Monday, October 11, 2010

Cancer Vacation

Things are good! Chemo ended almost one month ago. I feel good. My hair is starting to grow back. And most importantly, last week, I got good news from my CT scan.

So I don't have to even think about cancer till my next scan, which will be on December 6, 2010.

Last week, when Dr R ran through all my options for the future, he said that my treatment will probably continue to follow this pattern:  the cancer will grow, we'll use chemo to beat it back, and then we'll take some time off... but eventually the cancer will grow again and the whole cycle will start over.  At least, that is the plan till someone comes up with a way to kill it forever.

So this weekend, I started thinking about how I could have years and years and years of chemo & cancer ahead of me. I guess till now I have mainly thought about TODAY and what's on the immediate horizon.

I realized that the idea of years and years and years of thinking about cancer every day sounds completely awful to me. I decided that I want a break from thinking about cancer.  I want to go on a Cancer Vacation.

I am not talking about another cruise.  I am talking about just living my regular life, without thinking about and talking about and blogging about cancer.

Yeah, I said no blogging about cancer.  You go on a cancer vacation, you do not bring your cancer blog with you. You leave the cancer blog at home.

I know there are some of you who check in every day to see how I am doing, and I love you for it. You have no idea how your support and friendship and love have made everything so much easier to handle.  I think this blog is one of the best things I have ever done. But I need a break.  Maybe you need a break, too.

So, this vacation starts right now. My bags are packed!  I am logging off, and I won't be back here till my vacation is over, which will probably be right before my next scan.

Let's meet back here on December 5, okay?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nothing Grew! Nothing New!

Excellent news! 

No new tumors appeared! 

None of the existing tumors grew! 

A few tumors shrank!

Here are some specifics.  The tumor in the pancreas shrank. The tumor in the psoas shrank.  One of the tumors in the left lung shrank. The amount of shrinkage was not huge, but any shrinkage is good shrinkage.

What a relief.  I was braced for bad news, and we got excellent news instead.  Thanks to everybody who kept reminding me that miracles happen.

Now I get two months off, and I expect to feel better every day.  I go back on December 6 for my next CT Scan.

My white blood cell count (neutrafils) is very low, so if you see me, do not sneeze on me. It will bounce back up pretty quickly now that chemo is over.

The other good thing that happened is that Dr R ran through some of my options for the future.  There are two more chemo drugs for sarcoma. More exciting is some chemo drug for sarcoma that is in wide use in Europe and Asia (did not catch the name) and that is now available in Charolotte, SC, as a clinical trial.  I would have to pay $250 per dose out of pocket. Plus I would have to travel to Charlotte every three weeks. (Not exactly a hardship because Charlotte is super nice.)  I could stay on that drug for as long as it works.  After that, there is at least one other chemo drug not specifically approved for sarcoma but currently being tried out on sarcoma.  And then finally there are some clinical trials. 

So, lots of options for the future, but nothing needs to be done today.

Nothing needs to be done today!  Yahoo!

Lou and I did the Happy Dance in the parking garage at Duke.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Discord in the Ross Household

Twice a year, there is discord in the Ross Household. Those are nights when the New England Patriots play the Miami Dolphins.

Childhood sports team affiliations cannot be denied.  I grew up in Massachusetts, and Lou grew up in Miami.  My high school band (I was a flag in the color guard) once performed at halftime in Foxboro for the Pats.

Last night, the Patriots were in Miami. Here is an excerpt from the report filed by Gus Morse online:

"What started out as a dominating first half from the Miami Dolphins’ defense against the New England Patriots crumbled into a 41-14 Monday Night Football loss, described as embarrassing by several Dolphins."


Arguing over the game has been a fun distraction from waiting for our appointment with Dr R tomorrow to get the results of yesterday's CT scan.  That scan was as pleasant as can be, I am happy to report.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Scan Day Today

Magical medical technology!  They can peer inside my body without surgery!  This afternoon I go to Duke for my scan, to see how the Doxorubicin worked.

I am reminded that not so long ago, doctors couldn't really tell what was happening inside you unless they did surgery and took a peek. That was the case in 1996 when Lou's Mom has cancer. They had no idea how bad it was till they did surgery.

So every time I get a scan, I am glad that they can scan me.  I am hoping for more Star Trek technology, like if they could just beam the tumors out of me.

Last night we watched the 60 Minutes story on Bill and Melinda Gates and their efforts to fight AIDs, malaria, and mother/baby deaths.  I got all choked up, and then I realized it wasn't about their philanthropy at all. It was that I was nervous about today.  It was good to get it out of my system, and I felt better afterward. 

I won't get the results till Wednesday morning.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lee Child Insomnia

Lee Child's books are so gripping, page turning, and compelling, I cannot put one down once I start reading!  Last night I finished Bad Luck and Trouble.  "You do not mess with the special investigators." Excellent.  Gosh, I am half hoping he writes something with Neagley as his main character. I am bummed that there are just two existing Jack Reacher novels to go.

Anyway, after I finished reading last night, I was all revved up and could not go to sleep.  I ended up logged on to work for two hours!  Cleaned up a pile of little issues that had been nagging at me.  Nothing like the wee hours to help you focus.

So this morning, I am sort of dragging.  Luckily, it is Friday... and tomorrow morning I get a massage.