I was hoping to blog about this after I saw the written report but oh, hell, when you have the biggest CT scan of your life on a Friday afternoon and your Doctor calls 2 hours later and asks “where are you?” you gotta take it on faith. Fortunately I was sitting in my family room with both coconuts (Tim was working late). The one year anniversary of my metastatic cancer diagnosis is this week–March 11th, when my oncologist called to tell me what seemed a foregone conclusion after all the biopsy-ing, scanning and poking. In the 12 months since then we have not had much good news. Actually its all been bad news as the cancer continued to grow and multiply in my liver, I broke a rib and it mutated into the dreaded Triple Negative Breast Cancer. This led to going into a clinical trial of the big bad chemo and immunotherapy 9 weeks ago. Yeah. So I was dreading last Friday. Well the news is good! All of my tumors have shown shrinkage, no new ones and a spot on my thoracic spine shows no change but looks like scarring (have no idea what that last part is about but don’t care). My blood tumor markers which climbed way up in the Fall have dropped drastically since I started the trial. Dr. Rachel said “this is the best news we could get” given how little time I have been on the new treatment. Stay the course!!
I expected to feel differently, maybe excited or euphoric even. Instead I feel numb. I think 365 days, 24 hours a day, thinking about something makes me locked up mentally for protection against any more “news” than I can take. I am happy but not relieved, not just yet. Still so much to think about and of course more poison/toxins and feeling awful and being chronically tired which I am mostly glad about if it works and puts the dragon back to sleep.
This past week I saw old friends–my secretaries from Plymouth visited on Sunday, Peggy and Jan, and then on Monday, my former main office secretary from Plymouth, Mary Anne, popped into work and surprised me. Karma people, it is a real thing. Be kind to others and they will stay by you.
Lots of flowers arrived too, despite the snow, to get me thinking that I will live to see another Spring. Hurray!
When I was a kid, as the youngest, my older sisters were often tasked with babysitting me. They liked to bribe me with candy to keep me quiet about their shenanigans, which mostly involved boys, and to this day I have a love of candy necklaces and I can keep a secret! When I was about 7 years old my parents went to a Celtics game and my oldest sister Mary Lou and her boyfriend got stuck with me on their date. Why they would take a 7-year-old to see Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte is beyond me. By far the scariest movie I have ever seen. Even now when I see it on some old movie channel the sight of that rubber head rolling downs the stairs and the guy’s hand getting chopped off freaks me out and this is without any “special” effects–it was 1964! My point? Implied horror is far worse than actually seeing the whole slice and dice thing, in color, up close which usually seems more laughable to me. But yes, Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Bette Davis are very scary!!
This week on Grey’s Anatomy they featured a woman with an infected access port just like the one I just got. There was lots and lots of blood, she became septic and died. Tim turned to me and said how can you watch this? Beats me but I am glad I saw it AFTER I got the port. We prefer medical shows to crime shows anyway and after all, Kelsey is an ER nurse. I faithfully watched every episode of ER for 15 long years. In one of the later seasons Dr. Edwards develops a brain tumor and goes to Hawaii to die. I will never forget the impact of him dying alone in a bed in Hawaii with the alternative version of the song Over the Rainbow playing on a ukulele.
Which brings me to my final point. Well not really a point. Oliver Ames High School staged a beautiful, magical production of The Wizard of OZ this weekend. I saw it twice. Unbelievable how talented a community of people can be with big hearts and terrific kids. Two of my advisory students were in it and they were awesome as was EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! Here’s hoping we all get over the rainbow someday, just not today.
Thank you for hanging in with me and Blanket and the coconuts. I know it’s a lot to ask.