Monday, December 20, 2010

Phase I (A-C) Round 4 Cautious Optimism vs.Skepticism

Phase I (Adriamycin Cytoxan):Round 4

The doctor said I would not be the same person after cancer treatment.  I hope to not only be two years older, but 2 years better.  Possibly thinner (doubtful at this point) and maybe even a faster runner? Wishful thinking I guess.   Anyway, this has actually been quite a productive round for me.  Due to the fact that I did NOT have a headache this round! Hallelujah! I was somewhat more functional during week one due to lack of Headache that, despite severe weakness leading to abdominal sprain (which I of course thought was cancer) by week 2 I was significantly ahead of previous curves of recovery.  I believe that the Doctor’s statement that the tumor is in the “responding very well to treatment” category lifted my spirits, increased my hope, and decreased my anxiety.  Along with the awesome nursing care I received from Richie this round, I was back to jogging 3 miles on start of week 2 and 6 miles by end of week 2! Richie was a master at keeping me hydrated. I think that helped the headaches too.


Along with being ahead of the exercise curve, I’ve been working my way up the technology curve, as well.  I’ve purchased a new laptop, learned how to use iTunes, how to download photos and videos from my phone to the computer, move music from the computer to my iphone, and a whole host of other things.  I even set my computer up on wireless at my home, almost all by myself.  (With just a little emotional support at the end from my friend Mike R., who took 2 hours out of his Saturday to educate me on how to use my new computer!  Thank you Mike and Cindy!!).
On a personal note, I’ve continued to maintain a good relationship with my husband (?) enjoyed my 2 kids, and honestly enjoyed the holiday season for the first time in a while.  I’ve even re-connected with my Uncle Terry who is my closest living relative on my Dad’s side.  I always enjoy talking with Uncle Terry, because I have a lot in common with him, and Ace does too.
Its funny how during the first week after the A-C treatment, when I’m lying there awake yet really unable to move, how my mind races.  I think that the Adriomycin drug is somewhat of a psychedelic.  I sometimes see faces….they are in black and white and like 3 dimensional negatives, but look exactly like the people that I see.  It’s kind of cool.  I also lie there and think really crazy (or insightful) thoughts that seem less interesting by week 3.

The one thought that I kept perseverating on this time was the idea of Cautious Optimism versus Skepticism.   I’ve never really thought of myself as an optimist, but I’m not exactly a Pessimist or full on skeptic either.  I’d like to be optimistic, but that, in my opinion requires blind faith.   So, anyway, I wasn’t really sure if Cautious Optimism was something I made up or if it is an actual thing….So I, of course, googled it.  There is very little out there on Cautious Optimism….some stuff about cautious optimism regarding the spawning of salmon, and recent increased use as a media phrase.  The media skeptics see it as a cop out.  I liked the California Psychics opinion that it is OK to be both cautious and optimistic at the same time.  Anyway, this is how I was feeling about my cancer treatment.  Optimistic, yet cautious and still desiring objective proof.  I feel that it is an improvement over plain fear and depression.  Even though the doctor made the statement that the tumor has shrunk, and this did raise my spirit and my hopes, and even though I can even feel it for myself (I think), I still also  want to see the follow up MRI, and continue to seek more objective proof.  I have learned through my own actions and reflections, though, that I am more of an optimist than I thought.   Once, on day 3 or 4 when I was still very out of it, my friend Chuck texted me…”How are you doing E” and I simply replied….”Lying in bed with clothes on”. I had gotten up, showered and dressed, getting ready for the day, and then proceeded to just lie there the rest of the day.  I realized that that was an optimist’s move.
After my last not  so impressive visit with the oncologist, I had told his nurse that I needed some more objective proof of my odds.  This time around she handed me a printout of my odds.  In summary it was that I have a 76 to 80% chance of being alive in 10 years.  I thought that sounded pretty good.  When I told Richie, he said…”That’s not good enough”.  I thought that was a bit pessimistic, but at the same time made me feel good.

Regarding my schedule:
Tomorrow I start what I’m calling Phase II:  this is the start of weekly, for 12 weeks, chemo/infusion of 2 new drugs Taxol and Herceptin.  They say it will not knock me down the way the first 2 drugs did, but will be somewhat cumulative.  Some side effects could be worse at the end of the 12 weeks.  Then a short break, and then the surgery.  The doctor said the possibility of radiation will be determined on whether they still find active cancer during the surgery, etc.

I hope everyone has an awesome holiday season! I'm looking forward to our first christmas at our house!


No comments:

Post a Comment