Friday, September 12, 2014

Final Chemo - Not Really

This journey has created so many ups and downs, optimism and pessimism in my daily routine.  But, the one thing I've learned is no matter what they tell me, the opposite will probably happen.

I arrived at my "official last chemotherapy treatment" and had a lengthy discussion with my Oncologist and his Associate.  Here is the highlights of the conversation:

  • If you remember, 2 weeks ago my White Blood Count was 3.9, which is the lowest it can be within normal range.  My chemotherapy drugs, Carboplatin and Alimta, both destroy these cells so it was questionable if I would stay at that range.  We thought it would go lower and I would have to postpone.  Quite the opposite happened.  My White Blood Count today was 5.5 - so now we have to been on the lookout for what may be causing that.  Chemotherapy has destroyed my immune system so the first thought is I am fighting something off, but I really feel okay in that respect.
  • My true chemotherapy includes the 2 different drugs listed.  Any change in that is considered "maintenance therapy."A Tumor Board of Oncologists will be reviewing my case on Sept. 23, 2014 - they will decide one of two strategies - 
  • Option 1:  I will have CT Scan, MRI of Brain, and PET Scan of my whole body in approximately one month - after which time, depending on what they find, I will either continue with the "2 drug Chemotherapy" or begin maintenance
  • Option 2:  I will begin "maintenance therapy" which would be only the Alimta and that would continue every three weeks.  However, I won't start this for 6 weeks (end of October) to give my body time to recover from the Carboplatin which will be discontinued. If this option is what they choose, my scans won't be done until end of 2014 or beginning of 2015.
The reason I have to have maintenance therapy is even though there were no tumors found in several lymph nodes, there were free-floating microscopic cancer cells found in all.  Also, the main tumor was less than 2mm away from my pulmonary artery which also had free-floating cells.

Dr. Chang told me that given those facts, I could either be in maintenance therapy or clinical trial therapy for the rest of my life.  I asked him, "how long is that?"  His immediate reply, without hesitation was, "I have no idea and even if I did I don't think I would tell you at this point."    So now we await the decision of the Tumor Board on Sept. 23 - either way, at least I have at least a 6 week break in between treatments.

My optimism in this journey took his reply as "well if he doesn't know then it's not soon."  My pessimism tells me, "well that's not good."  Either way, I am still in this for the long haul.  I know my life changed dramatically in February and have adapted to that.

September 1st was also the date of my offical first Social Security Disability payment so I am now also official "disabled."  I think that word is the hardest of all to handle.  I accept I am sick, I accept I have cancer, but I don't think of myself as disabled.  A new world to get used to.  Especially since the doctor gave me the forms for the Handicapped Placard from BMV - isn't that only for old, grandma people....oops, I forgot, I am a grandma

It's Hockey Time Again
And this grandma...NO, this Nanna, gets to start Hockey this weekend with her favorite boy in the world - now, that's not disabled :)  That's not someone who is ready to throw in the towel just yet - we have a long road and a long fight ahead of us.

Enough Said !!!

No comments :

Post a Comment