Friday, March 6, 2009

Big C Update

I've toyed with the idea of quitting the support group; although they are all good-hearted people, I just wasn't getting much out of it. And as the only unmarried MM patient, I sometimes left the meetings feeling worse - lonelier, more isolated. But I'd decided to give it one more shot before I gave up, and wow, what a good decision that turned out to be. Monday evening was an excellent meeting: a good speaker, a relevant topic -- understanding our monthly blood test results -- followed by some truly meaningful discussions. It was the first time people really opened up about personal issues; it was touching to hear their concerns, and even more moving to hear and see the group's response. I won't be any more specific, but I'm really hopeful that this meeting is the beginning of a new "tone," and not just an anomaly. (Also hopeful that it wasn't just because the guy who usually monopolizes every meeting happened to be absent.)

So I was in a better frame of mind on Wednesday to hear Dr. A's plan for more chemo. Mom and my true-blue pal Chris came with. (Dad was also here, but didn't feel well that day.)'s the plan. New drug, two IVs a week for two weeks (NO port, of course!), followed by 10 days off. That is considered one cycle (24 days), and I will have a minimum of 4 cycles. I'm steeling myself for the possibility of more, just in case. I will also be getting Dex again; it mitigates some of the side effects of the other drug, but comes with its own basket of crap. In my case, "'Roid Rage" and diabetes.

Oh, the other good news, not that it matters much to me, is that I probably won't lose my hair. Since it's taken 6+ months to grow 1/2 inch of hair, that's probably good. But I'm thinking about keeping it this short. It is really cool and comfortable. Costs no money, takes no time. And -- I'm just a little embarrassed to admit -- I like the shock factor of the microbuzz. And -- although there's a chance they're lying -- everyone keeps telling me it looks great.

It's very frustrating because my back feels better than it has in more than a year; I finally, finally have some relief. I still have some back issues, other damaged vertebrae, some tumors, etc., but...I can walk without blinding pain! I can sleep through the night! I can get in and out of the car without teeth-gnashing! And there's a chance that the new drug will make me feel sick and barfy. I just hate the thought of letting even this limited relief be snatched away from me. But my Doc feels very strongly that this will be the final push to get me to CR (Complete Response or Complete Remission), so I feel I have to give it a shot. It would be foolish to come this far and not take the last step.


Anonymous said...

I kind of liked being bald the couple of times I lost my hair. :) It was nice not to have to buy much shampoo or to have to walk around with wet hair.

I hope the chemo's not too bad. Load up on the anti-emetics and have plenty of ativan if you need it. I'm glad to hear that your doctor is talking CR.


La Cootina said...

Yes, after some reading I'm a lot less anxious. Once again, it will probably be the Dex that's more troublesome than the chemo!

Michelle said...

You are amazing and I am rooting for you!! I am glad that you have finally gotten some pain least you back won't hurt during your next 'roid rage?!?! Maybe? ((hugs))

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad to hear the pain is diminished. It's also evident in the surge of strong and often very funny writing. Humor is better than chemo!

I do chose to keep my hair buzz short. I'm more aerodynamic that way.

tim's wife said...

EXCELLENT news about your back! Glad to hear it! If you are going to be on the same chemo Tim had,
he did not get barfy at all. I know everyone is different but many tolerate that chemo pretty well. Tim had constipation and tummy cramps but nothing too bad.
I feel the same way about our support group. I only go when I hear there is gonna be a good speaker/topic discussed. It's nice to see everyone but I'm the only one who needs a babysitter(they're all grandparents) and it
bums me out. Our doctor came in and spoke one day and he was so blunt and pessimistic, we all needed a PROZAC infusion when he left. He's a lot more optimistic nowadays but we've never asked him
to speak again! ;o)