welcome back, gusto.

It’s about time to post again. The last stretch has been rough. I have had days filled with calls to different doctors. I have left work halfway through the day twice, once to get to an urgent care facility for treatment. I have felt downright miserable.

Interestingly, this misery; missing of work, lolly-gagging in bed, stacking of pharmaceuticals on the kitchen counter, getting familiar with the heating pad, etc. etc. was not due to the cancer that threatens my life or even directly to the treatment it demands. No, the misery came courtesy of…the common cold.

Said cold has worked it’s way around my head and neck for over four weeks. The sneaky virus started with the feeling of swallowing glass and then went into my head and gave me a sinus infection. Combined with the new treatment (and it’s presumable new side effects), I was left with a soup of maladies and not much clue as to what bit of trouble came from what source. Was the stabbing pain in my gut a side effect of chemo or simply the loud complaining of overused coughing muscles I didn’t even know I had?

Today, I finally feel a lovely break in the clouds. My coughs are the cough of a normal person, not the hacking up of a lung and the lovely sounds that accompany it. I blow my nose throughout the day and find I haven’t emptied a whole box of tissue. My back and stomach muscles, which had gotten terribly sore after all the lung activity, have begun to feel better. And, to top it off, I was not given chemotherapy this week because my white blood counts were iffy. Today, I feel almost normal–just in time for a wonderful Thanksgiving.

I’m not sure why the cold took such a toll on me, but it did. Somehow, to have such a stark change in my health really knocked the breath out of me. Perhaps if it hadn’t come just as treatment was changing I would have weathered it better and even recognized it as something that would pass, but instead I found it really disheartening. There is something about feeling rather healthy that allows me not to worry about cancer. For instance, I usually have this triumphant feeling when I do the laundry and find I’m washing a nice percentage of workout clothes. “Take that, cancer,” I think as I throw the sweaty socks into the washing machine, “Is this the laundry of a sick person? HA!” These past weeks, however, I noticed that the percentage of laundry usually taken up with workout clothes was slowly being overtaken by pajamas. Last week? Almost my whole laundry basket was pajamas. Now that felt like the laundry of a sick person. Yuck.

So I’m doubly glad to feel as though this cold is receding and I am coming back to myself. Ready to go on a long walk tomorrow. To fire up the treadmill. To pack away the heating pad. To clear the medicine off the kitchen counter. To pull my weight at work.

To live this lovely life I’ve been given with all the gusto I can muster.

Welcome back, gusto, you’ve been missed. Stick around, will you?

the return of the IV

Mark and I met with the doctor today. My heightened blood counts last week had warranted a CAT scan on Friday and meeting with him today. It was a long meeting after our usual long wait at the end of a long day, so please forgive the spare details.

In essence, the activity the blood counts had alerted us to was evident on the CAT scan. My liver looks stable. The growth is happening on the nodules in the lungs. Dr. Campbell has several ideas of what to do once we get the lungs back under control, but for now, the plan of action is this:

I will begin weekly IV chemo next week Tuesday. I haven’t had IV since July and it has been a welcome and wonderful break. This drug is called Navelbine and should be similar to my former chemo in terms of my ability to tolerate it (i.e. no nausea or hair loss).

We are also seeing if I might qualify for a study, the details of which I won’t go into here, but it is related to “personalized medicine” that you may have read about–gene mapping the tumor to see what it might best respond to. If I qualify for the study, I’ll get more detailed.

I’m hoping that my cold is gone before chemo starts next week. My throat is very painful and each cough puts Mark, understandably, on edge. It would be nice to start out feeling as good as I’ve been the last new months. We’ll keep you posted.