Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Update on my lung cancer treatment
As promised (or threatened) I’m temporarily (for today) switching my blog post back to the subject of my original posts…the status of my lung cancer. While I’ve tried to avoid making my life all about my cancer, I do want to keep my friends updated as to the results of treatment. I’ve enjoyed delving into new artistic pursuits, and it’s been a lovely experience being able to share this with you. It helps me take my mind off some of the more difficult aspects of my cancer.
When unpleasant side effects of cancer or treatment take control of my body, it can be difficult to stay positive. The last few days have been like that. I’ve noticed an increase in pain and pressure in my back and side…issues that previously arose last winter (2009)after 10 months of treatment…which ended up being indicators that the cancer was back, after receiving a clean scan in late October.
Extreme congestion, coughing and shortness of breath have recently severely impacted my ability to sleep, to get the rest I need, to refresh through sleep, that most welcome respite from these stresses. Being tired hurts the spirit. It makes it too easy to not worry about the future.
When we talked to the oncologist last month, we were told that I would likely switch off of my current treatment after my next scan, which occurred last week. Eight treatments of Taxotere is about the max that most folks can handle, and I’ve just completed eight. The side effects become cumulatively worse, and the med becomes less effective.
We (my husband and I) were pleasantly surprised to hear yesterday that my cancer is mostly stable, with a bit less metabolic activity (showing a slight reduction in cancerous activity.) So, we jointly made the decision to continue on with the next 2treatments of Taxotere, which will make a total of 10 treatments. I had my 9th treatment today, which means I’ll be out of it for about 4-5 days, beginning this Friday.
During those down-days, my activities consist of the bare minimum: living in my PJs, and basically only sleeping and eating (OK, and toilet activities, of course.) My appetite seems to hold steady, amazingly, considering I’m not really burning any calories. I sleep, get up to eat, then go back to bed or to the recliner. I’m realizing that my attempts to downplay the impact on my life, (calling it a mini-vacation) have made it difficult for friends to realize how this impacts the usually energetic person that they know. Sometimes, even holding a book or watching a movie is more that I can handle. It IS an interesting experience for someone who has always been so active, but it does pass.
I sometimes have weird food cravings; last time it was Corn Flakes, which I haven’t purchased in YEARS! I’ve also craved canned chili and grilled ham and cheese. Who knows what it will be this time!
Anyway, the basic news is the cancerous activity is very slightly reduced, but considered to be holding steady. I can appreciate that! Funny, how not having the energy to do housework REALLY makes me appreciate doing housework when I come out on the other side of the chemo funk! Looking forward to some serious dusting come Tuesday!
Bring it on!