Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday, September 17th, 2010 -- Part II (sorta)

Hello Blogsters,

Ok, I wasn't right back like I said I would be, on the other hand, it hasn't taken me a month to get back so things are looking up .

Yes, I wanted to post Part II but it was a matter of finding the time... and now, here it is almost 1:30am... see what I mean about never having the time?? When I'm still sitting at the computer at 1:30am, about to drag this tired body to bed and remember, "Oh no... another day has gone by and I haven't blogged. If I wait until tomorrow, it's going to have to be after a Dr's appt, and then after I have to do the work I am behind in, and then of course, after a much needed nap and then, if I have the energy, I have tickets for two Fringe shows and then... well, next thing you know, weeks have gone by :D

So, without further ado, I must give you all the news... and it's GOOD NEWS!!! I'm so excited!! Still, the days of getting results from tests and scans really need improving. There is just so much friggin' waiting around. I mean, they want the blood tests done on the same day the oncologist is going to meet with you because that same day they will have the most up to date blood work which they need to see if the platelets have regenerated enough that it's safe to start the chemo again. Some people have a real problem with regenerating their blood platelets and if they are not high enough, then the chemo must be delayed until they are... which of course is only giving the cancer a chance to fight back.

So, I went in the morning and had my blood work done. Oh, the joys of giving blood when you have veins that run for the hills. Apparently I have a really good vein in my right arm, but over the years, so many pokes that there is scarring tissue so now, it's hard to get the needle in, plus the vein twists, just to add to the challenge. Oh sigh. But finally the gals got the blood they needed for three vials... a test for CEA, a test for liver function and a test for seeing the levels of my blood platelets.

Now I had an hour and a half to kill before I was to come back for my scheduled oncologist appt., which of course is never on time which means waiting some more. I, who are usually a fairly calm person (give or take), get very anxious when I'm at the BC Cancer Agency. On the one hand, I am mesmerized by what all goes on in that building, the things they are discovering, the research that is going on in the huge new building across the street, the amount of people the building sees on a daily basis, etc. On the other hand, reality hits and I'm not there because I'm supporting a friend or family member... I'm there because *I* am the patient. Ack! That must mean I have cancer! Double Ack! The comfort of my world of denial is stripped away from me when I am in the building.

So I decided to take myself out for breakfast at one of my favourite restaurants not too far from the Agency. There's one in my 'hood too but this one is closer to the Cancer Agency and I will have to go back for my appt. So off to deDutch Pannekoek House on the corner of Oak and 16th. Normally, I always have the same thing... Ham 'N Hash 'N Eggs (basted). They have a lovely huge menu and their Pannekoeks (a combination of a huge crepe/pancake) are to die for... but I always seem to end up with the same thing. But this day... I decided to throw caution to the wind and I ordered their Amsterdam Eggs with Spinach... which normally sit on two "Rusks" but I know those are sort of like English Muffin Melba Toast, so I asked for it to be on Sourdough toast instead. Hahaha... wow, where have I been???? This breakfast was absolutely, without a doubt, the most amazing breakfast in the world!! It was so amazing, I had to take a picture of it so I could blog it for you all :D

Does that not just look absolutely divine?? Well, take it from me, it IS!! And when you hear me say on Facebook that I'm at deDutch, then you know that this is probably what I'm ordering from now on :D

Ok... so I had my delightful breakfast while playing on Facebook using my iPhone, but then it was time to go back to the BC Cancer agency to meet with Sharleen, my wonderful oncologist. Except that she was running behind. Arrrrgh! So it meant sitting and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. Hey, don't get me wrong... I totally understand that she and other oncologists get behind schedule. When they have to give bad news to people, they don't want to just give them the bad news and then say, "Well, you have to leave now, I have another patient waiting". These oncologists are absolutely amazing, and Sharleen in particular (well, that has been my experience because she is my oncologist and I know how wonderful and compassionate she is). So, I do try to be patient... on the other hand, anxiety builds just the fact I'm in the building. It's a double edge sword.

When I finally got in to see her... almost an hour late (and yes, she was very apologetic and knew that I was probably almost crawling out of my skin by this time since I've had all this time to sit and worry about what the CAT scan may have found. But she gave the biggest most gorgeous smile and said that the results far surpassed what they were expecting after 3 months on chemo. Best case scenerio that they were expecting would be that the tumours in the lungs had stopped growing and might even show some indication that they were starting to shrink. But the main thing to make the good news bucket would be that they had stopped their growing. Well, not only had the two problem tumours that showed the most growth STOPPED growing, they had shrunk by 1/3 their size 3 months ago!! Sharleen said that was incredible... there was no way they could expect that drastic of a difference no matter what kind of chemo I was on. But for some reason, these two tumours in the lungs that we were most concerned with had responded so well to the chemo. Also, the tumour in the kidney had responded and started shrinking. So it was definitely an exciting time... and its not often you get really excited when you are a cancer patient.

Soooo, now I had to wait some more, because she gave me the prescription for the chemo which I had to get filled up on the 6th floor where the pharmacy is. Chemo in BC is paid for by the BC Cancer Agency, so I can't take the prescription to a regular pharmacy ... I'm not sure if people realize but when you hear of all these cancer awareness walks, and fundraisers, and concerts, etc. etc.... one just assumes that the money raised is going into research and what not, but I don't think people realize that a lot of this money goes to the Cancer Agency so that they can pay for the chemo for all cancer patients. And as I have mentioned in past blogs, chemo is NOT a cheap medication!! For me, I am on 3-week cycles, which means I take the chemo pills twice/day for 10 days, then I have a 7-9 day break from chemo. That is considered 1 cycle and it cost $8000 for one cycle. At this point, I will be doing 8 cycles, but if the tumours are continuing to shrink, then we will be on it longer if need be.... and I do not have to worry where the money is coming from to pay for these cycles, extra or not. It also does not come out of one's medical insurance coverage, so it's not as if one is using up their "allotments" of any kind. Anywho... just thought I'd mention that... when you have the opportunity to pledge or support someone who is running for cancer or holding a silent auction/fundraiser for cancer... it's nice to know that if you or a loved one ever finds them in this situation, the chemo is covered with the help of everyone :)

Soooo up to the 6th floor I go, turn in my prescription, then down to the first floor to the cafeteria to get a coffee while I wait for the prescription to be filled. All said and done... I got there in the morning, around 11am and by the time I got home it was just after 4pm. I had wonderful news but even still, it is tiring to spend that much time in a building that causes me anxiety. So you can imagine what it's like to be there that long and you get bad news.

Meanwhile... my little darlin' has her owie foot that has to be taken care of too... so she had her little foot surgery and got a new red bandage... of which she was very proud to wear the next day into the TUTS office. Of course, she is perfectly content to just sleep in her office bed because that is what she does in the office :D

See her little red club foot? :D All protected from the owies of the real world.

And do you think she has her Auntie Toby twisted around her little red bandaged paw? She most certainly does!! LOL! I can not believe how she knows that she can milk this for all the attention in the world :)

This is probably the funniest one. We are now at the clinic. Char had cut her little bandage off and although Bridget could not feel any discomfort, she yodel/screamed her little heart out... until Char showed her the scissors and that they were nowhere near her foot. Then we went into the examining room and up on the examining table. Dr. Joan lifted her paw to the lamp she has so she could see the wound and how it was healing. Well, Bridget was sure she was about to cut her foot off and she screamed and yodeled and carried on as if she were being killed, until Joan told her, "I haven't touched you yet!" It took Bridget a second or two to realize, "Oh, right. Yes. Well, I knew that" and then was perfectly fine. Here she is, obsessing with the front door ... on the off chance it might magically open and she could get out of Dodge and go back to the car without me ;) Too funny!

Anywho... so there you have Part II. Both Bridget and I are doing fine and although, yes, I'll be on chemo until at least December if not longer... the reason I'm on chemo is because it is working... and hopefully will continue to work as well as it is right now :) :) It's amazing the difference in attitude when it is working vs when you don't know if it's working or not. Chemo becomes a bad word if you don't know, or if it's not working.... but is just a miracle med when it is working :)

Now, it's 2am... I must go to bed!!! Ciao for now! :D



Anonymous said...

Good morning!

As you can tell it's very early in the morning here. I am on the floor rolling over Bridget and her appointment, she is toooo cute.

Cheryl, I am so happy and relieved over your news. Positive thoughts and prayers do work and they are still coming your way.

Hugs, Maryann

Kathy said...

Such great news! I'm laughing so hard about Bridget and then your news really sank in! What a great day! I'm sorry you have to go through all the mental anguish at the agency, but, I think it's worth it to hear good news!

Have a great weekend!