Hello, my friends. I'm sticking my head up out of the rabbit hole to give you the latest scoop on Patty in Cancerland. I'm on round-the-clock morphine, with dilaudid thrown in for break-thru pain. I don't know how coherent this post will be, but I can get out complete sentences without slurring now so I'll give it a try.
I have a question for you: How many of us outright refuse some sort of test or treatment or program due to hearing only negative things from people who have already tried it? Whether it's AA or trapeze lessons or cancer treatment, I think we all do it. Last week at my support group one of the members gave me this quote:
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance- that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
What a great quote. It basically means that we shouldn't dismiss things without thoroughly checking it ALL out for ourselves. This quote applied to him (my support group buddy) when it came to getting radiation as part of treatment for his rare liver cancer. All he'd heard about radiation was how awful it was, how it didn't work, etc., so he flat-out refused radiation from the get-go. Finally, after much argument and persuasion from his doctors he went ahead and had the radiation. And it saved his life.
I had a follow up with my oncologist after being discharged from the hospital last week. He is getting very antsy that I'm not doing anything as far as treatment for my growing tumor. He strongly encouraged me to reconsider the clinical trial for XL 184. He also hooked me up with the radiation oncologist to see what he thought.
The rad/onc spent a great deal of time with me and discussing my previous scans. I will need a new PET scan to determine if my tumor is treatable by radiation or not. We are awaiting authorization from the insurance company (state aid) if they will allow another PET so soon, since it has only been 2 months since the last one. The rad/onc did say that radiation would help with my pain, at any rate. I assume that tumor shrinkage = less pain.
The clinical trial oncologist spent a lot of time with me explaining the drug which I am to try. XL 184 is getting a lot of positive response in tumor shrinkage. Yes, it also has a lot of potential adverse side effects, "potential" being the operative word here. He urged me not to make my decisions out of fear. At any rate, I have decided to go with the clinical trial for XL 184. I have an appointment on Friday to sign all the paperwork. Hopefully, I am still eligible for the study. We have to coordinate with my cardiologist since I'm on Coumadin, and I will have to discontinue it during the study.We'll need to figure out some other blood thinner to use so I don't have another pulmonary embolism. That would just SUCK, ya know?
I'm on round-the-clock laxatives with my round-the-clock narcotics but my bowel issues are still vexing me. My tumor has increased in size to where it's causing blockage. Now I have to go see another GI doc to get a colonoscopy. That's one scope I haven't had yet and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm back to daily doctor visits, tests, follow ups, etc. I'm still not sleeping so my PCP has added Elavil to my Ambien. I am trying like hell to stay OUT of the hospital.
I guess I've been isolating myself while the world moves on around me. There aren't a whole lotta people I can talk to about all this, except those who have been through it. Each time I have to go back to the hospital, see yet another doctor, or get bad test results- it all takes more out of me. I feel so alone sometimes.