Last week I had chemo. Adriamycin and cisplatin; the bad kind. This week I go into hibernation. It seems that the side effects get worse with each round of this. It also seems that they start sooner and last longer now. I'm not going to lie, this is pretty miserable. The pits. A drag. It is every headache, stomach ache, canker sore, feeling of nausea, fatigue, body ache, and flu like symptom you have ever felt. If I didn't have two doctor's appointments this week, I would just stay in bed and not get out until Friday!
At the last appointment I had with Dr Litton, my oncologist, we were discussing things that were done 10, 20, 30, and 50 years ago in medicine. It is amazing the things they used to do, and no longer are doing. It is also equally amazing the things we are capable of doing now; how far we have come in medicine. I posed the question of what things would be like in another 30 years from now. There was some hesitation until I gave him the reassurance to go ahead with what I thought he would say. He said that everyone, including those who will work in medicine, will wonder why we poisoned cancer patients? He said, "Cut, burn, and poison," are the methods we use now. It's what we know now. I wondered aloud to him if he thought there would be a cure for cancer in 30 years from now, even if it was only for a select few types. But he said that perhaps it would be more like a chronic illness in the future. We would still have it, cancer would still exist, but we would probably be treating it differently and people would be living longer.
So if I am thinking long and hard about this, I am pioneering the way in medicine. I am making possible, through the successes and failures, a future of cancer patients to not have to go through what I am going through. The whole discussion started over some things my mother said they used to do back in her day, and then the doctor chiming in, and then me stepping in with a huge, "I'm grateful to have my leg!" If this would have happened to me 10 or 20 years ago, the possibility of amputation would be very high. The way I look at it, is that people for decades have been paving the way for me. I am the beneficiary of all the collective data, successes, failures, tests and trials, and now am receiving the very best care at the present moment that modern medicine knows how to give me.
Have I mentioned lately how grateful I am? For everything...
I will emerge out of hibernation sometime soon; maybe when I don't feel so achy, maybe when I don't feel like throwing up, or maybe when my appetite comes back. I will think about the next good meal and just put it on hold. Right now, feeling better and stronger over the next week or two is my first priority.
It's times like these I have to keep telling myself that I can do this!