Greetings from the underworld! I have been laying low the last few days, anticipating the usual several days of bone-crushing pain from my Neulasta shot. This round did not disappoint – I mentioned to a few of you that I could literally feel and hear my lymph system working. Liquid moving its way through tight channels…causing pressure and swelling. This body is fascinating! As I write this, a combination of pain killers and time has brought me into more equilibrium.
On the positive front, I am nearly halfway through treatment. My official midway point will be April 19th when I complete this third cycle. A few of you have been asking about my next scan: It will happen around May 1st, after the completion of my 4th round of chemo. I am certain my tumor has shrunk, and my suspicion is that it has radically decreased in size. I even have mental imagery of meeting my doctor the next day and her telling me they cannot find any trace of a tumor… why not be fully optimistic!?
The PET scan done midway is to ensure that the tumor is responding to chemotherapy– however the data that comes back from the scan can be misleading. This is because the scan has a difficult time determining if the activity in the area is due to malignant cells, or inflammation from the body recovering the tumor space. It will for sure detect the overall size of the tumor, and from what I read, this mid-treatment scan is more for patient encouragement than medical necessity. The ‘big’ scan will be approximately 6 weeks after chemotherapy when I will see the results of this painstaking 5-month journey.
Throughout this last week I had the great fortune of being supported all week by my sister Carrie, herself a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Denver. With coronavirus quieting things significantly at her hospital, she was able to take the week off for some brother-sister-chemo bonding time!
We tore through Ozark season 3 together and managed a nice afternoon walk each day – I think the weather was great except for this one day where we had some spring snow and cold temps. Carrie is now well-versed on the usage of my juicer machine but refuses to partake in the bitter green culinary delights herself.
Thank you Carrie!
Overall, I am in relatively good spirits – I’m noticing a similarity in feeling to the 100 day Zen retreats I’ve done in the past. There is this point in the middle where the beginning is no longer in strong memory and the end is not yet in sight. In the middle, in the midst, of the journey. Small delights are making a big difference for me – letters in the mail, voice messages, my daily walk to the creek. As the body doesn’t respond like I always wish it to, I rely more on my state of mind, my intention to be present and awake and alive. This really is a practice of accepting. I have things I WANT to do – and admit in moments these things feel like ‘should do’s’. I’m sure many of you can relate to this attitude in this time of stay at home orders and social distancing. Be productive!…..
This is a bigger topic to write about (and here I am creating another should!), related to putting pressure on myself to ‘do something’ with this healing journey, rather than just living it and accepting it and being free and spontaneous to what manifests within it and into the future.