The truth is this whole life with cancer is a nightmare. Everyday there is something new to deal with. Everyday that I wake up, while thankful for another day, I pray and hope to have many more knowing that my days are numbered.
On Monday, I went in for my routine scans. As many know, I did not get the news that I had hoped for and the cancer in my liver continues to progress. My largest liver lesion grew from my scans in April and three new pesky lesions popped up. This boggles my mind because, I feel ok. While this news devastates me, I am not all that surprised. Again my rising tumor markers had me suspecting that these scans were not going to be in my favor. It has been decided that I need to move on to IV chemo therapy, specifically one called Doxil. My medical team has said that this particular chemo will come with side effects that are similar to the oral chemo I was on and that typically, people on this medicine do not lose their hair. We are hopeful that since my body and my cancer have never been exposed to IV chemo and its power that this will work well for me……….but we have heard this before. Someone at the doctor’s office asked me how I felt about this medicine and what my thoughts were. My response was “What Choice do I have”? “Take the IV Chemo or die” I guess I’ll have to take the IV chemo.
The truth behind Metastatic Breast Cancer is that you take stabs in the dark and hope that your cancer reacts to something to buy you more time in hopes that something else for treatment comes along. There are only so many options though. Choosing the treatments is sort of like a chess games. You choose treatment and it knocks out three other options in its class. Then when that line of treatment stops working you move up the line until there is no where else to go and the game is OVER. Well so far, I have knocked out Hormone Therapy, Immunotherapy, and Oral Chemo. Leaving behind the only option left- IV Chemo. There are many different options in this IV Chemo class though, so I am told. All in hopes that some miracle treatment comes along before it is too late.
While dealing with this news that my liver has progressed, I have also been dealing with some significant leg pain. What started as some numbness and tingling in my leg has progressed to terrible pain. I had an MRI that shows that the lesion/tumor on the L5 of my spine has also grown and is now pressing down on my nerve. Thus the current need for radiation. I went in on Tuesday for the “mapping” for my treatments and received my radiation tattoos. I will start my ten rounds of radiation on Monday wrapping them up on July 12th and will have my first chemo infusion on July 14th.
Right now I am terrified, sad and mostly angry. I am angry that this is what has become of my life. I am angry that this is the life that my kids and my husband have to deal with. I am angry that I feel like I cannot catch a break. I am also very tired. Tired in all senses of the word. Dealing with news like this over and over again exhausts one in way that cannot be described. It has been 5 long years of dealing with this and I am tired of it all. I can only thank Quinn and Colin for giving me the will to keep up with this fight.
I thank everyone that has reached out and offered help. We always appreciate it. Right now, I am a little overwhelmed in many many ways. I feel like I am running out of options. This is my 6th line of treatment and my 5th in the last TWO years!!! Very scary in my world. All while looking and seeming “Normal”. I find that a lot of times when I am telling someone what is going on, I tell my story or situation in a way that will make whomever I am speaking to feel a little bit better about the situation. Or when someone comes with me to my appointments- it is natural for me to want to take care of, chat with and make the other person more comfortable with what is going on. This is why I prefer to go to my appointments alone. It is easier for me. I can let out what I am feeling at that moment without worrying about worrying someone else. The truth is that on appointment days like the one I just had, I sit in my car in the parking garage and cry for about 20 minutes. Then I make the drive home- sometimes screaming, sometimes crying and then when I am just about home, I pull over- typically at a Dunkin Donuts- and I pull myself together so that when I walk in my door the kids cannot sense how dire the situation is and what has gone on with me that day.
Bottom line- right now- this cancer journey has me feeling weighed down and somewhat defeated. But I will do what I always do- put on my big girl pants and move forward. Put my faith in God, my doctors and these treatments to give me some more time.