I Want A New Drug
I had new CT scans this week and got a chance to sit down with my Oncologist to review them.
I was due for these scans anyway as it has been three months since the SIR spheres procedure and the results would show how effective (or not) it had been. With the surprise blood results from a few weeks back they were also needed for my peace of mind.
Annnnnnd…….. the scans show no signs that the cancer has spread.
They also shows that the remaining tumours in my liver have calcified. My Oncologist explained that this generally means the tumours are inactive. Where there had been ‘room’ inside them before due to the fact they were living organisms, they have since died off and the body then fills the space with calcium deposits to help protect and heal the affected area. At least that’s how I understand it. If anyone (qualified) would like to comment and explain it further I’d be happy to hear it. But you must be a doctor or nurse…ok? On top of that the tests which look at liver function are showing a significant decrease in all areas…. another good sign.
I’m now on the drug named Erbitux (Cetuximab) and have received two infusions so far. I’m responding, or so we think, because I have broken out in some terribly painful acne all over my head and torso. As painful as it is, it’s usually a sign that the drug is doing it’s thing. I’m grateful it appears to be working but the rash/acne is very itchy and causes my scalp to burn. I am constantly going to the bathroom to stick my head under a cold shower to try and achieve some kind of relief. It’s impossible to lay my head on my pillow and so I am now waiting until I can’t stay awake any longer and crash from exhaustion in order to get some sleep at night. I have antibiotics and cream so hopefully they will assist in making things more bearable. Between the itching and burning scalp, the stoma and the neuropathy (yes, still… feet especially in constant pins and needles…. curse you Oxaliplatin) I am struggling to remember what it feels like to have a “normal” body. When Huey Lewis sang “I want a new drug, one with no doubt. One that won’t make me talk too much or make my face break out” he wasn’t far off the mark. But it’s temporary and the end results, ie not dying, are worth it if it means I am here for decades to come.
My CEA markers are still very high (up to 4,000) but my CA 19.9 has not moved since we checked it a few weeks back. It’s holding up at 112. My Oncologist is confident that once the Erbitux begins to work through the body these numbers should begin to come down. It would be strange indeed if they do not, given there is no bowel cancer anymore and the liver is looking the best it has in a very long time.
One day all of this will be a distant memory…. recognisable but unfamiliar.
So this week I picked up one of my guitars for the first time in a very long time… my black Duesenberg 49er. I went through a stage where I did not really care if I ever played or produced music again. I was saddened by my loss of passion for music but at the same time felt powerless to stop it from fading. But after seeing Train up close and being able to see the joy on Jimmy’s face as he played, I was reminded of what it felt like to lean back into the music and get lost in the moment. I know the feeling well…. it’s just been a while. My hands held up ok so this week I’m going to start work on a new pedal board and try and get back into scales to jog my finger memory.
It feels nice to play again. Hopefully the neighbours won’t mind.
(btw… a big welcome to Oprah’s ultimate 302 viewers. I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by.)