Monday, December 9, 2013

CT Scan Today

Happy Monday, my peeps!  I'm sorry I didn't update you sooner, but I needed time to wrap my head around the appointment on Thursday with Dr. Kundranda.  And, if I'm being totally honest with you (and me), I wanted to ignore what was coming up.  Kind of like burying my head in the sand....if I didn't think about it, I didn't need to worry about it.

Well, no more of that.  Today and moving forward, I don't have a choice but to accept what's happening and move forward.  So, here it is.

During the meeting with Dr. K. last week, we found out that my blood levels are recovering.  My platelets are at 98, and my whites and reds are back to normal.  So, yeah!  Very exciting to hear that.  Everyone seemed pleased about that.

I did talk with him about the spot in my abdomen.  He examined it, and agreed that it's likely a tumor (I think he was hoping it was a hernia....).

So, to figure out what's going on, I am having a CT scan later today.  I scheduled it late, so that I wouldn't be tempted to look at the report and freak myself out.  I am going to ignore it (or try to) until tomorrow, when we meet with him again and get the results of the test.

I'll be honest....I have two different thoughts on this.

1 - I'm frightened.  Actually, I'm scared shitless.  I don't want to see what's happening.  It's been kind of nice not knowing - if I don't know, I don't have to worry about it.  I know that's cowardly and not at all like me, but living my life without worrying about my tumors, my CEA, and what chemo is next has been, quite frankly, really nice.  But, that's not going to last.

 2 - I know the cancer is growing.  I'd be lying to myself if I didn't acknowledge the fact that, without chemo (for almost 6 months now, with the exception of the one month of Temodar), my cancer is growing.  At what rate, we just don't know.  But, between the potential tumor in my belly and no chemo, I have to assume that everything has grown.  Again - it's terrifying, but saying it, talking about it, recognizing it.....I'm hoping that helps tomorrow when we are faced with the reality of what's actually happening.

The plan, as of last week, is that I'll start chemo tomorrow.  Unless something drastic happens and he makes a last-minute decision, Dr. K. wants me to start on Erbitux and Xeloda tomorrow.  I've been on both of these before, so I'm hopeful that I don't have yet another reaction.  The Xeloda is an oral chemo, taken twice a day.  I've been on that before, for quite a while, and didn't have many issues.  And, the Erbitux - that's the one that makes you break out in an acne-like rash.  Strictly from a vanity standpoint, I'm very much not looking forward to this.  The initial breakout hits pretty quickly, and hurts like a beast.  I'm hoping it's a bit easier this time, as we will be doing it weekly, instead of every other week.  The hope is that by giving a lower dose weekly, rather than the higher dose every two weeks, I'll have an easier time of it.  I hope they are right.  Last time, the pain and discomfort was so bad I ended up in the urgent care of CTCA, crying my eyes out because it hurts so bad.

Needless to say, the past few days have been filled with anxiety, worry, and fear.  I've tried to ignore the upcoming events, but my brain doesn't work that way.  My poor stomach has been nauseous all weekend, and I can only imagine it's because of the anxiety.

I'm trying to take everything one step at a time.  Deal with the CT today.  Tomorrow, deal with the results meeting.  Take time to cry and regroup.  Then, deal with the chemo.


I'm ready for a break.  I'm worried about having another reaction.  I'm worried about how I'm going to handle this new regiment, given that my body is so weak.  This pain I'm having isn't giving me much of a break, in spite of an increase in pain meds.  I think the next step with that is a complete re-do of my meds, meaning we stop all current meds and start new ones.  Maybe then I'll get some relief, and be able to sleep.

Gosh - I feel like I'm just rambling, talking all over the place, making no sense. Sorry about this.

I woke up yesterday to find out that I lost two friends to cancer in less than 24 hours.  Lynn had been battling breast cancer for over 20 years, and the last few years had been particularly tough on her.  She was such a sweet lady, and she and her husband were so much in love.  I'm heartbroken for Bill, and hoping for peace and comfort for him.  Danielle was 26 years young, and battled ovarian cancer.  She left behind her husband and their four-year-old son.  It's just not fair.

I posted on facebook yesterday that one of the hardest things about this cancer journey is losing the friends you make.  It's true.  And, given what I know, and what I'm facing, it's hard not to imagine me being the person that people are posting RIP's for.

Don't get me wrong - I still have hope, and know that my docs have many plans for me.  But, when you're in this situation, you have to face the reality that this may be the last Christmas you have, for example.  That's been on my mind a lot lately.  What if this is the last one I have with my family?  I can't imagine....

There's so much that goes through your mind, and I don't even know if I can put to words what I'm thinking, feeling.  You want to have hope, and you want to get back into fight mode, but it's hard when you see the people mourning those you just lost.

Right now, sitting here in my pajamas, I'm kind of just stuck.  I'm dreading the CT today.  I can't lay flat on my back, and I need to for 15 minutes.  They are working on some meds for me, to relax me and to help me with the pain.  That's my bump in the road for today.

Thinking about getting the results tomorrow is terrifying.  Luckily, both of my parents will be there, to help me remember details and to ask questions I don't think of.  I know the news isn't going to be good.  That's going to be one of the bumps in the road tomorrow.

Getting the infusion of Erbitux tomorrow, worrying about how I'm going to react to that and the Xeloda....that's another bump in the road.

For the next 24 hours, it's going to be very difficult to get into fight mode.  The fear, the anticipation, the's completely overwhelming.

I'm hoping that once we get through the next 24 hours, and the anticipation is gone because we've dealt with everything, I'll feel better about what's happening.  I'll have answers on what's going on inside this body of mine, and I'll get back to fighting once they start the chemo.  Right now, it's all just too much.

So, I'm going to try to take it step by step, and remember that I've been through much worse.  I've had to deal with all sorts of horrible things, and I've made it this far.  I can make it through a CT scan (with medical assistance...) and get back home with my family tonight.  Then, tomorrow, I'll deal with whatever the scan shows, because that's what it is, and I can't do anything about it.  Whatever the CT and CEA show is nothing more than a new baseline for us to start from.

Between you and me, I'm hoping my CEA is below 100.  I've tried to convince myself that I'll be happy if it's below 1000, but I really, really am hoping that it's below 100.

And, with that, I'm off.  I have things I need to do for Christmas, and life must go on.  That's the bottom line.  Whatever happens in the next two days, I know that life will, without a doubt, go on.  It must.

And, it will all be okay.


Page Turnings said...

My thoughts are with you on this rough day. Deep breaths in and out.....

Michael D Wieland said...

On behalf of your Upstate NY Army, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I hope the CT goes well, and the results are better than expected...

Joan Bardee said...

I think and hope that you are right. Just learning and facing whatever "it" is will be better than this horrible unknown and uncertainty. You know I am hoping for the best for you.

Christy Lee said...

Michelle I am sending all kids of positive thoughts your way and hoping your numbers are 100. I can't imagine how difficult this time is for you but I have learned from reading your blog that you are one of the strongest people I have "met". I hope all goes well tomorrow.

Heidi H. said...

Thinking of you as you go through this. (((HUGS))) from Tennessee.

Jodi Perlman said...

Dear Michelle:
I represent a nonprofit organization, Michael's Mission, we are a young but growing organization that is concerned with the quality of life and options for colorectal cancer patients. We also understand about the growing statistics for colon cancer attacking . We are therefore, attempting to target programming to this population. WE are named in honor of Michael Soussa, who passed at 33 from rectal cancer. Finally, I am 4 years free from anal cancer(which I believe to have been as a direct result of my Crohn's). I would be very interested to speak to you about some of our plans and see if I can't entice you to work with us on one or two ideas?! Would love to at least talk more. If so, contact me through my email:
Thank you for your consideration. Best Wishes to you and your family for a holiday season and New Year filled with better health and peace.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Jodi Perlman