So as you know, the bloods were good, so Pat and I trotted down to the Onc Centre to meet Dr Landers and to go forth with the chemo. Dr L was lovely as usual – so nice to have undivided attention – he refuses all interruptions and phone calls (which makes him unpopular with some GPs and surgeons), but his focus is on his patients. I think it makes a difference. The exam just found a little tenderness over the liver but he was chuffed that it’s not swollen or enlarged.
I’m scheduled for another CT scan on the 20th Feb, after I finish round 4b of the chemo. If there’s further reduction in the liver metastases and he can actually see what’s going on, he’s recommending something called radiofrequency ablation to zap the tumours in the liver with heat. Having a liver resection (where they cut out the bad bit) is not an option since the lesions are throughout my liver – I’d end up with a liver like a colander. Pat is sort of relieved – the idea of surgery to that extent terrifies both of us! RFA is apparently an outpatient procedure http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=rfaliver and has had good reports – not of cure but of extending life.
So the thing to wish for is that all of the tumours stay under 1.5 cm and the radiologists can zap them directly!
Met a fabulously inspiring woman at the OTC. Her name is Wendy and she works for Discovery a) I was impressed by how upbeat and well she looks b) her sense of humour is Pratchettian – suggesting that they have poledancing entertainment in the chemotherapy room – which she says is ideally set up for a class act because of all the mobile drip stands. She decided that belly dancing wasn’t an option because most people there are too skinny c) by her concern as an administrator for the patients that she works for c) that she is still working but doesn’t do finance stuff ‘cos she doesn’t want to mess with people’s finances as a result of ‘chemo-brain’ d) that she was dressed in pink from top to toe. I need to shop for colour!
Wendy is on her second go-round with cancer – she finds it very unfair that she didn’t get a second ‘dread disease payout’!
I discovered that she spent a lot of time in hospital last year – at least 3 blood transfusions because she’s anaemic and a big chunk of colon chopped out. She has a 14 year old son who knows all. (She did mutter about rationale for ‘justifiable homicide’, but gets her revenge by hugging him in public.) She made me laugh for two solid hours despite the fact that she is one of the people who feels grottty when she’s ‘dripping’. We had a real coffee klatch without the coffee – and were scolded by the sisters for not noticing that our bags had finished causing air to get into our lines. Add her to your prayers if you would – this woman is pure life force – and uplifted the two very sad people there just with her patter.
It was an honour to meet her.
Chemo went well, with just a couple of 5 minute naps. I’ll have Avastin tomorrow making tomorrow’s session longer but it made today’s session shorter. Pat and I are getting good at the timing. Tamsin the onco nurse told me “Two bags left”, I do a quick calculation (very rough) that that’s an hour and I had 15 minutes for contingency and my ‘takeaway’ hookup. I sms Pat to pick me up at 2.45. I walk out at 2.42 and sit on a stone under a tree on Ridge Rd, and Pat rolls up at quarter to three. How good are we?
So I’m dripping along merrily as I type – pretty amazed that although my knees were wobbly this am – stronger than yesterday- which I’m putting down to the scrambled eggs we had for dinner last night, they are feeling remarkably stable tonight. And no, they don’t put feel-good muti into the drips – just the mild steroid for antinausea. I asked. I’m just one of the incredibly lucky ones that doesn’t feel bad when they’re dripping – I get the couch days a week later. I always was slow.
Which reminds me of Robert Graves poem The Cool Web, subject of the first English Lit assignment in first year, which I nearly failed – I think I got 52%. If I could give a percentage to today’s experience I’d give it an 80% (the ‘what next’ question is still too open to rate 100%). Hope you guys are all doing well and for those of you on FaceBook – check out the magnificent mosaic coffee table that Portia Redmond has made!
Till later –