Saturday, April 27, 2013
Back from Paradise
I am back in the living room command center after having spent the last week in glorious sunshine! Living in a cold climate like Norway, the weather is like russian roulette - you never know what you are going to get. But in the Canary Islands every morning I woke up and pulled open the curtains, the sky was blue, the air warm and the sun creeping up behind the big rocky hills. And the freedom of just running out the door to breakfast without thinking of jackets, mittens and scarves was pure bliss. We really enjoyed ourselves as a family and I ensured I took full advantage of the unlimited buffet meals (waffles with nutella anyone?) and spa. I finally got that pedicure I had been wanting for oh...about two years for. But no matter how amazing it was, I couldn´t quite escape my dark passenger. It would pop up in a quiet moment or when someone asked me about my scar or when we were thinking of having a second child. Suddenly I was the girl with cancer who had to go home and get involved in some serious life saving activity. I was the girl who was recovering from major surgery. And I was the girl who had to chose survival over the opportunity of being a mother again. For the first time I identified myself as someone with cancer because as my scans reveal, I do still have it in my body. Before I always called myself someone who had had cancer and was just having extra treatment because I was so young. Throughout the holiday, I mostly kept my secret identity on the down low because I find some people can react very weirdly and it can also be a total buzz killer. And if anything, feeling normal and just part of the gang was good for me. So all in all the trip was a total success despite a few deep moments here and there which was inevitable. But here I am back again - days away from the start of a new battle and I am so scared. You know coming home from holiday is always a bit depressing but coming home from holiday to start chemo is just downright shit.
So the rough plan we arranged before we left was to be admitted on thursday to have my central port* put in which is a minor surgical procedure. I would then spend the night in hospital and get my first dose Friday. Apparently you don´t start to feel super awful until 24-48 hours post dose so I should be dying just in time for Sunday brunch. Eggs benedict anyone? :) I did meet with my both oncologists (seperately) before we left on holiday and there just wasnt time to report it all back on the blog so I will now. One doctor (the head honcho) informed me that i would indeed lose my hair during this treatment which sucked the wind out of my sails. I told him that he had burst my last balloon of happiness with that blow. He also told me that my preliminary scans were okay - major organs like the liver and lungs were okay. There was one spot on my neck that needed clarification from the radiologist which I still don´t know about yet. So if the neck is okay then we are still doing ok people. I am still looking at a real shot of being cured...again. What scares me (besides the actual chemo) is the fact that if this doesn´t work then things are going to be really really bad. I asked onco #2 whom I love (and also disagrees with the hair loss) about this fear of mine and she kinda confirmed it. So I have decided that this medicine has no option but to work and rid my body of cancer cells for good. I am running out of lives and body parts to remove so please chemo - kick this cancer´s ass! And be assured that i am totally going to fight like hell but part of this process is allowing yourself to feel everything and visit every scenario. I want a happy ending but I am also not naive about the cancer I have. I am fighting a very aggressive cancer that has returned - there is nothing to sugar coat what that means. In many ways I feel really helpless now and like everything is out of my control. I have done all that I can do in this battle and now I must pass my sword onto the medicine. It is this awful toxic stuff that must do its job and save me. Why couldn´t it be cake godammit!
So I will try to get myself ready for the week ahead and eat all the foods I enjoy now. Both my doctors warned me how sick I was going to feel and doctors tend to play things down so this made me increasingly anxious. This is apparently one of the worst chemos out there and given how I responded to the last one, I am expecting to feel pretty damn awful. Expect the worst and sometimes you can be pleasantly surprised when it ends up better. That will be my strategy for this next trial. I might go back and read the entry I wrote way back in may 2011 on the night before my first chemo and see how much I have changed since then. Or maybe I am still very much the same...a scared and hopeful woman that just wants to be alive and healthy and will do whatever she has to do to get there.
*: Not all of you will know what a central port is so I thought I would enlighten you abit. A central venous catheter ("central line", "CVC", "central venous line" or "central venous access catheter") is a catheter placed into a large vein in the neck (internal jugular vein), chest (subclavian vein or axillary vein) or groin (femoral vein). It is used to administer medication or fluids, obtain blood tests (specifically the "mixed venous oxygen saturation"), and directly obtain cardiovascular measurements such as the central venous pressure.