I met with the oncologist this past week to discuss our plan moving forward into the land of chemotherapy. With only limited information to go on we didn’t discuss much, just the general plan before establishing a loose time line for starting the sessions. The specifics are as follows.
June 7th I will have a port installed into my body, underneath my skin, so that I don’t have to be stuck with a needle every time I go in for treatment.
Soon after having the port installed I will begin my treatments, so we’re looking at mid to late June for treatment to start.
There will be 12 treatments every 2 weeks, which means I’m looking at 6 months of slow poisoning before, hopefully, going back into surgery.
The best case scenario is that the tumors respond to the chemotherapy, shrink to a minimal size, allowing the doctors to go back in during surgery and remove what was left, what they couldn’t get out of me the first time. Of course, as in everything with cancer, nothing is guaranteed and the repeated tests I’ll be taking during treatment will determine if the tumors are responding appropriately or not. If they aren’t, then we switch up the poison recipe to see if we can find something that DOES work. And if that continues to fail…well…nice knowing you. But we aren’t dwelling on that right now. No point. We’re just moving forward in the hopes that we can get this out of the way, get back into surgery and get THAT out of the way. Always onward.
They are still running biopsy tests on the tumors to determine exactly what mixture of poisons we should use to attack this cancer, so I can’t give any specifics on that yet. I hope to find that out soon. So in this long, drawn out process, that is the next step. I’m continuing to manage my discomfort as I head towards another round of physical procedures that will bring their own special surprises. I can’t wait! 🙂
Speaking of discomfort, my days have not changed too drastically, but that isn’t to say I haven’t made progress. See, as a distance runner, I’m having problems adjusting my perceptions of healing and progression away from the knowable, expected trajectory of recovering from a race or hard workout. In running, you know pretty well how you are going to feel after a specific hard workout or after putting in a strong race effort, and that recovery and healing follows a pretty linear path. You know you will be sore the next day, but later on you’ll feel better, and the next day you’ll feel even stronger and so on. Each day gets easier and easier until you can get back to running at full force.
I want to believe the recovery I’m going through follows the same path…but it doesn’t. As far as I can determine, there is NO pattern to rely on. One day I’ll wake up feeling pretty good, minimal discomfort and pain which will carry into the rest of the day, almost giving me the sense that I could be physically active without concern. Then the next day I don’t want to get out of bed, aches and pains making themselves known throughout my body. Some days I’m energized and hopeful, while others I have to cut all activities and take a nap just to hit the reset button to finish the day. Like I said, there is no pattern, no expectation, no rhythm. Each day could be good or bad, making it difficult to plan ahead or arrange meetings with friends, knowing that I may be completely incapacitated with fatigue or discomfort.
But that isn’t to say there haven’t been small victories. The bowel movements that were ruining my days have finally become more predictable and normal, not causing extreme pain and forcing me to nap from the effort. I can only imagine that something inside me has repaired itself, allowing another function to revert to a state of normalcy. My appetite, although marked by awkward cravings has at least become consistent and I can hopefully stop the continued weight loss by eating constantly throughout the day. The last visit to the doctor had me weighing in below 128, which is not only under my race weight, but was partially acheived through both fat and muscle loss. It’s by no means a healthy weight, so being able to eat at will is another important progression.
Still, overall my days are consumed with comfort and discomfort that remains unpredictable, sometimes hour to hour, and I’ve had to really adjust my perceptions of healing away from the expected trajectory of running recovery to this unknowable back and forth of surgery recovery. I’ve come a long ways from how I felt in the hospital, but I know I still have so far to go, now through chemo too, before I get back to that sense of self and strength I had before all this came to be known. But regardless of the back and forth of it all, we are ultimately moving forward and that’s where I’ll keep looking until this is all behind me.