Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas


I hope you were able to spend the holidays with your loved ones in joy and happiness.  Fortunately, by afternoon on Christmas, I was able to get out of bed and enjoy time with my family.  I am so appreciative of my family’s support and flexibility around these holidays.  It’s been rough on everyone and the stress and emotional toll has been felt by all.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to give you an update and wanted to get one out soon, despite this being short and to the point.  

Unfortunately, things have been a challenge.  The pain continues to be quite intense.  I find relief by seeing my Acupuncturist and sitting in our hot tub, along with using several pain medications.  Most of the time you can find me surrounded by an assortment of hot packs also.  My bowels are still very sensitive and I am eating little.  Ironically, I have found organic cottage cheese to be a friend.  The nausea/vomiting has been sporadic so it’s been very difficult to keep up with my fluid intake.  Plus you have to be awake to consume liquids and I spend the majority of my days sleeping.  My kidney function is now showing some signs of the effects from the dehydration.   

I’ve had two rounds of chemo, both with a medication called Gemzar (Gemcitabine).  This is one of the chemo medications I had during my second treatment of chemo last spring.  At that time it was very effective, in combination with another medication, to clear the cancer quickly.  Of course, the cancer unfortunately also returned quickly.  With my most recent blood work this week, the Gemzar has been deemed ineffective this time.  After two rounds, the cancer tumor marker has continued to increase another 100 or so points.  I’m scheduled to have chemo again tomorrow with the plan to change to another agent called Topotecan.  The goal will be to have weekly treatments of the Topotecan.  I’m anxious to feel relief of all the pain soon, but still feel uneasy about “needing” chemo.  

I muster up enough energy at least once a day to work on “me” in the mind/spirit realms of treatment. I love using Byron Katie’s The Work to challenge all of my beliefs.  For example…it would have been natural for me to develop fear and feel hopeless with the chemo not having the “hoped for effects” so far.  BUT, in using her work I am reminded that just because one method did not work, does NOT mean that I’m following the path of most women with ovarian cancer where all available chemo agents are exhausted without suppressing the growth of the cancer.  I cannot know, beyond a doubt, what will happen to me.  Regardless of what has happened to many others, regardless of how many treatments are needed or not.  I am reminded to stay present in the NOW.  To stay aware and in gratitude of what my reality is in this moment and just how many things are working effectively.  I’m not saying this easy, but it’s been the best thing for me to keep from feeling completely hopeless.  

I thank all of you for your continued support and thoughts of well being for me.  
In love and gratitude,

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Dr. Oliver