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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chemo Treatment Day with Mixed Emotions

Today was a mixed emotions kind of day. My visit with the oncologist went well; I've gained another  pound since the last chemo treatment.  Who knows, maybe at the rate I'm going  one day I'll actually hit the 100 pound mark 😄  We went over the scan results and the onc  says based on the good results from this one and the previous scan she's comfortable with changing my scan schedule to every four months  instead of every three months.  She also confirmed that we'll continue on the current regimen of  Camptosar and Erbitux as a maintenance therapy for as long as I can tolerate them well and they continue to be effective.

When I went to the lab to get  my vitals taken and have blood withdrawn for tests, I was beginning to get guilt pangs for feeling pretty good since everyone else  who came in while I was there when asked if they had any pain, replied "yes" and most rated the pain at  around  7 or 8 on the pain scale. I am   grateful that  my pain is infrequent and minimal, I hope those in pain  were able to get some relief at today's session.

Last year I met another patient in the  chemo treatment room.  We  usually  had chairs next to each other and became chair mates, in a sense. He was an upbeat  guy,  with a wonderful sense of humor. He began telling his wife that I was his chemo room girlfriend. She seemed to take it in good humor and reminded him I may not have wanted him as a boyfriend. If I had agreed to be his girlfriend, I might have been accused of cradle snatching since he was a decade  younger 😀.    He was  receiving chemo for inoperable pancreatic cancer, and realized the odds for long time survival  were not all that great.  He was still able to do things around the house and yard, and go fishing, which he enjoyed.  Over time, though, the cancer and the chemo took its toll, and he wasn't able to do  much at all except sit around.  A couple of months ago he told me he'd been hanging on for the sake of his family, but that he was tired and had decided to stop the treatment. Shortly after that I had my new port put in and that  messed up my treatment schedule so he and I were no longer  getting treatment on the same day and  didn't see each other.  I'd often wondered if he had followed through on his decision to stop treatment, but  knew better than to ask the nurses or doctor because of patient confidentiality rules under HIPPA. I'd tried googling his name but  nothing much turned up. Today, though, I decided to  google his name with the added  word "obituary". He had died early last month. I hope his family are doing OK, and understand why he decided to end treatment. I'm guessing that he probably  had hospice care near the end of his life- I hope he went peacefully and painlessly.

Getting to know  other  patients in treatment is both rewarding and  upsetting.  We are happy to learn that someone has left treatment because it has done its job and their cancer  has been effectively eradicated or sent into what  we hope is a long term remission.  We are saddened when others, like my friend, leave treatment because it's no longer working, their other options have been exhausted and they are  just  bone-tired and drained, physically and emotionally. But  we all learn from each other's experiences, and I am very grateful to all of them, and grateful too  for the medical staff who care for us all in a  caring manner, knowing that some of us will make it and some won't.

1 comment:

Rick Watson said...

We are still friends with a gentleman that Jilda met while doing IVIG treatments. Several of her chair buddies have died.
It sounds like your chair buddy was a good one.