Just when we thought we had the flight plan filed correctly (Wonder Doc and I, that is), that dang Alien* sprang up again and is wreaking havoc. We’d thought that we’d fly non-stop on this new flight, but that somehow doesn’t figure into the Alien’s plans. Well! we have news for it!
Those who followed Air Cancer Flight 101 and who are now following Flight 102 may remember that Wonder Doc began me on a new course of chemo-therapy during January using a drug called Gemzar (a.k.a. gemcitabine for you scientific types) and that we had some difficulty establishing how many weeks in a row I can tolerate said drug.
Gemzar, unlike my prior chemo regimen that had some nasty, external side effects, doesn’t create too much trouble for me, aside from destroying my platelets and my white blood cells. We finally established a 1 week chemo/1 week no-chemo schedule that was working fine … until Wonder Doc decided I should have another CT scan. It was all my fault. I’d been complaining a bit about continuing ouchies from the Alien and from its partner, the lymph node in my groin, both of which were evidencing signs of growth.
So, it was off to my favorite out-patient radiology department that I reported a few weeks ago at <yawn!> 7:45 AM, having ingested their boatload of a lovely concoction called, this time, “Raspberry Smoothie.” Since my exam was due to begin at 8 AM, I had to drink the first of three bottles of the stuff “before bedtime.” I pretended to have a normal bedtime and downed the
crap stuff at 10 PM. The next bottle was to be taken at 5 AM — I have no clue who makes these rules, but I hope they look for me when they enter dark alleyways! I was due to drink 2/3 of the remaining bottle at 7:30 AM and to take the rest of the bottle with me. Since I had to leave the house at 7:30 AM, I took that last bottle with me, pretended it was coffee, and drank it in the car. Have you ever gagged when you were driving? The only good thing about the morning is that I was the first patient seen — and was outta there by, no lie!, 8:20 AM. If hospital administration takes notice of their efficiency from that morning, I’m sure that heads will roll, so keep it to yourself, Dear Reader!
At my follow-up visit with Wonder Doc the next week, I watched him enter the exam room with his “I don’t really wanna tell her this” face and knew that my complaints of ouchies hadn’t been for naught. Sure enough, the results of the CT scan showed that there has, indeed, been more growth in both my Alien and its partner in crime. The Gemzar (at several thousand dollars a pop) doesn’t appear to be doing its thing. At least not on our new flight plan. So, Wonder Doc was proposing a switch to a new drug called Doxil (doxorubicin lipid compound) that’s administered only once a month. Now, I don’t know about y’all, but … chemo that’s administered only once a month sounds mighty damned strong to me. So, with my usual mental and verbal dexterity, I proposed an alternative — “um, Doc … we never tried 2 weeks on/1 week off with the Gemzar. Wanna give that a try first?” And, lo and behold, he agreed to try it.
Since I’d had chemo exactly one week prior, he called the Infusion Suite to see if they could take me that afternoon. No go. Too crowded:( So, this week is to be week one and next week will be week two with the Gemzar — if the results of next Tuesday’s bloodwork show that my platelets and neutrophils and white blood cells and other important stuff haven’t been 100% eradicated by then.
I have my fingers crossed, as well as my pedal phalanges, my eyes, and everything else that it’s possible to cross. The main reason is, of course, to piss off that Alien and send it away to an alternate universe. I’m tired. And I’m tired of being tired! It’s tiring being tired. But enough of that. I’m tired. Good night all! (It is still night somewhere….)
*Alien: a euphemism for the lovely tumor that is excavating its way out of my abdominal cavity through my umbilicus. (Look that up in your Funk’n’Wagnall’s. As mentioned previously, I’m tired.)