I started third-line chemo today. A whole new set of drugs for a whole new 6 months. Eish, I often find new starts daunting.
After 2 weeks’ recovery from surgery, I’m still nursing my right leg as I move so my left leg is getting a workout doing all the heavy work! I had my bloods tested yesterday – the levels are all sitting pretty which I’m pleased about. The tumour marker is at 145 (up from 118 pre-surgery). A bit of a disappointment, admittedly, but I know it’s a fickle measure. It’s the new baseline from which we’ll measure progress through this phase of chemo. The oncologist is concerned by the level but agrees with me (I’ve had enough practice with my body by this stage to make decent semi-educated guesses) that it could be due to some inflammation from the op. Considering my immune system’s been bombarded for 9 months with heavy toxins, slow recovery is to be expected. Well, this was before she examined me…
Doctor’s funny reaction
The op site has some hard swelling which is bigger than the tumour/gland that was removed. I wish I could do her expression justice in writing. Standing over me with gloves on, ruler in hand, glasses perched on the tip of her nose, her “What NOW??” look of disbelief searched my face for an answer. She even double-checked with me that the surgeon removed what he was supposed to. Indeed, her notes and his report were all true. She’s an extremely competent scientist but her moment of total incredulity and utter self-doubt showed her humanity. I laughed out loud at her reaction. Anyway, we’re optimistic. She says it could well be a haematoma (sub-surface pool of clotting/bruising) from surgery and advised me what to do about it.
So, I’m on a new drug – just one this time. She shot me with a light dose today and if I react well, she’ll go to full dose from next week. Common side effects are fatigue and neutropaenia (a drop in neutrophil [a type of white blood cell] levels). The latter is the concern in my case. It’s the one my body hasn’t been able to maintain at decent levels throughout treatment and so I foresee more boosting injections to bring home and possibly more delays. I’ll take it as it comes.
For the moment, I’m not sure how I feel about this new development. I don’t feel gutted and despondent like before. I’ve received more alternative healing therapies recently so perhaps that’s working. Maybe I’ve become used to my recent improved functionality because I’ve had a break from treatment for a few weeks. Something’s different. Better. I feel more encouraged.
Thank you everyone for your well-wishes. I’m astounded with the ongoing messages, emails, phone calls, visits. You’re all doing an awesome job at being supportive of me!! 😉