Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

2009 wins for Suckiest Year Ever and there are no close contenders. I began the year still recovering from the Stem Cell Transplant, but back pain from a severe compression fracture and other deterioration issues led me to seek relief through surgery. In the weeks after the surgery, I was elated at my pain relief... and then learned that it was mostly due to the anesthesia still wearing off. When it was all over, there was still significant improvement, but nothing near what I'd hoped for. A month or so later, I received the news that I did not achieve remission; more chemo would be needed. After five or six months of Velcade, plus steroids (plus diabetes/insulin/insanity), Doc A awarded me a "treatment holiday" that turned out to be all too brief. Less than two months later, I was told the cancer has not slowed much and yet more chemo was needed.

Doc A put me on a Clinical Trial for a relatively new drug. At the time, I was eager to comply because this drug did not require steroids to be taken with it. However, I was handed off to Nurse R and it's a gross understatement to say we had no rapport. The clinical trial involved two grueling 12-hour days in the hospital as well as weekly labs and lengthy, tedious, idiotic questionnaires. After two months of this, plus feeling nauseous pretty much every single minute of every single day, my lab results were mixed, at best. The opportunity was presented to quit the clinical trial and I gleefully accepted.

If I'd known what was next, I wouldn't have been quite so gleeful. Cytoxan, so far, is worse than all the others rolled together and then some. Thus far, I've needed four transfusions of blood and platelets, plus uber-ouchy shots, just to keep me alive for more torture. Each transfusion is a marathon: When results from weekly labs are returned, I am sentenced to 4-6 hours in a barcalounger designed for someone twice my size.

My family and a few friends are still on the front lines with me, but this sure has been a tedious, atypical experience. Initially, I think we all expected that I'd get my chemo, grow my hair out and ride the remissionmobile for a decade or more, like all those breast cancer superstars. So the pals who are still in touch are just that much more dear to me. And I hate to second-guess my medical team by I wonder why we've been jacking around with slingshots for 2+ years if I needed the cannon all along. What if we'd started with this Cytoxan monster? You can "what if?" yourself right into a straightjacket in no time, so I try to stay away from that little detour.

Speaking of detours, my train of thought jumped the track there. My point was that I know without any doubt at all that 2010 cannot possibly be the Suckiest Year Ever, and that is cause for celebration. I hope we all have lots and lots of other reasons to celebrate, too.
P.S. Just for giggles, here's Dave Barry's 2009 Year in Review.


Unknown said...

I like your reasoning! I hope your TwentyTen Rocks!

Bob OC said...


I'm not sure I've ever posted on your blog, but I wanted to tell you that I think you're GREAT and I hope and pray that 2010 will be nicer to you than 2009 was.

My older sister (she's 53) was diagnosed on November 17th...we'll be following your blog this year, and we'll be thinking of you and praying for you daily.

Warmest regards...Bob (from snowy Connecticut!)

tim's wife said...

Hey LaCoot,
I felt similarly last year after
a sucky 2008 and the next year
was much better for us. Hope the same for
you. As far as the chemo goes, it's
pretty much the way it works to start "small" and build if necessary.
There's no way to know ahead of time what will or won't work and as you can
see, the "cannon" is not easily tolerated. Sending peace to you and hopes for a better 2010.

John said...

Hey Cranky;

Here's hoping 2010 is the year of remission and recovery.

La Cootina said...

Holly, John, Denise -- I've been so fortunate to have you on my support team. I hope 2010 is a standout year for you all, too.

Bob, I'm sorry to hear about your sister. I'll keep her in my thoughts and prayers, too. Please send her or print out my "Joys of Cancer." I hope there are some helpful insights.

Dawn said...

Here's to HOPE!