, Mom with Sophie, and me with bald baby-like head.

Okay, now answer the question!!

1 comment:

Eehern said...

I guess I've never commented on your blog, so I suppose I'll give it a shot..

1. I guess it's uncertain. Which means there's nothing I can do about it. So usually I try to forget about it.
2. Well that's a load of crap. So I start thinking of all the possibilities. It makes the actuality a little more tangible, even when some of the options kind of suck.
3. Usually I don't like talking about it with people. I'm kind of antisocial in that way. Well, I guess it just makes me feel like I don't know what I'm talking about .. even more so than usual.
4. But thinking about it by myself is kind of nice. Nobody really judging. One of my friends was talking about how our brains kind of function like roads, like some people have bigger highways than others, some have a lot of gridlock, and some just get stuck in those damn roundabouts. I think uncertainty kind of puts our brains in one of those endless loop, and you just end up wasting gas without seeing anything new. But isn't it nice just to go cruising sometimes? Alright, alight, guess I've beat that analogy to death.
5. So basically after much thought and daydream, I usually end up nowhere new, and several lectures behind. The upside, though, is that it doesn't seem so uncertain when the possibilities are known and I have an idea of what I'll do in each case.
6. And finally, I buy a lottery ticket! This idea was actually suggested from a good friend of mine. The philosophy is that if you win, sweet! And if not, then you accumulate some of that luck as a sort of IOU. I suppose it's sort of like the argument that gambling isn't really gambling, just a loan to the casino and that you'll be back for it later. Or the whole karma biz. But it does make me feel better. As does the gambling.

cute kid!