Status

I seem to be doing okay on the maintenance chemo with Pemetrexed. I’m having some annoying GI symptoms, but not even close to what I’ve had before. I’m happy that my CEA level went down, and my hair is growing back. I even have eyelashes, short and stubby though they may be. And pretty soon, I’ll be back to having to shave my legs.

I’m getting impatient for my hair to hurry up and grow already. It’s still so short I can’t even tell if it’s straight, curly, or wavy. And it’s white with some darker strands here and there. But I’m just going to have to wait.

I’m still careful about what I’m in contact with until I’m sure my immune system is up to snuff. And I’m chomping at the bit to get to the gym for water aerobics, or some other gentle activity that will help lose some of what I’m calling my blimpie weight. Part of it is steroids, part of it is chemo, and part of it is inactivity as I’ve had no energy to do anything. But my energy is coming back, and I’m able to do a lot more. I have 3 rose bushes to care for now (a birthday present from my partner) and I’m enjoying being outside in the gorgeous Spring weather we’ve been having since Christmas. The heat of summer will be here soon enough, so I’m going to enjoy this as much as I can.

I know I’m not cured; I know my cancer is still there; and I know it could grow and spread again at any time. But for now, I’m planning to live a ‘normal’ life, whatever that may be. I’m not going to live as if I’m dying. I want to do the things we planned we would do when I retired. And I’m going to enjoy my life every day.

Overwhelm

I recently realized that I am just now coming out of the overwhelming shock of my diagnosis. I talked in my last post about ‘dreamwalking’ and think that has been my state since October. I somehow managed to keep it together enough to work for a while, to submit the application for disability, to make and show up on time for tests and doctor appointments. I have blindly accepted whatever treatment was offered, not knowing there could be more. We did have a discussion with my oncologist early on; and he did outline what was available and what he thought I should do. I agreed because I wanted to get started and beat this thing.

This week was when things changed. I have tied in with some online lung cancer supports and have found out there are so many different treatment options out there. So today, I had a frank discussion with my team member and am satisfied I am getting the best treatment for me at this point in time. I am also encouraged that my oncologist is a leader in the field, and is proactive in changing protocols for his patients, including getting them in for treatment trials anywhere in the country. So now I feel I can breathe again. And I’m more optimistic. And I’m starting to get back to a more normal life. I know that at best I can expect to just manage this – I don’t expect a cure. But there can be remission when the tumors stay the size they are, and that’s what I’m aiming for at this point. If the tumors get small enough, there is a chance that radiation can finish the job. But for right now, I’ll take the chemo, bear the side effects (but there’s usually a drug for that!!), and continue the fight.

I still have to be careful of infection, so it’s important to keep an eye on my white count. I did once have to have a shot to stimulate production of white cells – and it worked. But I still can’t be around crowds, which makes shopping a bit of a problem! But with the antiseptic wipes I have I’m comfortable at least going grocery and pet food shopping. And if my white count gets too low, I’ll just have to wear a mask. I refuse to be sick any more. I’m not going to be an ‘invalid’ and I will beat this thing.

Onward and upward!!