My blog is eclectic if nothing else. Rather like my decor.
I like to write. I'm usually a klutz at face-to-face but in writing I can back up, edit, rephrase, try to make my words say what I really want them to convey. And so I write. About numerous subjects.
Today I'm writing about my chemo. I won't be offended if you click elsewhere. You have my permission to do so. Not everyone wants to read about cancer.
My ovarian cancer was diagnosed a year ago during routine gall bladder surgery. Mine is stage III-C which means cells occurred throughout my abdominal cavity but had not yet metastasized (invaded) into bones, lungs, brain. Which, believe you me, is a good thing.
That month I had one major surgery and two minor and was in the hospital a total of 13 days. One of those minor surgeries was placement of a Power Port just below my left collar bone. It's a marvelous thing. Many hate their ports. I love mine...it makes accessing for chemo or blood draws easy.
A year ago in February I began six sessions of heavy-duty chemo every 3 weeks. During that time I was on a double-blind clinical trial (GOG-218) using a third drug (or placebo) in combo with the carbo/taxol. After six sessions the protocal was that my group was to continue with only the trial drug Avastin (or placebo).
By December mild symptoms of discomfort and a rising tumor marker in my blood told me that I was recurring. A PET scan January 8 verified that my intuition was right on. By protocol my recurrence meant I was dropped from the trial. My doc was able to unblind my records and tell me that I had been on the placebo and not the trial drug Avastin. Again, my intuition had been right. I had never believed I was getting the Avastin for I had none of its symptoms...high blood pressure, bloody nose, etc.
With the recurrence I am back on chemo. This time I'm taking the carbo/taxel along with Avastin. This time my treatments are weekly but with lower dosages. I get the three-drug combo on Week 1. Weeks 2 and 3 are taxol only. Week 4 is free, no chemo. Then we start all over again with Week 1. That was today. Doc says I will probably continue this for six months provided blood tests and scans show this drug combo is working.
I still have my Power Port and it is my friend! The nurse inserts a short needle thingy (I don't know what it is called!) through the skin into the port. It's as simple as plugging an electric cord into the wall socket. Just like that! It's done. There is a momentary sting...hardly enough of a sting to even say "Ouch!" And then infusion begins. The session is usually several hours long because different drugs go in at different times. Decadron. Benedryl. Zantac. Aloxi. Carboplatin. Paclitaxel. Avastin. Saline flush. (not necessarily in that order) I usually spend the first hours reading or chatting. Until the benadryl is administered and then I take a nap. I asked them to lower the benadryl and they did, but it still makes me sleepy and I can't hold my eyes open any longer.
I like to get the recliner next to the window. I can see Nurse Diana's door from there. And I can chat with whoever is in the window chairs for blood or shots or blood pressures. That is, if they want to chat. I'm careful about invading personal space.
Lesser dosages mean no more than a couple twinges of bone pain with Week 1. No symptoms whatsoever on Weeks 2 and 3. Other Than Hair loss! Yep. Hubby helped me buzz my head this week after it had thinned to patches. My curls were gone. My scalp hurt. It was a mess. I just wanted to be rid of it.
No, I won't complain about hair loss. At least until the eye lashes fall out...which I figure will be within the next three weeks sometime. Then I might complain. A little. A tiny bit. Eye liner will help but only if you stand at least six feet away from me and have poor eyesight and are deluded into thinking eyeliner looks like lashes!
This year cancer seems not so traumatic. I'm not stressed about it. I'm surprised, really, that it does not psych me out. It's as if the trauma of it all occurred last year. The shock, the struggle to sink this into my brain...the statistics, the possibilities, the what ifs, the whyfors, the why me? I've already gone through all of that and come out on the other side. I'm quite aware of the possibilities ahead of me...I just am not going to spend every waking moment obsessing about it.
I'm come to grips with it, really. I've said my prayers. I've done the tears. Now I continue in prayer and thank God that I feel well today. And presumably tomorrow. I'm convinced that the Creator God, who made us all, has my days mapped out for me (Psalm 139:16). Whatever the purpose of all this, I know that it is for my good (Romans 8:28) and for His glory. Right now, in this world, we do not see all of it to its fullness. It's as if we look through a dirty stained glass and see only dimly, but when all is said and done, when we arrive in God's presence, we will see it all clearly (I Cor. 13:12) and we will see that God's sovereign will is perfect, always and forever.
In the meantime we live. And we enjoy the step in front of us, the task in front of us, the people beside us, the world around us. I do that with joy. I hope you, too, are looking at the joy of life. And living it well in the knowledge of the goodness of God.
The dragon? You have to go here to read about the dragon and about my meeting Sven the Dragon Slayer.