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Mini health update

Because not everybody reads Facebook or sees all the posts there. By the way, today is the anniversary of my brain surgery. That means I've survived a year already -- longer if you consider the fact that I clearly already had the tumor when I had my first seizure in early August 2015.

My last MRI, which was on November 30th, once again showed that the tumor has not returned, huzzah! I started my ninth round of chemo that night, and finished it the next Sunday. Three more rounds to go.

This has been my worst round of chemo of the nine. Two days after my last dose, I started struggling with nausea, but after getting a break from it on Thursday, it came back with a vengeance yesterday. Usually by this point in the cycle I'd be getting my appetite back and starting to take long walks again. It could be that the chemo in my body has built up to a saturation point. I'll talk to my new oncologist about that when I meet her later this month. The last three rounds have actually been increasingly difficult, nausea-wise, but the first time I thought it was because I didn't take an anti-nausea pill before the first dose and woke up in the middle of the night feeling horribly sick. I thought maybe that primed my body to react to the chemo with nausea. That continued to be my theory when last time the nausea hit me the day after my last dose. Now I'm beginning to think there's something else going on.

We'll see what the oncologist has to say. Friends are pointing out that I can quit the chemo if it's making me miserable. It's a good reminder, but I'd rather gut it out if I can. I got there with radiation too, but I stuck it out to the end.

Anyway, that's about it for now.

ETA: I've been reminded that today is the anniversary of surgery to remove my tumor. Not one I'm going to be celebrating, as much as I'm glad that the tumor was removed.

A friend also posted a pointer toward this article about cancer, fragility, and racism, which I have mixed feelings about, but it includes some great bits of quoted poetry.

From Whitman's "Song of Myself":

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe, and am not contain’d between my hat and boots,
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.

And this from Tracy K. Smith's "Duende":

If I call it pain, and try to touch it
With my hands, my own life,
It lies still and the music thins,
A pulse felt for through garments.
If I lean into the desire it starts from—
If I lean unbuttoned into the blow
Of loss after loss, love tossed
Into the ecstatic void—
It carries me with it farther,
To chords that stretch and bend
Like light through colored glass.
But it races on, toward shadows
Where the world I know
And the world I fear
Threaten to meet.

"Love tossed into the ecstatic void." Story of my life, and it hasn't been a bad one.



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2016 08:16 pm (UTC)
A message to that glioblastoma: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rEsVp5tiDQ
Dec. 10th, 2016 08:58 pm (UTC)
I like it!
Dec. 11th, 2016 04:10 am (UTC)
I am not contained between my hat and boots.
Dec. 11th, 2016 04:15 am (UTC)
Nor I!
Dec. 11th, 2016 04:29 am (UTC)
Which is a small part of why I like you.
Dec. 11th, 2016 03:04 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile I've been trying to decide whether I *am* contained between my transducer arrays and slippers.
Dec. 11th, 2016 07:09 am (UTC)
One copy-editing correction: your last MRI was likely November 30th. Unless you've been time-traveling, in which case I trust you'll write the most amazing things about it....

I'm glad you're going to talk with your new oncologist about the nausea. It could certainly be the chemo, as side effects do tend to build up over time. And while the other people I've known who took it had minimal problems with nausea, but the info pages list it one of the side effects and says it can be severe. If that's what's going on, gosh, lucky you. (Not.) But whether it's that or something else, your medical team needs to know just how severe it's getting. I hope they come up with a treatment approach that gets it back under control without difficult side effects from other medications.

I support your decisions, whatever they are, when it comes to gutting it out on the chemo front, declaring yourself done, or anything else.

Dec. 11th, 2016 03:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the copy-edit. Dates seems to be the thing I lose track of most easily these days.

Way back in the dawn of pre-history, when I took my first dose of chemo while simultaneously undergoing radiation treatment, they told me that if I didn't suffer nausea the first time I likely never would. They felt that the severe nausea I experienced later was from the radiation. That's one reason I wondered whether it was taking a dose of chemo without Ondansetron (the anti-nausea drug) that opened me up to nausea going forward.

Back then, when the nausea from the radiation got bad enough that I complained, they prescribed another anti-nausea drug to use along with the Ondansetron. I no longer remember the name, but when I looked it up online at the time it turned out to be a medication also used to treat psychosis. It made me feel so zoned out and weird that I swore I'd never take it again. I think that was the point at which I figured out that if I upped my dosage of CBD it helped with the nausea. So I did that instead.

I could natter on endlessly about all this, but I'll stop there. It's tricky to figure out what's going on and what the right thing to do is, but I'll stumble forward in some fashion, I'm sure.
Dec. 11th, 2016 11:49 am (UTC)
I kept meaning to check the anniversary of Syrgery Day. Glad it's gone, in all respects. Great news on the MRI, and good luck with chemo choices.

And thank you for prompting me to read the Whitman poem; I knew other quotes but had not seen that section or connected them as a whole.
Dec. 11th, 2016 03:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the reminder about the anniversary. I posted about it on Facebook when Denys reminded me yesterday, and I've added a note to the beginning of this post, because a year is meaningful in this context.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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