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!


  1. Sending you love and healing thoughts! Can't wait for you to visit the new school~it is beautiful! Love, Tamera

  2. Hi Lady,
    You, your words, the pictures you post are all so beautiful. I am so touched when I read your news and pray for more healing. You are one tough cookie to endure all of this.
    Blessings of love and light with pure gratefulness for knowing you.
    Love, Colleen

  3. Thank you Linda for your update. You are in my thoughts every day. Hmm, the corn flakes I can understand, somehow, but canned chili.... Costco has some that's very tasty I hear; let me know if you'd like to try it. It's called Cattle Drive, I think. Being a veggie it's a Glen and Dan treat but...
    Amazing how the mundane things seem enticing when we cannot do them. You get the time now to be - simply and completely, just be-ing. That's a gift of its own, though hard to see. Your attitude is amazing and you are my hero. Much love - Sandy

  4. I've read that when we crave certain foods, that it's really something lacking in our diet that's in that food we are actually craving. Like if you crave milk or cheese, it's really calcium your body is screaming for. I'm a vegan. I wonder what I would crave. Probably everything I've denied myself all these years. When I was pregnant, I craved watermelon. That was appropriate, I think!
    Hopeful news that the cancer has quieted, Linda . You are in my prayers. I'll hang onto that picture of you humming and dusting like mad!!! Hugs, Sunny

  5. Linda, you are amazing, thank you for sharing and honestly you are my hero. You write your blog so eloquently through all you are going through, it truly inspires me as well as many others I'm sure. You are a strong person and I'm so glad to live in Del Dios with you. Keep on truckin my friend, you will have your energy back soon. My thoughts and blessings are with you and Clark during this challenging time. Cherrie

  6. I still think you missed your calling as a language arts teacher! Somehow you bring me to tears and then laughter, and I can so not imagine you eating canned chilli! ahhhhh. Let me know when the cravings call and I'll bring something funky and fun your way.
    I miss your smiles and laughter which I know would drown out the construction noises and blow the dust away.
    Big hugs to you and Clark,

  7. Ahhh...Thank you all! You are all so loving, kind, and supportive! I read your responses, see your faces, and I am blessed with smiles and tears...knowing all the love coming my way.

    I am reminded of the blessings coming my way because of my cancer!

  8. Linda, you are so often in my thoughts. I feel so fortunate for having met you and I agree with all your friends here that your sweet spirit brightens the planet. I'm sending you my bestist strengthening vibes ever! Rest, you beautiful warrior woman, and then we play. :)

    Love you!


  9. Well, my friend, you do have a way with words.......someone used the word eloquent, very fitting, considering what you are going through right now, you could be as negative as you want and I think all of us would understand. I remember the days of thinking, i will never complain that I have errands to run and clothes to wash and floors to clean when i get through these treatments; I have to admit, at times I do forget and I complain and then I get reminded, like today, all of those things that seem like a struggle are NOTHING compared to dealing with cancer.
    You know you and Clark are in my thoughts and prayers xoxo

  10. Oh, Linda, that's good news! You're always in my thoughts and prayers. I know that recovering from the effects of chemo isn't really a mini-vacation, just like a hot flash isn't really a short trip to a tropical destination, but I love that you're so positive. Just remember, it's OK to be pissed and bitchy too. Sounds like good names for cats--Pissed and Bitchy. Love you! Lori

  11. our dearest of linda. you are incredibly beautiful in your thoughts and letting us share the ups and downs and sideways twists of cancer with you... all our life's a circle, sunrise and sundown...
    i get this funny feeling, we'll all be together again.. no straight lines make up our lives, all our roads have bends.. no clearcut beginnings.. so far no deadends... thru your writings, we go around with you.. lets go round.. one more time.. in our prayers, linda... and prayers are good for all...

  12. Thank you ALL! You've no idea how much your love, support and kind words mean to me!
    So very UPLIFTING!

  13. OK Linda, here's the deal. When you are feeling better, you come to my house and dust and I'll heat up a can of chili for you. Allright? ;-)
    I'm so glad to hear the cancer is stable. Be kind to yourself while you rest and heal and know you are loved.

  14. Oh, what a deal, Electra! Except, I'm suffereing from chemo-brain, and might end up dusting a bowl of chili.
    Yes...I'm lying low this weekend!

  15. Hi Friend,

    I'm thinking about you this weekend. As you can imagine, with the new school almost completed, we have lots of dusting for you. Your desk is full of dust-just waiting for your return. I'll make sure no one touches it until you're back-I'll provide the cleaner :-). You're loved. Lindy

  16. I can only hope that in your position I would be so positive, it can only help! Sorry that your treatment is such a pain, hope you enjoy getting over the effects of it next week.

  17. oh god hunny, my thoughts are with you! I pray that you get some sleep to help you, have been looking back over your creations and they are beautiful! rest up plenty for your battle with the dust bunnies on tuesday, hugs from a messey woyww'er, mandy xx

  18. Dear Linda,
    I was feeling sorry for myself having to fly to Boston again for a terrible project I'm on. Then I read your blog and feel so ashamed for having negative thoughts instead of positive ones. I feel blessed to have you as a friend and your uplifting spirit & courage is a blessing to all of us. You are in my prayers always. Love you, Dusty

  19. Oooh-hoo! I'm famous! Strangers are finding me! OK, I know, it's cause I visited a new site, but this is too fun.!
    Dust bunnies, what dust bunnies?

  20. oh no, I am so sorry to hear, all the best, sending you many cyber flowers

  21. Hi, Linda: I've been far away, enjoying Tuscany with my husband who taught a watercolor workshop there. So, I just read your blog. However, on the trip when I was feeling travel tired, I thanked my Creator for the ability to do all the things we did. Not just financially, but especially physically. I thought of you and a couple of other people in my life who are fighting cancer, and felt immediately chastised for even considering that I was too tired to do whatever!

    Your words are truly an inspiration to me and I pray for you. I admire you and hope that you are back to dusting!

    Love, Anne


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