I think the big tumor next to my spine is growing, and I'm scared. All week I've had what feels like a muscle ache in the right side of my back, spreading around to the front of my ribs, and it's getting worse. It's the tumor that kept growing during chemo; and, since I haven't had any chemo since early October, I wonder if that withdrawal is freeing it up to grow faster. I know the tumor is sitting up against a muscle, and I think it's irritating it more and more. It hurts to take a deep breath, to cough, to sneeze, to bend over and pick something up off the floor. At night, I can't roll onto my side — either side — without pain and shortness of breath, even with Vicodin. Even with two Vicodin. Ibuprofin helped get my hip under control, but it doesn't seem to be doing too much for this irritated muscle, except maybe take the edge off a little.
I'm supposed to be getting radiation on this tumor, and I would have started the set-up process Thursday, but that's been delayed while I explore another option besides the conventional radiation Dr. C. would be offering at the University of Minnesota, where I go for my cancer care. This other option is called Cyberknife, and it's supposedly a more focused, targeted form of radiation that would take less time and have fewer side effects. It's only offered at St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul. I have an appointment there Tuesday and then will decide whether to go that route. But it takes time to set up radiation treatments, and I'm worried about the delay in starting. Will they try to rush me into their schedule, or will they push it to after Thanksgiving? I don't think I can deal with all this pain until then — and more than the pain, the uncertainty of how much this tumor is running amok inside me, what damage it could be doing.
Did I say how scary this is? At times, I have trouble keeping it together. Today, while I was standing over the kitchen sink, Steve asked me if I was OK, and I said, "Yeah." Then thought about it. "Actually, no. I don't want to be dying." Which probably was really melodramatic and probably isn't happening, but still — you never know how quickly these things can blow out of control. I just wish there weren't so much uncertainty. It's so hard not to know.