Last week on Tuesday I saw Dr. Page in McPherson. He seemed pleased with my progress after the 1st dose of Adriamycin. I had two issues going on. I had had 2 of those really weak spells and one mild one in the week before, and I had developed a sinus infection. He gave me a prescription for an antibiotic, and told me I needed to get a liter of fluids. He told me that I should call and come in for fluids any time I was having this difficulty. He said any time I had any queasiness I should “not try to be a hero” and just go on and take those pills. I sure do like him and so glad I made the change from Hutch. I miss the Hutch infusion center and the nurses there, but I’ll just stop in occasionally and see them. The McPherson infusion center is good, too. Just need to get acquainted there. Their chairs are big puffy recliners! They are so nice and comfortable! After getting lab drawn, they gave me a liter of normal saline, and other than my miserable sinuses, I felt much better.
By Saturday, I still didn’t feel good, but by Sunday morning, I was able to go to SS and church and play my keyboard. I actually did pretty well for the whole day. Most days, by the time I get a shower or sponge off, get dressed, and eat breakfast, I’m pretty well shot for the rest of the morning. I wake up most mornings with great intentions of getting something really accomplished, but by noon, my tail is dragging. I have Christmas gifts I want to work on, but just run out of steam. Oh, by the way, I did find the power cord and foot petal for my Bernina!! Woo hoo! Why in the world I put them in that bag and not in the box with the machine, is beyond me. I really want to try to get some embroidering done this week. We’ll see how motivated I get. J They will not be done for Christmas, but they’ll just get them when they get them.
Yesterday we went to Overland Park to Mark’s. He has been gone for weeks, but Amy has been there with the boys. Oh, my, she needs to be a home decorator! The house was so beautifully decorated for Christmas!!
I got up this morning and found a big bald spot in the middle of my hair side. I had taken a pillowcase to put over the dark blue one on the guest bed. I’m glad I did. Three to four weeks – right on time. Well, I won’t have to bug Guy anymore to shave my hair.
Today my thoughts and emotions have run the gamut. It has not been an easy day. It was not an easy ride home. I’ve pretty much been lost in my thoughts the rest of the day.
This morning I went to see Dr. Powers for my regular check back after the 1st chemo. I had sent him pictures a few weeks ago, and he said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he saw me today. But he seemed pleased with the progress after just one treatment. He gave me a big hug, and said something about “1 year”. I told him, other than the sinus infection (which I’m pretty much over now), I had been feeling good. I hadn’t really suffered any of the side effects from this first dose. I told him the last time I was there, he had showed me two small places – one in each lung, but the final report showed three small places in the right lung. He acknowledged that. I asked him about those cancer markers, and if my results had come back. He said they had – what they look for is that PL1 marker, and that says that immunotherapy might be appropriate. But mine came back absolutely negative, so I was not a candidate for that. He said we would just continue with what we were doing, and if it stopped being effective, there was still the Avastin, pills, and clinical trials. Then he got really serious, like he has in the past. His talk when something like this:
HIM: It is not easy to talk about things like this, especially around the holidays, but my advice to you is to do everything you can to enjoy the Christmas holidays this year. Celebrate all you can. If there are things you really want to do, do them. Places you want to go, go there. I can’t tell you what 2018 will hold for you. No one has any guarantees – not me, not you, but I would just urge you to take advantage of the holidays as much as you can, because, frankly, given your history and the aggressiveness of your disease, we just don’t know. We’ve given you a long round of chemo, a round of radiation, and in spite of what we do, this cancer persists and has moved to the liver (which was zapped) and now to your lungs. Given the progress we see on your face, we hope that the same progress is occurring in your lung.
ME: I haven’t ever really asked you this, and perhaps I really don’t want to know, but I think I have to ask. What do you think my life expectancy might be? What really is my prognosis at this point?
HIM: As I said, we really can predict, especially as you continue to feel good, but I would say that you have to think of in terms of months rather than years.
ME: (a bit of silence)……I know this on my head won’t kill me, but it’s the liver and lungs, isn’t it?
Months rather than years…….months rather than years…….whoa! That hit me like a ton of bricks. It sucked all the air out of the room. That wasn’t what I had in mind. I had pretty easily made it this past year, all things considered – actually 18 months! I’ve had every intention of beating this – God and I. Or at least living with it under control.
I wanted to cry, but my eyes were dry.
Instead, I reiterated the fact that as long as I was feeling good, and there were still workable options, I was not giving up, and I was going to fight this. I kept thinking…….he doesn’t know how many people are praying for me. Maybe he doesn’t know that my God is all powerful. With Him nothing is impossible!
He hugged me again, told me Merry Christmas and make the most of it. There was that phrase again! Like a dagger!
The nurse said they would leave open the date for the next scan. Dr. Powers had said he wanted me to have a least a total of 3 doses before he did another scan. Rather than schedule it now, since there is no guarantee that all my doses will come off as scheduled – depending on how my blood counts go, I might have to take shots to build up if they go too low. Oh, I pray I don’t have to postpone any doses!! Although the spots have gone down, it seems to me (and Guy) that the redness has darkened somewhat over the last 2 days. So I sure hope that I get to take the chemo Thursday of this week.
It was a rather glum ride home. Guy tried to reassure me that no one knows – we’ll just keep fighting it. I kept hearing “months rather than years……months rather than years……” When we got near the house, I told him, “If I could just have a good cry, I could maybe move on, but I’ve got no tears.”
I guess I’m allowing myself to process all this today with feelings on a real roller coaster. Sometimes I feel hopeless; sometimes I feel hopeful. Tonight, as I go to bed, I’ll lie down, and thank God for safe travels, for being at my side through thick and thin. I’ll ask Him once again for healing, as I do every day. I’ll see if He brings to mind a special old hymn to encourage and comfort me, as He does almost every night.
Tomorrow will be a new day. I’ll go to the ladies’ Bible study Christmas luncheon and surround myself with lots of wonderful ladies who love me dearly and are super supportive. And who knows……I might even get around to plugging in my sewing/embroidery machine…..Please keep up the prayers!!! And thank you in advance for them!!!
And as always……..I remain in His hands……..