I started round three of chemo today… it’s my rituximab day. Even better my doctor gave me a bit of an exam today (yes, he actually saw be BEFORE they gave me the phenergan – an antihistimine that makes me fall asleep almost instantly), and I didn’t take my crutches with me because I’m walking so well, and I did not get lectured (except by my mother); as a matter of fact my doctor was thrilled I was able to walk so well! He thinks it’s evidence of the chemo-therapy working, and so do I. I absolutely wouldn’t be walking without my crutches if I didn’t feel so much stronger, but I do.
The doctor has also scheduled new CT & PET Scans for April 21 (two days after my birthday… what a great birthday present). I’m so looking forward to the results of these scans; I feel really, really positive about them and about the reduction in the size of my tumor. I can feel that it is better. Unfortunately I let slip that I was hoping I’d only need six rounds of chemo, and while he didn’t say one way or another, looking into to his eyes I could read that he feels eight is more likely. So unfortunately I don’t think I’m half way through my journey today, but I’m 3/8ths of the way there (I know I’ll celebrate anything). My husband says we’re saving up for when it’s all over because when my immune system is back to itself, I’m going to be taken to the best sushi restaurant in town and treated like a princess! As if I didn’t have enough to look forward to, now I’m getting fish incentive… call me a seal… I’m out of mind excited… arf arf arf
The only thing that really went wrong today is that AGAIN my port would not give up any blood. It takes fluid really well, but it apparently is not going to save me from having blood draws from my arms. At least I’m not afraid of needles, or being poked with them, and I’ll hand it to the nurses doing the blood draws; they’re quite good at finding my tiny little veins, and getting blood in one stick. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. As soon as they start putting the phenergan into my IV, I begin to get lightheaded and a little dizzy, and I am asleep within about 10 to 15 minutes after they finish the injection. The one funny thing that happened… I’m allergic to latex, so they have to wear special latex free gloves when they give me my injections. Well the nurse wears size 6.5 in latex gloves; so she got size 6.5 in the latex free and she totally Bruce Banner’ed them (Hulk reference for non-comic book readers). She slid her hands in and when she flexed them she totally shredded them. I found it hilarious anyway.
Oh I thought this was kind of cool. I went to a website suggested by another NHL blogger, Carrie Davis, called My Crazy Sexy Life, and they had up a really cool question, which was… If you could draw a picture of your cancer, what would it look like? Now I love to draw and paint, and I have actually imagined my tumor quite a bit. For whatever reason, I really don’t know why, I just imagine it as a big sheet of a kind of pinkish purple plastic bubble wrap that goes around half of my pelvic area, like half a pair of panties (this blog was almost called My Panty Tumor” by the way). The other way I sometimes imagine it is as a big group of foamy purplely pink bubbles. I really don’t know why bubbles, and I really don’t know why I imagine it is purple. It’s not because I have any negative associations with purple, and the pink bit is just the sheen on the bubbles. Really though, I love the color purple (there aren’t many colors I don’t love actually) so I must’ve just got some strange impression from the way the doctors have described things to me. Anyway, the person who posted the question is apparently looking to write a paper using some of the responses, so anyone reading this who has a cancer & would like to comment on how they envision, they’d be helping out with a paper.
All in all though I don’t think that’s a bad way to envision my cancer. A lot of people believe a very helpful technique in battling cancer is to meditate your way to healing; I’m among them. I think your mind is an extraordinarily important tool in battling any disease, and I try to spend time everyday meditating on becoming fit, optimally healthy and tumor free. When I imagine my immune system fighting the cancer cells I see them as big feet dancing away on the bubble wrap, popping bubbles all around and freeing up my healthy bones, or sometimes I see them as little soldiers with spears wandering through a field of purple bubbles, popping massive amounts of them at a time and freeing the healthy white bones underneath. It makes it all kind of fun in a way I guess. I imagine a lot of other things depending on what side effects I’m feeling from the chemo, but those are my primary imaginings when I’m in tumor fighting mode. I guess I never see it as anything that could fight back. One guy at Crazy Sexy Life said he imagines the tumor cells as blobby and dumb, and I guess I see them that way too. Not intentionally malicious, just too dumb to know they’re doing anything harmful.
One other thing when talking to the doctor today that kind of I think emphasizes a very different sort of view of life that I have been blessed to have and have never thought about… My mother was with me today and she was asking why I got this, and the doctor was saying not to think of it as some sort of punishment from God or something along those lines. He said some things are just random and bad things unfortunately do happen to good people. I guess my view of life is totally different from that way of thinking. I have never thought that life was supposed to be smooth sailing on glassy calm waters. To me, life is about lessons that we need to learn in order to grow spiritually. The challenges you face are the things that teach you the most about yourself, those around you, and life in general. Cancer isn’t pleasant, but since I have it, I won’t miss out on the lessons it’s there to provide. I know it can be hard to see unpleasant things as a blessing sometimes, but for me personally, I can’t see them as anything else; it’s what keeps me optimistic and gives me the strength to believe I will be healthy again.
Anyway, enough philosopy. Tomorrow is the CHOP portion of R-CHOP, and I’ll need my rest for that. The doctor thinks a lot of the trouble I had this time was a result of my having suffered strep throat, so hopefully this time goes better. I’m still on the antibiotics for strep, so I hope so too. Goodbye tumor, by April 21, you will be a distant memory.