No Way to Sugar Coat It

Sorry the news isn’t any better….

amyslifeblog

So with four rounds at the second attempt at chemo done, the test results are in. Despite the best attempts the cancer has continued to grow and is spreading beyond the liver. As such, we are no longer looking at, for all extents and purposes, a curable cancer. Bandaid right off – I’m dying.

There is a third chemo which may slow the spread but not offer a cure. But if I can get some more time, I will try it. We will also look into clinical trials – but the odds of a cure are remote at best.

Given the growth rate it’s hard to be certain, but we may be looking at 6 months to a year, maybe a little longer if we can slow the progression. Not the best of news.

On the bright side my second niece was born yesterday. A beautiful little girl. My only…

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Lets Get Real…Side Effects and More

Ok, warning this post contains details concerning side effects and details that are not pleasant. If you don’t want to hear the gory details stop reading here…..

So for those of you reading about side effects wondering what to expect, well it differs from person to person. That being said I will go into what I have experienced in the hopes that it gives you some insight. I’m currently on FOLFOXIRI with Avastin. For those counting – that’s four types of chemo. The side effects to date have included neuropathy (sensitivity to cold – like needle pricks in the fingers, toes and throat), skin darkening, cold like symptoms (sore throat & runny nose), muscle spasms, hair thinning, exhaustion, and the fun ones – nausea, dry heaves, vomiting, and diarrhea.

This second round saw the arrival of the dry heaves – all the fun of throwing up without the committal of actual vomit. The nausea seems to be getting progressively worse. Also, this second round saw a drop in my white blood count which triggered the docs to give me a shot to boost my counts. The shot also comes with its own side effect – bone pain. At first I thought I had just had the worst nights sleep ever or that my back went out (never had that happen so I wasn’t sure what that felt like). But then other parts started hurting too. Aleve helps, but it still hurts.

My recommendations:
1. Carry a trash or plastic bag in your purse for emergencies, vomit or otherwise.
2. Carry a change of pants and underwear just in case
3. Flush-able wet wipes are your friends
4. always have nausea and Aleve/pain meds on you
5. driving yourself to and from chemo is hard – your beyond tired, our sick and MDA is a big place. Sometimes it would be nice to get pushed around in a wheel chair
6. When on chemo – sleep is your friend. Your not nauseated when your asleep. Your back will get sore from sleeping, but its better than vomiting
7. Netflix and an IPad come in very handy during 7 1/2 hours for starting chemo
8. For me – when I;m on the pump for 5-FU, it helps to sleep at an incline.
9. Atkins protein shakes are good when you don’t feel like eating but need to absorb something
10. You have much more energy if you eat solid foods
11. It could be worse

Well I hope I haven’t forever altered the way you see me. If I come up with more I’ll let you know. Round three starts next week. SPOON!

I’m a bad little blogger…

Reblogged from www/amyslifeblog.com:

So it turns out working Amy and blogging Amy don’t play well together. When I’m on short term leave, I’m a good blogger. When I’m working, I’m a bad little blogger.

I’m two rounds into the new chemo regime. The side effects aren’t fun, but it could be worse. I’m thankful that I rebound quickly on my off chemo weeks. I just keep telling myself that as long as the chemo works, its all worth it. Short term pain for a (hopefully) long term gain.

I’ve been taking the time I’m on chemo off from work which has also helped. This is Wed – Fri. every other week. Work has been super supportive and I’m very thankful for all of their support. I’ve also been to Atlanta recently to visit my brother and his family. My niece is so cute. Its impossible not to be happy around her. She is such a cutie. My trip was a lot of fun and I hope to repeat it soon after my second niece is born.

I have two more rounds of chemo before we get new scans. So around Easter hopefully I will know more. Right now it could go pretty much one of three ways:
1. Chemo is working, and we continue chemo a little longer before surgery.
2. Chemo is working, and we look at surgery again.
3. Chemo isn’t working, and we have to re-access what we do.

Lets hope for either 1 or 2. I hope all is well with everyone out there. Cheers!

amyslifeblog

Its been a hard week. So we started last week with some scans to see how the liver tumor was doing and prepare for the (at that time) impending surgery. My surgeon however, had other plans based on the new scans.

Turms out the colon cancer had been having a field day over the holidays and continued to grow like a weed. Instead of a well defined singular tumor in the liver, I now have a larger primary tumor with diffuse edges and for good measure a secondary liver tumor. To top it off the lymph nodes around the liver are enlarged which could mean the cancer has grown beyond the liver. And to top it off there is some uncertain haziness in the peritoneal.

So what does this all mean…it means surgery right now is not the best option. Surgery would likely not catch all of the cancer and…

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Catching Up for the Holidays

Pardon my prolonged absence. Please see the repost from my other blog updating my current status and my apologies if you get this twice. I hope to be better about keeping up going forward. Cheers!

amyslifeblog

I haven’t updated for quite sometime. Between the holidays, work, and many many doctors appointments its been a busy time. I did, however, manage to slip away to Atlanta to spend a week with my brother and his family. My niece, just over a year old, was particularly cute. After warming up to me, the last two days she was super cute and clingy, not wanting me to put her down. And soon she will be a big sister. We got to see an ultrasound of her soon to be sister due in early April.

More good news, my brother has tested negative for Lynch Syndrome, so he and the girls are in the clear. And before leaving Houston, I also had a chance to see some of the family here. Suellen & Charles, Carol & Ray, Ariana & Dan, Diane & Salvatore, and of course my grandmother Mammy were…

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Cancer Can Be Lonely

Beyond the side effects, there is the emotional toll cancer takes one you. Maybe it’s a little different if your married, but I’m not. I do have family here but a lot of the time they are very busy. They have their own lives. Besides, all they really want to know is that I’m doing okay, otherwise they worry. And I don’t want them to worry. That just makes me feel bad.

And then there are my coworkers. People I see nearly every day of my life but don’t really know. They too just want to hear that everything is alright. I see them shift uncomfortably if I start to go into detail beyond my standard “I’m fine” response. But if I make my standard “I’m fine” response then they seem to ease a bit. Generally there’s really nothing more to say beyond that, so these conversations are usually very short.

Needless to say I’ve been feeling a bit isolated lately. Oh well, it’s getting time to rally for round four. I’m scared the side effects will continue to get worse, so I’m dreading this round, but at the same time I know it is the last round before we break to ready for surgery. I have doctors appointments everyday this next week except Monday, so it will be a busy week. Time for Cancer Girl to power up.

I hope everyone is well, and if anyone asks, I’m fine : )

Awaking From Chemo Hibernation

Round three finished last week and I spent almost all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday sleeping. Although Sunday I started to feel better and like eating a little something. More importantly my super nice cousin and her fabulous husband came by and helped me (meaning they did all the work) put together some new furniture for the new apartment. Thanks so much you guys!!!

Monday I left work early and bought a new couch. And today I found a recliner/club chair I like to go with it. I’ve been slowly but steadily unpacking but I still have a long long way to go. I have to at least clear room for the new sofa before its delivered.

This week is flying by and I don’t want it to. Next week is chemo again and each round seems to get worse. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m thankful for my upcoming surgery because it gives me a break in the chemo cycle. Of course, don’t ask me if I’m thankful the day after my next surgery : )

One more round, round 4, and then at least two months off. I can do this. SPOON! Now, back to Christmas shopping. For a shopaholic Christmas is the best time of year. Cheers!