Saturday, January 28, 2012

What's Bred in the Bone

Ugh. It seems persistent, this up and down, up and down. Hard to manage, the fluctuations of a disease run amok in your body, and its subsequent psyche-rocking side effects; especially for one such as myself, who hates thrill seeking of any kind. I don't even like escalators very much.

 Yes, I got great CT results. I asked for copies for my file because I wanted empirical evidence of the good news for my own satisfaction. I picked them up on the way to my ultimate chemo session. I did a quick review. While I am not a medical professional, some things are crystal clear. I read, with some disbelief, the cancer is in my spine and has in fact  fractured a vertebrae. Now, this was from the November CT. Two and a half months ago. When I asked to see the results in clinic in December, my doctor essentially said there was no need to review, since there was no benchmark for the liver tumour sizes - this was the first CT done, and the previous test was an ultra sound. Apples to oranges. However, since we did not review the results, I only found out now of the further metastases. Because I asked for the last two CT results myself, to take to the new doctor next Wednesday.

Because I advocated on my own behalf. It beggars belief.

Because I needed to SEE the results, and breathe them in, know them to be true. The cancer is shrinking. But finding out this way about my poor bones was like a kick in the stomach. Or a kidney punch. Or a boot to the head.

Now, you need to know, it takes a whole whack of courage to walk into the chemo ward as patient. Chemo is like a circle of hell, full of psychic and physical pain. No one goes there happy. Few come out feeling very good. It smells. It has machines that beep persistently. And in this hellish place we only know there are glimpses of a God, because the nurses are so amazing. Their care is astonishing. And so, with hand in one of the nurse's, I sat there yesterday, in abject misery. I was looking directly  at some poor breast cancer patient (you can tell by the colour of the drug bags hanging, and the fact that she has ice bags tied to her feet and hands), feeling like I wanted to rip out all the tubes and run away from my life, and what is seems to be reduced to. One crumbling vertebrae at a time.

And now, presented, well no - happening upon this new information, to try and absorb, while being poisoned. Sometimes, it's too much. 

The long and short of it is thus: thoracic vertebrae 12 was being attacked (lytic lesions, the kind which bites into not grows onto), and was collapsing onto lumbar vertebrae 1, and there is 40% loss on the right side of L12. No wonder my fucking back hurts all the time.

 So the roller coaster rides up - to shrinking tumours, and then plummets - to the sinking knowledge it's in the spine too.

Here's where being a glass half full kind of person helps. The same chemo that shrunk the tumours has done damage to the bone lesions too. Positive. Andy says there is a good drug out there which stalls bone spread. The CT results show bone lesion as "stable". Which means, well, stable. No further lytic degeneration. Again good.

However, I am still bereft about it. I lay in bed this morning, having feelings of deep love for my lower spine. It holds up so much, does our back - and I was unaware of its new burden. No heavy lifting for me. Ever. 

Additionally, I also had my picc line  out (up) yesterday - after an argument with said doctor  on the phone from chemo (down) about taking it out. He said, no, I said yes, well - I am on my way to Mexico. Finally I just put Andy on the phone instead, to get him off my ass, and it turns out he thought I had a portacath, not a picc. Human communication - so fraught with issues.

Up and down, up and down.


Kristine said...

Can't believe your doc hadn't told you about it. What a nasty stunner. So sorry for your hell day and for all the hell in general, but once again I'm amazed at your ability to stay positive, which is such a good thIng...keep that glass half full!! Hugs, Krissy xoxo

Tiina said...

I can't believe it either. It's so hard to hear it, hard to take. I hope that the bone spot is vanished with the chemo. Have a healthy time away, far away from hospitals and doctors. Tell us about it. Sending lots of love.