Archive | February, 2011

No Mo’ Chemo (the TMI edition)

23 Feb

So.  It’s over.  My chemo.  It’s over.  I no longer have access to carboplatin, taxol, or massive amounts of IV benadryl, zofran, zantac and dexamethasone.  I continue to get the much less toxic Avastin, but only every 3 weeks, until December.

In the past 7 days I’ve had my last dose of chemo, chatted with my reproductive endocrinologist (I might start taking testosterone??), had a CT scan, met with the genetics counselor and seen both my hematologist/oncologist and my gynecological oncologist.  It’s been a big week and overall, the news is good.  My CA-125 is down to a lovely 8 and my CT scan shows no cancer.  I do have a benign cyst on my liver (which I’ve had for as long as I’ve been having CT scans).  I’m told 5% of the general population has this and it means nothing — Chris is convinced it’s actually just a little pouch full of red wine.  This is the good news.  In less good news…I may have…wait for it…it’s potentially gross…a vaginal fistula.  Specifically a vesicovaginal fistula.  Yeah.  That’s TMI.  Sorry.  But it helps me to honest on this blog.

I’m currently, with the help of my good friend Pinot Grigio, choosing not to dwell on the potential negatives here.  My CT scan shows no cancer!  I’m done with some dreadful chemotherapy!  I’m still waiting for my genetics results, but it’s considered highly unlikely that I have a genetic mutation (like a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation) that caused my cancer!  We moved into a new house with a wood stove!  We bought an EPICALLY comfortable red sofa!  My mom is a badass and Chris and I just went to go see her badass-ness on the big screen in the badass movie Mothers of Bedford.  Before the movie I ate delicious tilapia!  Plus, yesterday while getting my Avastin at the doctor’s office I got to sit next to the inspiring Midge.  Homegirl is 85 (looks maybe 55) and has been on chemo for 2 years…and will be for the rest of her life.  Homegirl also has a 90 year old lover who lives in Nashville, dresses better than I ever have or probably will and has more stories she can tell with a smile than Mr. Rogers.  I’m a big fan.

These are the positives.  I’m striving to be positive.

But WAAAAAAAAAH!!!  A fistula??? I mostly just want to lie on the ground and wail and kick and cry until I’m red in the face.  You have got to be kidding me.

Now, before I flip my shit totally.  My heme/onc tells me that we often see things on CT scans that turn out to, well, not really be there.  Also, I have no symptoms…at least I think I don’t.  I’d like to think I’d notice if I was leaking urine out of my vagina.  I hope.  You’d think, right?  A fistula is, compared to cancer, a nuisance…a fixable nuisance. It’d be especially tricky to fix while I’m taking Avastin — they don’t even let you get a tattoo because your healing process is so messed up by it — but we’ll see what happens.  There’s more testing to be done.  I may not even have one.  My doctor in fact told me not to worry about it…but come on.  You know me.

Despite this bump in the road, I’m feeling overall, pretty good.  It’s been a week since my last dose of chemo, so starting tomorrow, when I’m not hit with another dose, I will feel better than I have in months and months.  Each day I’ll feel better and better. They tell me it’s going to take as long as 6 months for me to feel “back to normal”, which is a long time, but I’m trying to be patient.  My hair will be back in 4 – 6 weeks.  I don’t have to take anti-nausea medication anymore.  My energy level will just slowly and continuously rise.  Here comes the sun, right?  Don’t let the fistula get you down!

“images of charlie brown getting a blood tranfusion”

11 Feb

Happy Friday!

So, I’ve discovered one of the great pleasures of having a blog is looking at what people search the interwebs for to get to your blog.  WordPress generates a lovely list of all the terms people have used to land in your little corner of the internet.  Lots of these terms make sense; like “zebra chronicles” or “ovarian cancer” or “chemotherapy”.  Lots of the terms though, make limited to no sense.  Yes, this blogpost title is one of those terms.  In fact they range from the strange to the puzzling to the alarming and are all, in my opinion, hilarious.  So, while I’m getting yet ANOTHER blood transfusion (2 units this time, baby), I thought I’d let you all peruse a sampling of these terms with me, and hopefully have a laugh.  Enjoy.  And forgive my running commentary, I can’t help myself, please add your own!!

The Question Query
“do breasts show up on xrays?”
– Actually a pretty good question…

“do moleskine journals cause cancer?”
– Clearly how I got cancer

“what does it mean when a zebra smiles?”

“i am a homeless person in the third world what are my options”

“why is it important to the zebras survival that it runs/walks fast”

“is barium sulfate going to mske me poo”

“i had a nosebleed this morning can i have wine tonight”
– A question after my own heart

“what is this huge bloody thing coming out of my nose”

The Celebs
“cliff lee wife”

“lance armstrong scars”

“hugh laurie biceps”

“julia stiles chemo”

“did john lennon receive any blood transfusions?”

“ozzy osbourne my belly gettin big”

“stacy schiff bloody”

Clearly Not Looking For A Cancer Blog
“dump on chest”

“softball mom gatorade getting tee pickure taking”

“i would leave you panting dripping with sweat”

“emly 19 hot puke”

Totally Random to Slightly Alarming
“a bloody apron”

“fuck my medschool life”

“drug inside body bug”

“well this day wasn’t complete shit, i rode a zebra”

“vagina scar”

“i got a ct scan and green stuff came out of my vagina”
– Bummer, dude

“blood was dripping down my body from the shower head while my girlfriend watched”
– Again, bummer, dude

“my worst suspicions are true, they are bugging me, i found a warm today.  i am paranoid man, i just stripped down…”
– This one actually goes on and on for a full tortured paragraph, but WordPress seems to have eaten the rest

There are more…these are just some of the gems.  The internet is an amazing place.  I wonder what these folks thought of my blog…

And now, for something completely different

Homestretch

8 Feb

First of all, so wonderful to read what everyone has been doing to keep them powering through these cold, snowy, ice ridden months!  Your happy things made me happy.

So, I’m officially in my last round of chemo.  Last Thursday, after some delays dues to another (!!) blood transfusion and some negotiating with my platelets, I got my last dose of carboplatin.  Hopefully the last I will have in my entire life.  My CA-125 is down to 7 and I’m starting to really look ahead at what the next few months hold for me.  I’m excited to say I’ll be picking up some work at my old Planned Parenthood stomping grounds.  Chris and I will be moving to a new place.  We’re in line to get a puppy delivered to us from Arkansas in a few weeks.  I can’t wait to get back on the treadmill and when the snow and ice melt away, get back on my bike and climb up some of these lovely East Haddam hills.  I’ll be keeping myself pretty busy until I head back up to medical school.

For now?  I’m playing my shiny new accordion…I’ll put up a video when I can actually play something other than Jingle Bells, which let’s be real, no one wants to hear.

Penny, my lovely accordion model

I’ve also started this 2,000 piece puzzle that was gifted to me, but I think I’m losing some steam on it.  2,000 pieces is like, a lot of pieces it turns out and I don’t really have room for it – it’s behind our sofa and I sit sort of scrunched up in the corner.

a lot of pieces...not so many assembled

Here’s a photo of the desperate measures we had to take against a major leak the other night.  Just for fun.

it's fixed now...

I wish I had more exciting news.  I will soon I hope.  I’ll soon be posting all about clear CT scans and the hair I have growing out.  I’ve got a slew of doctor’s appointments in the coming weeks, including genetic testing (!) so that’ll provide some blog fodder.  For now, I’m dormant.  Struggling to get my car re-registered in the state of CT (back taxes, insurance compliance, temp plates, emissions test…) and packing books in boxes doesn’t make for excellent blogging.

Hang in there readers, there’ll be more blog action soon!

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