Thursday, November 18, 2010


Yesterday's chemotherapy was the anti-cancer trifecta.  I spent far too much energy on Monday and Tuesday (during which I worked 8 hours each day, huzzah!) dreading this chemo session.  I tried very hard not to dread it, even as others reminded me that it will be better by not having port surgery on the same day and by not taking Composine (the anti-nausea pill that made my brain muddy/crazy).  Indeed, my fear turned out to be no match for the positive thoughts that surround me, and it was with a cautious smile that I walked with Ian to the cancer center yesterday morning.  Let the side effects resume!

In the interest of troubleshooting my anti-nausea medication, I drummed up a discussion with Dr. Oncologist about the possibility of medicinal marijuana.  I myself am not a smoker, but other cancer patients have sort-of recommended it to me as an excellent appetite stimulant.  I must say that I was rather relieved when Dr. Oncologist was less than enthusiastic about this option, because I don't know how I could have smoked it anyway.  Seemingly as a result of this discussion, she gave me a prescription for a very expensive anti-nausea medicine.  I wasn't trying to get new drugs, I was just wanted her professional opinion on this thing that had been recommended to me.  At any rate, my new anti-nausea drug is the same one that I get in my IV during the hard chemo sessions, and now I have two pills (we paid $50 for the pair, in addition to whatever insurance covered) for today and yesterday.  So far, I am slightly more comfortable than last time, although eating is still the worst part of my day.  But at least I'm not as nauseous in between meals.  Hopefully the improvement holds.

Fatigue.  Yes.  It started rearing its ugly face late this morning, and it is hunkering down for the long haul.  I must say, Dr. Oncologist has the timing of these treatments down to a science.  I was just starting to feel tip-top and on top of the world earlier this week (excepting the dread, of course); I guess that means it's time to kill some more cancer cells.  And we ARE killing cancer cells.  My left (cancerous) breast is getting softer and less swollen every day, although there is still a focal point of firmness.  Dr. Oncologist says this may be a bit of scar tissue from the recent biopsy, but I know that this has always been the focal point of hardness and so I will continue to beam your cancer-fighting positive thoughts directly to that spot.

I suppose that I'm biased as a microbiologist, but if I were a doctor I think I would prefer to be an infectious disease doctor rather than a cancer doctor.  When an infectious disease doctor administers a drug, it should help the patient feel better.  When a cancer doctor administers a drug, it makes the patient feel like ass.  I know that in both scenarios, either drug will ultimately lead to the improvement of the patient's health, but I don't think I could stomach the induced suffering that comes with being a cancer doctor.  This thought experiment has led me to appreciate Dr. Oncologist even more.  She is a brave soul.


  1. Thinking about inviting Willie Nelson to your house so you can smell the second hand smoke.

    Or maybe the "Doobie" Brothers. yuk-yuk-yuk, I'll be here all week on the main stage.

  2. I thought you'd be moving to California for a minute there....

  3. I think it's puff puff pass, not puff puff knit.

  4. Well dear, not sure how you find the time or energy to write so eloquently after the second grueling trifecta but we are thrilled that you can now live a bit more free of dread (for a few weeks anyway). Thanks for the update and hang in there. Saw Ian's new "do" yesterday, I bet you guys look lovely together (I mean it! :-). Now, you just need matching winter coats.