December 11th, 2008: I’ve had two days of available energy; enough strength to go to work for a few hours, to enjoy the play of cooking and to emerge slowly and steadily from the nausea of earlier in the week. It’s hard for me to remember that I am feeling good in a larger context of having a lot of chemo activity in my body. I forget that the chemo keeps rippling through my cells even after I am unhooked from the infusion bags and discharged from the hospital. But it very much continues.
A couple of people have asked recently about pain; as in, does the cancer hurt throughout my body? Happily, the pain has been managed well for the past several weeks. However, I do have four possible pain sites, three associated with the tumor and the forth is nausea-driven. My pelvis is the canary in the mine. It can be uncomfortable to sit because I’m resting on the tumor, and I’ve felt hobbled walking because I put weight on my pubic bone—part of the pelvic architecture—which has been invaded by the tumor. There’s also a metastasis from the tumor into a muscle inside my thigh which can hurt when I walk. When I feel nauseated, then my stomach is doing the talking. Otherwise, no headaches, no chest pains, arms and legs are good. No neuropathy, tingling (well, sometimes there’s tingling, but that’s a good thing) or numbness. Point of going through all of this is that since the second round of chemo, the pains that I used to feel have diminished considerably. I think this is due to the tumor shrinking and taking up less pelvic space. Also, the anti-nausea meds have worked better, faster this time.
My hair continues to fall out, but I still have a see-through covering over my head. Each day, I consider: should I wear a cap all day? Just for transportation? So far I have backed off and I go out in public and to work with my thinning scalp. The increasingly chilly weather may change my mind.
Dr. Jahan is out of the country right now. I imagine him in Paris, indulging his gourmand self. Lunch at Taillevent; dinner at Guy Savoy. I’ll get a report from him when we meet on Dec. 22nd for our next check in. Hopefully, I will have had new PET, CT and MRI scans by then. The initial plan was to do two rounds of chemo and then restage the scans to measure changes wrought by the two treatments. The results of the scans would tell us how to move forward. More chemo of the same type? Different chemo? These are big decisions and they will be resolved in the next couple of weeks.
I am a very lucky guy to be in this position: I’ve been given treatment and I have responded well. That’s another thing that it’s hard for me to realize: I am doing very well with the chemo. There’s a lot for me to be grateful for, and believe me, I do give thanks. That includes thanks to all of you who have helped so much by telling my body that it’s OK to take in the chemo and let the treatments occur with minimal struggle.