Chemo #26 – Mission Aborted

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Yesterday’s CT scan showed a couple of cystic growths.  In this instance, growth doesn’t equate to tumour; just literally an increase in size.  And cystic, I’m told, means it could be fluid.  In case you’re confused by the vagueness, it didn’t mean much to me either.  My bloods were good enough to receive (what was to be the penultimate) chemo today but she’s holding off over concern about my recent tumour marker level. 

Two bits of unwelcome news.  Firstly, she’s changing my drugs (for the second time).  Disbelief.  The protocol is 6 cycles – the usual – and so I’m starting another 6 months of this all over again.  Shock.  One of the drugs causes very dry skin.  I’m imagining fish scales but we’ll see!  Horror.  It’s also not readily available in the country and special application has to be made.  I’m torn; the more effective drug has this horrible side effect but I really want to get better.  So do I hope for its approval or not?  Yes, I know the answer but I do tire of the positive stuff.  Deflated.

Secondly, that swollen gland that had me off to the GP a year ago seems to be one of the inflamed masses.  She prodded me properly to check in which direction it had grown.  I think she was unconvinced because she sent me off to the surgeon next who did more prodding.  I’m booked into theatre next week to have it removed.  It’s a superficial op unlike the others I had so I should be home after a night in the ward.  The upside?  Since the paperwork for the new drugs will take a few weeks, I have time to have this op.  How convenient.

Much is going through my head.
I’m annoyed that they didn’t remove it in the first place.  Hello, if they forgot (or whatever) during the first op, they had another TWO opportunities to do so.
I’m hoping this is the cause of inflammation that raised the tumour marker.
I’m nervous of being back in theatre with the risk of contracting some superbug again especially now with my compromised immune system.
I feel quite bashed about and powerless.  I hate being out of control – especially of my own health.

When I eventually walked out to go home, the cool rain remedied my mood slightly.  It’s been hot and humid recently and in the respite, I thought the sky might be sympathising with me.  A tiny consolation.

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Chemo #25

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The state of my blood tests have been a focus of mine over the months.  Since poor results mean no chemo or a delay, I’ve been trying to eat well in terms of a balance of iron, protein and fresh fruit and veg.  Over the past month, I’ve put on a discernable amount of weight which is not a happy, but separate, topic so I’ll leave it at that.

Today my bloods were good so I received a full set of drugs again:-)  I also had an appointment with the oncologist (usual at the beginning of a new cycle).  She didn’t look happy when I walked in which was explained by her subsequent line of questioning into my state of health.  Although the tumour marker has been slowly and steadily declining (it was last at 64 last month), this time the result was 118.  We’d both been hoping for a 50-something so for the umpteenth time, I got that stomach-to-the-floor sensation of disappointment.

If I’d had some recent infection or inflammation (I tried laughing the weight gain in as an inflammation of sorts but it didn’t relieve even my own concern), that might explain it but I’ve been well.  Still, without obvious signs or symptoms, I’m hoping it’s nothing.

The good news is this is my last official cycle and I have only 2 more treatments left after today!  I’ll still celebrate having come through the past 10 months of chemo before the doctor delivers what the next step should be.  I’m booked in for a CT scan next week to find out what the hell might be going on.  I have no idea what to expect – this type of surprise isn’t much fun.

Anthem

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A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause”. 

I found mine this week.  I am the entire cause.

Thanks, Katy…

“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar”

The fun music video.