Last week, when I went in for my chemo I learned the results of my first scan to see how the chemo was doing. Although I knew the lymph nodes on my neck that led to my discovery of the cancer were receding, I was still nervous about the result. In fact, my blood pressure, which is normally low (in the 90’s over 60 to 62) was in normal range, which for me is high. When the physician’s assistant walked into the room, she was smiling, asked if I knew about the scan and said, all is good, very good. Every tumor was receding, and she and the doctor were happy with the results. I breathed a sigh of relief, smiled and then proceeded, shortly thereafter, to send the news on to my office, my friends, my family. Recession is good. Recession is what I want. Recession in my case means that the cancer is stopped and getting smaller. Lets hope it keeps on.
When I saw the doctor, he was also pleased. I then asked him if the plan was that I stop chemo at the end of the year and take a break. His answer – no. There is no end date. The plan is that I live with the cancer, they keep it at bay, that hopefully new drugs are available next year, we try those, and we keep going. Fine with me. While the chemo puts limits on my time – 4 days of hell, followed by 10 good days – and means that travel is limited to a set period of time if I want to go away, I am living and I am strong on my 10 days.
Immediately after hearing the news, Alan gave me the title to this blog, saying I should write one about the news. Of course I planned to do so. While I expected the news, given the shrinking of the lymph node on my neck, while I visualize myself healthy and cancer free, I am realistic and know that with this disease and the treatments we now have, there are never any guarantees. I plan to beat the odds. I plan to be around a long time. Knowing that at this time, so far, the chemo is working, helps strengthen that resolve. But deep down, I was very nervous about the news, and so relieved when I heard it. The next scan is in October, and I am sure I will have a similar reaction.
Apparently, to make up for the good news, my chemo days were worse than the last two times and I was back to Ensure as my source of food for two days. If that is what I have to go through, I do not care. I do dread the chemo each time, and even today realized I am back to chemo in just one week. This two week interval goes fast. Now, I am feeling good. This morning I did my yoga practice. This afternoon I will be meeting a client/friend and my friends Deb and Judy for lunch. The sweetness of these days when I feel good become more and more important to me as I go through this process. During my chemo days I sit on the couch in my library, barely moving, just able to get down some nourishment, to watch HGTV or something similarly distracting, and usually cannot read a book until those two days are past, even though I am an avid reader. This time, I even asked my son to come over Friday night to help me because Alan was at a client dinner and I was feeling very weak. This is not my normal self. This is my chemo self – the one who is laid low for three to four days by chemo. My normal self bounces back and will continue to bounce back after those days. I will not let the chemo rule my life.
I was thinking during this that my sister-in-law, Sue, who had Hodgkins disease when she was in college, more than 35 years ago, also was treated with chemo. This is poison and after all these years one would think that there would be better treatments. Although there are, in cases like breast an prostate cancer, which get a LOT of money for research, other cancers, like GI cancer which is mine, get a pittance. I talked to Dr. P. about this and he said he has slides that show the very, very percentage of funds that go to GI research and thus, to development of new therapies. In the case of breast cancer, there have been amazing strides in the last 5 years and 10 years. Not so much for my type of cancer. I told him I wanted to start a non-profit to raise funds for GI cancer. The Susan P. Komen Foundation has a lot to do with the awareness and raising of funds for breast cancer. Obviously, these types of non-profits can work. But in the meantime, I am doing chemo, there are potential other drugs down the line, including the drug that targets the MET positive gene, which I have, so on I go.
Recession, recession, recession is what I want. Recession, recession, recession is what I need. That is one of my new mantras.