Thursday, January 21, 2010

Xeloda helping? And diversions....

Well, the Xeloda seems to be helping. I've noticed improvement in my left hand as far as having sensation and less of the waking in the middle of the night with shooting pains. So, I'm optimistic that it's helping. The back pain has not improved much at all but I'm just starting round two of this chemo so it's early yet.

I lost my mind and got a puppy. His name is Opus. Yes, largely named after the wonderful and expensive wine Opus One. He's Opus Two;) He's lovely and follows me around EVERYWHERE. It's fairly insane to have adopted him only 4 days after putting our old dog, Daphne, to sleep. My friends generally think I'm crazy but a few understand. I just needed to think about something other than cancer, feeling sick, and (gasp) death. Not that I'm anywhere near that but stage IV cancer brings the grim reaper to your mind more than most would like. Opus is a wonderful diversion from all of that horrible mess and is absolutely adorable. Opus Two looks like the puppy in the Cottonelle commercials. Love him! So, I'm now exhausted, sleep deprived and busier than ever. But I'm also loved unconditionally by this fairly portable and super cuddly walking companion. Heaven!

The urgency to adopting him was that the Robeson County Animal Shelter is a high-kill shelter. They have TONS of puppies needing to be adopted and apparently they euthanize them shortly after receipt. VERY sad place, even for the desensitized. So, if anyone needs a new pet, check it out but bring your tissues. It's in St. Pauls about 80 miles from Wilmington.

Blessings and love and puppy kisses to all!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Latest developments

I just realized today how long it's been since I've posted. Sorry!

Yesterday, Geoff and I met with my new oncologist at UNC Chapel Hill -- Dr. Muss. He was highly recommended by Dr. Winer and they are friends as well. So they can and will consult on my treatment. Which is good because my health situation is declining.

Despite all of my fun travels in December, my cancer has progressed. It's now in almost every vertebrae in my back including a a new spot -- all over the cervical spine. This explains the stiffness in my neck and may explain my increasingly numb left hand. In the middle of the night, I wake up with shooting pains in that hand. Last night, I was almost in tears it hurt so bad. I could not get the pain under control unless I slept with my hand hanging off the side of the bed! Weird. Doc does not know if that's caused by a cyst they found near my spine or if it's another central nervous system issue. In any event, it's scary. Getting tough to use my left hand sometimes and I DON'T like that.

Probably even more troubling, my back pain has gone through the roof lately. That's in the lower back where I received radiation a few short months ago. So glad I did that treatment for nothing. Based on my pain level, Dr. Muss believes that the cancer is progressing in my body (which is confirmed by the scans). I just feel poisoned inside. Yuck!

So, I'll be starting chemo in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I'll be doing Xeloda which is a pill chemo. Although I won't lose my hair, it has some nasty GI side effects and would be on a long term basis, or at least one year. As Dr. Muss said a few times yesterday, they can't cure me now. (tough to hear). And it's not just about giving me the longest life possible, they also want to consider quality of life. Of course, we were reminded that it's not a good sign that there was such a short time between my original diagnosis and my mets diagnosis (less than 2 years). Again, hard to hear.

Well, we're trying to stay positive. None of this news was surprising or anything. Sometimes, though, it's still a surprise. Sorry I don't have any great positive spin to put on all of this. Just maybe that we all need to count our blessings, appreciate our loved ones, and not stress about how much silly money we all just spent on the holidays. God bless.