Monday, February 2, 2009

Big C Update

A man who had taken some medical tests got a call from the doctor two days later.
The doctor said, “I have good news and bad news for you. Which do you want first?”
The man asked to hear the good news first. The doctor said, “The good news is that the tests show you only have two days to live.”
“You call that good news?” the man spluttered. “If that is good news, what’s the bad news?”
“Well,” the doctor said, “the bad news is that I’ve been trying to call you since yesterday morning.”

A man visits his doctor, and after thorough examination, the doctor tells him, "I have good news and bad news, what would you like to hear first?"
The man says, "Well, let me have the bad news first."
The doctor says, "You have cancer, I estimate that you have about two years left."
"Oh no!” the patient cries. “That's just awful! In two years my life will be over! What kind of good news could you tell me, after this?"
The doctor says, "You also have Alzheimer's. In a few months you’ll forget all about the cancer."

Okay, now that we have some perspective...the bad news is, I seem to have a particularly stubborn, naughty, aggressive cancer. Two weeks ago, Dr. A confirmed what I have suspected: it's been four months since my stem cell transplant, and it is now clear that all of my lab results are moving in the wrong direction. He thinks it's time to do more chemo, this time with an older, stronger drug.

I am not the least bit interested in prolonging my life as I currently live it: more and more narcotics without any real pain relief. After months of complaining about increasing back pain, an MRI revealed that in addition to my compression fracture (now estimated to be 90% compressed), there are three additional vertebrae with significant damage.

Which brings me to the good news. I saw a neurosurgeon last week who looked over my MRI and said that kyphoplasty can be performed on my two worst vertebrae, and that there is a very good chance I can get some relief. After some imaginary cartwheels, I asked how soon I could have the surgery. It is scheduled for next Tuesday. It will take 2 hours or less and be performed under general anesthesia. The doc has performed this surgery 100+ times, and has only hospitalized one patient. I think I'm in pretty good hands - especially since I don't have to get anywhere near the IR pricks!

So I will at least have a discussion with Dr. A about the chemo; if one other condition can be met, I will at least consider it.

For the last 14 months, I really have not been angry about the cancer. I've never said "Why me?" because frankly, why not me? If there's "X" amount of cancer on the planet (algebra alert!), why should I escape unscathed? Frankly, I'd rather take the hit than a little kid, or someone with kids. But after all I've been through -- the fracture, radiation, chemo, stem cell transplant -- yeah, I'm getting a little pissed. A LITTLE CRANKY.
Two guys walk into a bar. You'd think the second guy would have ducked.


John said...

That's good news on the khyphoplasty. Some pain relief might ease that crankiness. Though, I think you were cranky to begin with. :)

Seriously, I hope next week's surgery works well for you. Afterwards, your decision about additional chemo may be easier.

Michelle said...

Oh my oh my...I'm glad you are on to a solution for your pain, and I'm sorry hear that the lab results are not moving in the right direction. Hugs to you my friend!

Kathy from NJ said...

I am so very sorry to hear that the your cancer is the rotten aggressive kind. And am happy for you that you are considered a good candidate for surgery. I can't imagine have difficult it is to living with constant pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Kathy from NJ said...

I meant "to live," not "to living."

Anonymous said...

Your attitude rocks, LaCoot! Even with the crankiness. I'll pray for surgery success and less need for narcotics.

Have you been reading Nick's MM blog? I saw a response he left for you at one point and have been follwing his story since. Although he's in a much different boat than most people I have come in contact with, I walk away with a lot of great information to use while my husband and I navigate the Big C waters.

tim's wife said...

It looks like Tim may be going for
kyphoplasty also. My crankiness meter is reading a little high over this cause it turns out he had 2 compression fractures when tested 2 years ago and nobody told us. Anyway you may already know from my blog but when Tim's transplant did aboslutely nothing and his numbers continued to rise, his doc had all sorts of dire news for us. He's high risk now, it's aggressive disease, YADDA YADDA YADDA. Well Tim's in CR with no meds since May after just 4 cycles of Vel/Dex. His doc has been doing this 20 years and was wrong about a lot. I've met many who got no help from transplant and are still going strong years later and I'm betting you'll be one of them.

La Cootina said...

Everyone -- thanks for your sympathy and good wishes. I need lots of both!

Holly - I think I've lost the link to Nick's blog. Can you send it to me?

TW - That is good news! I hope that I am as successful, and I will continue to keep Tim in my thoughts and prayers.