Friday, November 13, 2009

Too Much Information?

A few days ago I finally sat down and read the written reports summarizing all the scans I had back in July. I had a feeling that there were some things on there that my doctor may have skimmed over; but figured all of the other metastases were superfluous once the liver diagnosis was given. In actuality she told me everything in a very soft way. Reading about it is terribly frightening. I don’t know if it makes it all more real, or because you don’t really understand all of the lingo it seem much more threatening.

I did know that I had a spot on my hip, but I had the wrong hip – it was, after all, the left hip which in fact has been bothering me off and on for a very long time – I’d say at least three or four years. I also knew there was something in the lymph nodes near the breast and that the 4th rib was also involved. It appears there was a very, very small dot on my kidney which I did not know, but they don’t consider that something to worry about (hmph).

We picked up the new reports yesterday after my treatment and read them through. There is a marked improvement in the liver. That came through loud and clear. All other sites appear unchanged. I now have a list of questions that I will email the doctor to get a better understanding of what this all means.

Again, I realize I should breathe a sigh of relief that the drugs are working. It’s just that knowing these other things are hovering – maybe not changing – maybe they won’t ever change, they’ll just be there – makes me very uneasy. I guess this is what they mean by learning to live with cancer. You have to get used to the idea that these nasty little cells live inside you waiting to explode or send tentacles out to other parts of your body.

I have to admit that I have been feeling pretty good through all of this. Notwithstanding some of what I consider to be minor side affects of the chemo, I have been living a pretty normal life with minimal disruption to activities. I haven’t talked about the side affects yet, so I’ll share now. I’ll start from the top and work my way down.

Outside of the obvious – loss of hair – there is occasional nausea, which really has been minor. I have a great drug that cures it, but haven’t had to resort to it very often. For several days after treatment my head aches. My sinuses run constantly and red. Constipation occurs the day of and a few days after treatment. Along with that comes the hemorrhoids – I can now do a Preparation H commercial – it really works! Over the last few weeks the neuropathy has become noticeable in both of my feet, more so on the left. This manifests itself in the form of numbness in the ball of the foot which spreads to the toes. Fortunately, at this time there is no pain and it hasn’t hindered my ability to walk through town. I have started to use shoe inserts and have ordered others that are made for neuromas (a similar foot ailment) which I am hoping will be of even more help. Some days I am more tired than others, and I’ve noticed that it is harder to walk up stairs and hills – I get out of breath very quickly. Today I meet with a trainer at the gym so I can get some pointers about adjusting my workouts to help build my energy and strength.

I have my down days, but they truly are minimal. Many days go by when I don’t even think about the cancer and all associated with it, feeling almost normal. We are trying our best to enjoy those days and still have a long list of things to do waiting for us to make the time and venture out. Each day is a joy, and I look forward to many more good days!

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