Monday, 23 February 2009

Not Hospital Bound

I'm back!

Wouldn't you just know it? Perfectly packed, didn't forget anything, and all for naught. Dr. Latil has given me a date for the hospital of March 16. He says I have to regain my strength first.

Upon being questioned, he says he can't really know from the scan if he'll be able to operate successfully this time, but the results look good enough to unzip me, again. Smaller tumours, no ganglions. ??? After examining me, he said my stomach is supple, too. I have no idea what that means, but it seemed to please him.

As we were out by 9:30, we drove down to Marseilles and Ikea. The furniture all looked kind of tacky, so I guess we won't get our kitchen there. I got some sheets, a couple of mirrors and a new meat tenderiser thingy in metal. Much heavier than the wooden one I have.

Time to hit the dog food.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Hospital Bound

I'm not sure when I'm going in, but in case it's tomorrow, talk to you next week. If it's not tomorrow, talk to you sooner.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

CAT Scan

"Now is the moment!" says Dr. Litor, my oncologist.

It would appear that the big tumours have not reduced since the last scan, but the little ones are gone.

No this, no that, no the other, not much change. A tiny bit of fluid ("Nothing compared to what you started with. . .").

I feel a bit of pressure in my belly as I did in the beginning, but Nick reminds me it's probably the fluid.

I also feel better this week. My platelets are moving up towards normal and I have the energy to walk the dogs.

So. . . I have an appointment with the surgeon on Monday morning. He will make the decision whether now is really the moment. I'm taking my packed bag with me this time, so I don't have to come fetch it in case he does, indeed, say, "Now!"

Saturday, 14 February 2009

What I Am Doing -- Or Not

Nick has reminded me that, no matter how the scan goes on the 18th, I won't be going into the hospital until early March. Thirty days are required between chemo and surgery.

O.K., I am forced to accept the fact that with each chemo treatment, I get knocked back further, take longer to recover, and don't achieve the previous level of energy. Sigh.

I was going to try skiing with Polo and Nadine and family yesterday at a little, local ski station until our friend Patrick reminded me that I'd just be tired and hurt myself. Duh! (Ski injuries are rampant when people are tired at the end of the day and insist on just one more run.) Next year.

However, the Chows and I are still helping with Polo's and Nadine's house.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Symptoms & Syndromes

I got "tagged" for 25 Things About Myself. The first item that came to mind was, "I have cancer."

Rats! The first thing? That certainly isn't singing the same tune as my Role Model post. So, for the moment, I'm not doing the list. I need to get my head to talk to my psyche. Or maybe I'll do the list and drop, "I've got cancer" to No. 25. Is that cheating?

You may have been wondering what happened to my colour coded Daily Journal. (Or, more likely, you may not.) My symptoms became so regular and predictable, I gave it up. Now, suddenly, I have a whole new set of symptoms, irregular and random.

There's the 8-hour fever and chills syndrome (twice). There is the 1-3-day insomnia syndrome (I get a lot of reading done, but it's annoying). There are leg pains that come outside of the 5-day period to which they are allotted (days 2 through 6 after chemo). The "blockage" pain (at least I didn't rush off to emergency this time). The not-eating syndrome. That's my favourite.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

House and Home News

Bad News: Home, first. Chemo is very wearing. It annoys me to be getting more tired all the time. Weakling! So, I haven't been posting much. Yesterday, I had a little upchuck episode, so now, in addition to not being able to look at ham because they always serve it at the The ham they serve at the hospital is excellent and it's not like I'm sick when I go. Must be something deep, deep down that makes a bad association.

Good News: If no one objects within 10 days, we have a house! I can't imagine who would object. We're going to sign the compromis on Thursday -- that's the down payment document -- and it will take about 6 weeks for the acte -- the sale -- to be signed. Homeless, no more!

Middling News: In dog news, we have had Nala x-rayed (again, the first ones got lost in the move) and sent them to an orthopetdic (I was going to correct this, but I like it) surgeon who has a friend who invented replacement elbows for dogs. I'd have called the friend, but he's in the States at Michigan State U.

Bad News: Nala is beyond medicine helping the pain of her arthritis, so it's either replacement time or wheels time and we're told that front wheels don't work too well.

Very Good News: Other than that (and her eyes), she's healthy, so I expect to have her for a long time.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Platelets, again

Had a little bleeding episode yesterday. Don't worry; "little" is the operative word. Emergency blood tests ordered by the oncologist (that means they have to get the results out fast) and a talk with my GP.

Platelets are low, but not low enough for a transfusion. Today the word is "rest."

Back to my book.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Role Model

When I first announced being sick, someone on my Yahoo dog list posted this as part of her signature:
  • I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Gilda Radner said that. And I found it very supportive of the way I felt. I would have gone on to read her book, except I'm still into happy endings.

But I read snippets about her here and there and came across this, from her husband, Gene Wilder. Wilder said that, toward the end, when Radner was confined to the hospital, she'd walk around and introduce herself to the other patients. "Hi," she'd say, holding out her hand, "I used to be Gilda Radner."

I thought that was so her and so funny and it stuck in my head for a long time. Then one day, it came to me that it wasn't funny at all; it was devastating. Her identity had been subsumed into her cancer. She was no longer a person; she was a disease.

Now, I don't know how I'll feel if the worst comes to worst. (Remember, we're still on happy endings here, but we must keep these things in mind). Maybe I'll be in the hospital and introduce myself to my fellow patients as "the former Ms. Milner" or even "the former Mme. Bentley.

But so far I don't feel like that. So far, I feel like me, who's got this condition, and am being treated for it. (And the treatment is much better than it was 10 years ago.) And I am neither brave nor strong or anything else I wasn't Before.

Paddington in Provence

Number 6

Finally got there! I wouldn't call platelets of 120 normal, but I wasn't going to argue about it.

Next stop, MRI and consultation, both February 18. (Here, you walk out of the scanner unit with your scan and report in hand.)

If the results look good, I'll have surgery and 3 more chemo sessions. If they don't look good enough, I'll have 3 more chemo sessions and then we'll try, again. I think that's what she said.

CA-125 is down to 47.90. Getting on for normal (< 24.80)!

Nick is recovering from the flu and the gastro. Good thing, too, because I've been a nauseous person all weekend. However, on Friday he wasn't in any shape to drive me to the hospital, so I took the ambulance. Taxi type.

I should do this more often. Very educational. Alain, the owner, drove me. He explained to me that, besides reducing the size of the tumour(s), there is another reason they frequently do chemo before surgery. If the tumour(s) have metastasised and they cut out the "mother" (that's what he called it), the smaller tumours will grow faster. By doing chemo before surgery, they kill off the "babies" and there is a better prognosis after surgery. This new technique has arrived from the United States.

I told him I was glad I live some place where it's available to me.

I also learned about a house for sale (too small) and some land (not currently for sale). Can't win 'em all.