If Nothing Else, Gunther Should Have Done the Trick

May 14, 2007

O Best Beloveds, markers are at 154. This is up from 109. Not at all what we expected after the initial excellent reaction to the Aromasin (which I figured would have been only enhanced by the healing powers of Louisiana crawfish) and just a big bummer all around. It’s too much and too fast for Dr. W’s liking, and so the instant I get back from England*, in the beginning of June, he’s popping me back in the PET machines. At that point, it will have been three months since those negative scans, so that’s long enough for something to show up. If nothing shows up AND the numbers plateau or fall–still possible, since Aromasin takes a bit to get fully up to speed–then I keep going with just hormone treatment as I am now. But if the scans reveal something OR if the numbers go up again even with negative scans, then it’s back in chemo for me. Which most likely means back in chemo in a month. This plays all manner of hell with my complexly scheduled summer, to say nothing of my sunny good humor, which, I have to be honest with you, is getting a bit worn. The kind of chemo will depend on what happens next month–so enjoyable, these monthly cliffhangers–if it’s treating “markers only” or if there is an actual something or other visible on the scans. Dr. W. is thinking of some treatment that starts with “Nap,” so I rather like it already, and more so because he claims it has virtually no side effects. “Minimal hair loss, maybe even no hair loss at all, some numbness in the fingers, and that’s about it.” Two weeks in a row, one week off. Etc. He’s trying to figure out something that will balance treatment with quality of life. “I really like this chemo,” he says, because it’s both extremely effective and mild. And I ask so then why doesn’t every one get it? “Because with liver mets we usually have to treat more aggressively.” So that’s something; despite this big disappointment, I’m still qualifying only for Chemo Lite.

Of course, just earlier today I was trying on some clothes at H&M and was pleased about how they fit, and then not pleased when I noticed how the dressing room light shone on the still-visible scalp on the back of my head, pink skin just gleaming away though the skimpy strands, and now it’s highly likely I’m going to have ever so much more showing in just a couple of months. Hardly worth it to keep the appointment I made to have my hair colored up a bit more tomorrow. And then I worried that the clothes I got won’t fit in a few months, because “no side effect” chemo will still mean weight gain, and I was really enjoying going back to the gym and walking and having time to work and having eyebrows and lashes. And then I thought I ought to just be grateful that all I have to be concerned about is hair and clothes and figuring out when I’m going to write those papers, that I’m so certain of Dr. W.’s power that I can look at all of this only as a massive inconvenience. None of this shakes my confidence in him. As he pointed out, other docs would just let this go a few months and see what happens. The fast return to chemo is the result of having a doctor who believes in aggressive treatment. As it happens, his aggression is precisely why Steve and I both have such trust in him.

*When my dad died, he left enough frequent flyer miles to get my Mom a business class ticket to Europe, which is a good way to travel when you are older and kind of rickety. And she wanted to go to England, because the three of us went when I was fifteen and though she’s been all over the world, she hasn’t been back since and wants to see it again. So I’m taking her, because she’s a nice Mom and she deserves a treat.

But, hey! Even though Aromasin and crawfish wasn’t the magic combo, maybe lots and lots of Cadbury will be! There’s a thought! Sure will be fun to find out!

There’s that sunny side asserting itself again,