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When I went to the lab to get my vitals taken and have blood withdrawn for tests, I was beginning to get guilt pangs for feeling pretty good since everyone else who came in while I was there when asked if they had any pain,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.