Low News is Good News

February 4, 2006

I realized, O Best Beloveds, that there hasn’t been that much cancer-treatment specific information in these chronicles of Cancer Chick lately, but that’s because of two factors: 1) One thing we have learned is that cancer treatment is nothing if not boring and repetative, that is, if you are lucky, and 2) I am lucky. So it’s pretty much all the same, every week; either Weds or Thurs, I go to get my blood drawn, sometimes at Norris, which I love, but who fails to get my results to Lisa Chemo Nurse in any timely manner and is not that convenient for my Weds school schedule, or lately at Glendale Memorial, which is better located and staffed with lovely, lovely people, but something that takes five minutes at Norris is taking over an hour there for no apparent reason so I may have to switch back again. Thursday or Friday, I go in for treatment, usually with Steve, once with the splendid Lisa D, I get hooked up, Lisa Chemo Nurse does her adorable thing, I leave and we all have snacks. (When Lisa was Designated Driver, she passed some of the unexpectedly lengthy waiting period, at my suggestion, by going out for dim sum, and came back with cartons full of the stuff, which is just another reason she is so excellent. That such a feast could be consumed so liberally not many minutes post-infusion reminds us again of the wonders of kinder, gentler chemo.) I have less hair than ever–there is such a thing!–my brows are starting to thin in a way that requires supplimentation, my eyelashes are holding on, my clothes still fit, I don’t seem to require that many more naps than usual (but when one’s natural state is sleeping anyway, it’s so hard to tell), my mouth feels sproadically weird, and a new biologically unpleasant side effect has reared, and the key to what that is has just been given to you, which is all I’m going to say on the matter, for once. Apart from that latter, I remain highly in favor of this kind of chemo and recommend it to all, just as if one could request it like a particular spa service off a menu at a salon, should one find one’s self in this predicatment, which we all sincerely hope you do not.

Anyway, Dr. W’s offices in Torrance have moved to spanking new (most fixtures still being installed) digs in Manhattan Beach, and somewhat faster drive, with less Snack Places around, dang it (at least I got to try one of the many Chinese places aroudn the Torrance locale, not to mention the Halal place). But the infusion room is large, bright and airy, they have new everything inside, pink exam robes, fluffy blankets, a scale that is most inaccurate in the good way, lots of windows and all the same people, including Dr. W.

Who says that my tumor markers–150 this go-around (that would be after two complete cycles), down from 190-something last time, you may recall–are doing precisely as he had hoped. As in, going down, and at a perfectly acceptable rate. Still, I asked him; you are going to want to add on some more rounds at the end, aren’t you? Partly to tap down remission when it happens, and partly because that’s what you’ve done the two previous times? (“Oh, sure he is,” said Nichole. “He’ll figure if you have some eyelashes and are still standing, he hasn’t done his job yet.”) He scuffled, he gazed at the numbers, he demurred, he finally said “It all depends on your response.” Doing the math–every month, I seem to go down about 20% from the previous number, 0-40 is the magic range, he wants me in remission for a bit before taking me off chemo–I would say make book on it in Vegas. But again, I’m but one week away from being halfway through (barring any additional rounds), and this is going so swell, except for the recent bit of sorrow (Dr. W. and Lisa Chemo Nurse gave me some stuff to handle it, and initial reports are positive), I’m up for it. As long as it doesn’t mess with my Jazz Fest and Euro-Trip, which it won’t, Steve and I would rather the oddly comforting insurance of extra chemo than taking any more chances.

Mind you, I suppose this casual attitude (“bring it on!”) could all change, since it’s true that the more chemo one does, the greater the cumulation of the effects, and the greater possibility for something that gets me whinging more. But right now, I’m feeling pretty positive, and also nappish. I have days where I’m strangely productive, work-wise, and other days where I’m totally overwhelmed and a little bit wish I could take the next few months off. I went out make-up shopping with Julie, and we both danced a bit, because it was such a nice normal girlie day. The spicy tuna rolls were the best of the post-chemo Japanese food dinner Bianca brought us yesterday. I saw a woman yesterday at the clinic who is having a very hard time of it, and I remembered how lucky I am.

I hope she, and all of you, my Best Beloveds, have a day of lipstick and sushi and friends and falling tumor markers,