Friday, March 15, 2013

Roller Coasters

Roller coasters
Does anyone out there love roller coasters?  Do you like the fast, thrilling rides or the upside down/corkscrew types?  In 2002, Robert, my nephew, and I spent a whole week riding roller coasters at some of the greatest parks in Ohio.  

The more appropriate question for this post today, is how big a fan are you of the roller coasters of LIFE???  Not nearly as much fun as the roller coasters in the amusement parks, are they?

So I made it through my first treatment of chemo in round 1 last Thursday.  It was not nearly as awful as the chemo agents that were used the first time I had cancer, but still was much worse than I had hoped.  My mom always phrases the symptoms as...”the train has hit”.  Well the train started to hit Saturday morning with nausea.  I was able to enjoy a nice visit with my co-worker from Kaiser Fremont, Angela.  Thank you Angela for coming to visit.  By late afternoon Saturday the train had hit and continued to be parked in my station through Sunday.  With this new chemo regimen, the complete fatigue has been the main theme.  Each day it has been a challenge just to get moving around the house.  

I went for blood work yesterday, Thursday.  Before each chemo treatment I have to have blood tests done to check that my values are strong (or normal) enough to receive chemo again.  My oncologist, Dr. Ng, called yesterday afternoon to say that my blood values were already too low to receive chemo again today.  The plan is to give me a daily injection of medicine called, Neupogen, for the next 5 days that should help my body boost the white blood cells again.  

So needless to say, I’ve felt a roller coaster of emotions over the past two weeks.  I was very resistant to do chemo for the longest time.  Then by having a do or die type of situation, I sought out the chemo treatment to reduce the size of the tumors that were restricting my bowels.  And I felt completely beat down by the first chemo treatment, but tried to ready myself to receive the 2nd treatment.  Only, to then find out I’m not healthy enough at this point to even get chemo again today.  It feels like being disappointed that you can’t drink the glass of poison.  I obviously don’t like how chemo makes me feel and struggle with that, but I also know that it is the one thing that can help me heal the tumors.  

After a few hours of disappointment and grief, I chose to surrender to the outcome and trust that I didn’t get chemo today because I didn’t need it.  I choose to think that the first treatment worked so well that today’s treatment wasn’t necessary.  

So now I get a two week break from chemo.  With the daily injections for the next 5 days, I hope my blood values will improve and I will begin to feel better.  Dr. Ng said he will put together a plan to try to find the happy balance of an effective chemo dose for the cancer, but not so effective that it is destroying everything else in my body. 

I am open for visits if anyone would like.  Of course, you must be very healthy and have no risk of developing any illness (like if you have a family member who is sick) since my immune system is wiped out right now.   

I think the key to having the most fun at any type of roller coaster, whether, it’s the topsy turvy fast one’s, or the emotional life altering one’s is just to relax and literally ride the wave.  For every climb up the mountain, there’s a fun ride down the hill on the other side and I find it’s the most fun if you raise your arms over your head and scream with joy!!!

Dr. Oliver