Tuesday, June 17, 2008

round two

The strange, chemically taste is in my mouth again, my mind is fuzzy, and I'm kind of groggy. I'm heading into another week attached to the chemo pumps. But this time around it's a little better. For one, I have a Hickman catheter — sort of an elaborate IV hanging out of my chest with two attachment points, one for each chemo drug. Yeah, it gives me the heebie-jeebies thinking about the details of having a catheter burrowed under my skin and stuck into a major neck vein. And I'm not looking forward to having to flush it out with heparin (an anti-clotting agent) every day for as long as I have it in me, which could be a year or more. But at least I can change my shirt without having to string my entire backpack through it. At least the tubing is under my shirt so Daniel is less likely to grab at it. At least it's in a place where I can wear the backpack on both shoulders, which distributes the heavy weight and allows me to open the refrigerator door and reach down for a bowl of strawberries without it sliding halfway down my arm. At least now I can take a bath (even though I am not allowed to get the Hickman wet, ever, so no swimming and I'll have to figure out a way to cover it up when I shower).

My CT scan yesterday showed that the tumors have neither grown nor shrunk. Which we, and the oncologist, took as a "good enough" sign to continue with the same chemo drugs this cycle. In the three weeks before I started chemo, the tumors did grow, so if the chemo was able to keep them from growing more, then that is better than nothing. And as Dr. S. pointed out, it's only been one cycle, still a short period of time. Steve and I left this morning's appointment feeling pretty relieved. It may not seem like much — my tumors are no better than they were a month ago, but they aren't worse. And that, to me, feels like we've bought some time.

17 comments:

kristine said...

Sorry to hear how sucky it is to have your device. At least you can see the positives in it though.
Also - like you said - glad to hear the tumors haven't grown. It sucks that they haven't shrunk BUT they haven't gotten bigger.
Always thinking about you..

Jamie said...

I'm glad to hear that things are going well - no growth is great! Also, I haven't had a chance to tell you this, but I'm very proud of you :)

Mary said...

People tell me that after a while, they get so used to having the port that they forget it's there. I'm hoping that happens for you! The thought of it freaks me out too, but it's so much better for your veins. I'm so glad you've had another month with your family, even though they have been full of ups and downs. Keep looking for the ups...creating the ups...enjoying the ups.

Monkeymama said...

I hope things continue to go well this cycle. At least you've seen it before and some of the unknown is gone.

Marketing Mama said...

That is good news Emilie that they haven't grown. The device stuff sounds annoying, but better than last time! I'm thinking about you and sending you prayers and good vibes.

Amy said...

Good luck with this round of treatment Emilie. Prayers continue for you.

By the way, you look fabulous!

Amy

Coach Megan Thomas said...

Emilie, I'm struck by how different your perspective is for Round 2. I wish you all the best with this latest round and am glad to hear that it will be less cumbersome than Round 1.

As always, our thoughts are with you.

Love,

Megan

Rebecca said...

Here's to visualizing those tumors getting smaller and smaller and smaller...

Madwoman of Preserve Path said...

Fabulous news! This, along with a glorious summer day, is a harbinger of even better things to come.

Anonymous said...

You may want to try using glad press and seal(saran wrap) to help cover up your hickman from it getting wet. This is the first time that I have posted to your blog. I seen it through someone elses.

Anonymous said...

Well Em, it sounds like things are going along, which is good, all things considered. I'm glad you "graduated" from having to wear the pack, although the neck vein sounds like a royal thrill...

You said something about being able to reach for a bowl of strawberries - that sounds really yummy at the moment.

- Susanne

Anonymous said...

Emilie,

We just saw the Indiana Jones movie last night. I feel like I should find some comparison in it, but I guess the only one is that he never knew what was ahead (heh heh) and always came out okay because of his can do attitude. So, go find a good John Williams soundtrack compilation and attack those cancer creepies with whatever it takes. I think his music is a good place to start. Or you could buy a fedora. Wow, what a random comment. Pregnancy brain.

--Laura S.

Christina said...

Glad to hear it hasn't grown!
Hope you continue to get more comfortable with the device.
(Great pic!)

Piccinigirl said...

thinking of you as you start this next round. It all sounds like "so much" but I know you're strong and you'll get through it.
So glad those tumors are the same size. Bought some time, indeed.

Anonymous said...

No growth is great news! Simple great! Your outlook on treatment seems upbeat. You and Steve are both lucky to have each other to lean on. Your love and strength will help you this. Thank you for continuing to share your experience. You are truly a model of strength.

Jennifer V.

Kristine said...

Great News! It's like those huge tankers in Lake Michigan. When they need to back up, they come to a slow halt and appear to stand still before going a new direction. I think your cancer is simply appearing to stand still before going the new direction and shrinking.

Anonymous said...

Fight Emilie Fight!
You continue to be in my daily thoughts & prayers.
Your attitude is amazing!!!
Don't give up!
Much love-
Missy L