Been a while, got a lot to share. But first, I have to correct myself on something I wrote back in April.
In Chemotherapy is Not as Bad as I Expected I posited that modern medicine has improved to point of making chemotherapy more tolerable and the side effects more minimal, that chemotherapy might become me. If this blog was printed on paper I would literally eat my words. Cuz now, I am so roiled with peripheral neuropathy, my feet feel like I’m walking barefoot on ice and my fingers feel close to paralyzed. Meanwhile, electricity courses through my veins like hot sauce, surging and vibrating at random moments. It was explained to me that this is because my body is working so hard to preserve my organs that it hasn’t got time to help my extremities. I hate neuropathy and, pleasant as the nurses are at BCCA, I hate chemotherapy. It sucks. And I want to get as far from it as possible.
Another startling side effect was the build up of fluid in my left lung that left me breathless for much of July and unable to breathe deep without clenching my chest. I should gone in sooner, but eventually I went to the ER at St. Paul’s for a CT scan and they told me about the fluid and set me up with the Radiology Dept to have it drained. I’d forgotten that in June my oncologist said that I had some fluid in my lung, but when she put the images side by side it was clear the small amount had become a large amount. So when I went for the drainage last Thursday, I was shocked to learn I was carrying around 900 millilitres of fluid in the organ I’m trying to breathe through. No wonder I couldn’t catch a breathe! My lung was flooded.
Ok, so that happened.
Way back in May my doctor proposed some surgery to scrape the tiny tumors off of my peritoneum once and for all, to release me from the grip of chemo. First though, they would perform a laporascopy to see the stomach wall from the inside. Apparently CT scans don’t pickup objects tinier than 3 mm and these puppies might only be 1 mm. The peritoneum surgeon (one of two in BC) told me I have many, many of these 1 mm tumors, which came as a shock. All this time I thought there were just a handful. Now, I’m hearing of a crowd scene. So that is what they will look at to determine my suitability for the big surgery to remove them all.
The upside of the laparoscopy was taking a break from chemo. They wanted to clear the drugs out of my system before going in. So, I got to enjoy a month without chemo drugs. But still, the neuropathy remained unabated, dammit.
The date for the laparoscopy was set – for my birthday, July 24. Actually, I had to check into VGH on my birthday to get prepped for the procedure the next day. Only one nurse wished me happy birthday so I had to contend myself with all the lovely best wishes I got on FaceBook.
Next day, the surgery went well. The diagnosis did not. Turns out, my surgeon (#2 of the two in BC) said it was not just a crowd of tiny tumors on my belly, but a vast field of tumors broadcast across the expanse of my peritoneum. Like a field of dandelions, she said. So many that the surgery would not work for me. Sorry.
If my tumors were dandelions they would look like this
But at least I got a free hospital stay for my birthday!
So, that shoe has dropped. Now, I’m re-thinking all my curative angles, coming up with more ways of keeping those tumors at bay. Re-examining my diet, various supplements, my cannabis program, and exercise to help me fight the buggers. I’m open to anything at this point.
The other shoe to drop, probably next week, is the results of tests from the lung fluid. My oncologist warned that it could contain cancer cells that traveled up from my gut. If that happens then I will have not one, but two cancers. Lucky me, I could start a collection!
So that’s it for me. Still here. Still fighting. Just trying to give myself a little more time on this earth.
I hope you are all well and happy.
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