I've been on my new treatment for about seven weeks and I've been struggling with the side effects. I've made it through the bone pain and insomnia but the anxiety and heightened emotions are still with me. I never know when I'm going to rip someone's throat out or when I'm going to burst into tears unexpectedly. I'm even having panic attacks, which are pretty unknown entities to me.
Yesterday, I had my quarterly scans ... spinal MRI and full body PET/CT. I had anxiety issues with the MRI. I can usually sleep through the MRI in spite of all the noise, but this time, every time the knocking and pounding began, my heart would feel like it was trying to leap out of my chest. A spinal MRI means you have to breathe shallowly, so I couldn't take deep breaths to calm myself down. I prayed. I almost cried. The technician was very helpful and I made it through without falling apart.
The PET/CT was no problem.
The nurse practitioner called last night with a preliminary report and once again, it's a mixed bag. The good news is that the cancer is still confined to the bones only. There is no cancer in distant organs.
The bad news is that it looks as if this treatment plan isn't working. I have new lesions in my spine (and possibly in my pelvic bone and hip socket) and several worsening lesions. There are at least two vertebrae (if not more) that no longer have any bone marrow in them.
I will meet with the oncologist on Thursday to put together a new treatment plan. It's possible I will need radiation treatment as well as systemic treatment. I am very disappointed that this treatment isn't working as I desperately wanted to the be the "exception" who would have a many year positive response.
It's been a hard month. I'm angry, I'm sad and I'm feeling out of control. Of course, that's all any of us want ... to be in control ... and it's never been more clear to me about how little this is true in my life, especially in this world of cancer.
The voices of the dying are faint ones in the sea of pink. We're simply too depressing to be noticed among all the celebratory ribbons.
God, grant me peace on this day. I freely admit that I don't want to die now or anytime soon. It's not because I don't want to be with you ... I do ... but I want to be with my husband and children as well. I praise you for my life and may it minute-by-minute, reflect your love. Be with me even when I'm screaming with rage and remind me every minute that you are the reason I have life to begin with. Amen.