On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Not what I expected

Steve and I were on the road by 7:00 this morning to get me to an early radiation appointment.  Tomorrow will be earlier yet.  The good news is that there are only three cycles to go, Friday being the last day.  We also met with the radiation oncologist who said things are going as expected.  When I confronted him about the infection he apologized saying, "I'm sorry we missed that."  Which set me off all over again, I mean, what's with the "we"?  I certainly didn't miss it, I told him four times.  But sometimes you choose your battles......

My next appointment was for an infusion of Aredia, a bone strengthener, and an appointment with my regular oncologist.  The Aredia was on hold because some of yesterday's blood tests came back wonky and had to be redone.  It wasn't lab error, it was about me falling apart.  I'm anemic again, woefully dehydrated which raised the creatinine, etc.  I take so many meds now that I'm often nauseous and then there are meds for that.  My blood pressure was 84/62, a tad low and likely from the dehydration.

Food?  What's that? I lost three more pounds this week and the most strenuous exercise was walking from sofa to bed.  I felt forced to cancel Juvenile Hall again yesterday, the high point of my week, but I could hardly take care of myself just then let alone keep eight energetic teens focused and participating.

The sucker-punch came when I met with the oncologist.  While pleased with treatments so far, he really wants me have three months of an entirely new chemotherapy agent, Gemzar.  I was shocked.  I had it in my head that I would complete radiation this week, recover in a month or two and be back in remission and on my merry way.  I never dreamed the scenario would be to complete radiation, get two weeks off and then start all over again.

(At the risk of being Pollyanna, I do acknowledge that it was wonderful being back in the infusion suite when I have been a regular patient for almost eleven years.  I was last there three months ago.  Steve and I are well known (he baked scones to bring in this morning), were greeted warmly and I was so glad to be with my regular oncologist ["I missed you so much!" "Well, you can come by any time your little heart desires!"] and the nurses and medical assistants and oncology pharmacists.)

While the infusion went well I was feeling sicker and sicker as time passed from the antibiotic and morphine and a fistful of other meds.  So they gave me more pills for that - and then I threw up in the car on the way home like a five-year old while Steve tried desperately to pull over on the shoulder.  Not my best moment!  So I slept the next six hours, finally managed a small cup of Steve's homemade tortilla soup, mostly the brothy part, and will try living again tomorrow.  I mean, I've had better days.

In the end, I don't know what to make of it all.  After Gemzar, then will I be back in remission and on my merry way?  Or is that not realistic either.  Don't know.  Oh, and I might not lose my hair for the third time.... Rats, I hear that as I might.....


  1. I am so sorry Barbara for your ongoing struggle with Cancer, such a horrible experience to go through. I pray that God gives you much strength and especially healing for your ravaged tired body.
    Hugs and many blessings.

  2. I'm with Kelly. Sounds like a miserable passage right now. Here's hoping and praying you come out of it strong and ready to go! -Alice


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