Monday, February 20, 2017

Recovering Bit by Bit

So, my first gem/tax chemo session is now 10 days behind me.  I'm still feeling a bit tired, a bit nauseous, and I wasn't up for skiing this past weekend.  It's going to be a rough 4 months, based on what I've seen so far.

I did talk to the nurses who work with my oncologist late last week after I sent them a rather whiny e-mail.  They have some ideas on how to make some things go better in future rounds.  One possibility is the use of more dexamethasone.  I have a sensitivity to this drug and I have had adverse reactions to it in high doses in the past.  So, they've deliberately kept me on the lower end of dosing with this drug, but we are going to try more.

We might also try some IV hydration sessions in the days after my infusions.  I also think I'm going to plan to work from home the Monday following each infusion, which was the nadir of how I felt in this last round.

But, the list of side effects is pretty substantial, and my online searches have told me that this chemo is likely going to be tougher overall than what I did last winter, at least in terms of side effects.  With only a 31% chance of true success (significant shrinkage of the tumors is the definition of success), and maybe twice that chance for success or stabilization, I'm still wondering if this is the best path.

I know that if I was making the decisions on my own, I would have chosen a different path.  There are at least 2 paths that I would have preferred to this one, but at times, I simply have to defer to the experts.  It doesn't make me happy, and I can't say I'm overly optimistic that this path is going to be successful.

Regretfully, I didn't feel up to skiing this past weekend.  I'm hoping that I'll be able to get out in 2 weeks, but I'm sure I won't ski this coming weekend, with my next infusion on Friday.

From a workout perspective, I had a very mixed week.  I did CrossFit on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I went easy every single day.  The first 2 days were really tough, and I had to take some significant rest breaks.  By the third day, things were better.

On the weekend, I called in sick to my ski teaching job, but I managed to walk a lot over the weekend.  The warm weather we experienced made it easier to get in some walking, and we are supposed to have above average temperatures all week this week.  We will see mid to high 50s at least twice this week.

On the treatment side of things, I will have a chemo port installed on Thursday.  It's a minor surgical procedure that certainly leaves me with some residual pain for a week or so.  Friday, I have my next infusion.

And, right after that infusion, I have my first workout of the CrossFit Open.  I was torn about signing up for the Open this year.  I had been anticipating this for a couple years.  At age 55, which I hit last month, the movement standards become easier, and I wanted to try the Open my first year at age 55.  When I was scheduled for surgery, this wasn't possible, but the change in treatment plans allowed me to sign up.

But, 3 of the 5 weeks of the Open, I will go straight from chemo to the workout.  I'm allowed to train as hard as I feel up to training, but I'm not sure that it's smart to go so hard immediately after the chemo.  Plus, if we have cleans or front squats or burpees, or anything else where the chemo port is in the way of a movement, the workout this weekend will be especially challenging.

But, as I've said on FB, the chemo can taunt me, but it can't own me.  I have a life to live and I'm not just going to sit around and watch it go by.

I think it's safe to say that I'm at a point with this disease where it's not going to be cured.  This latest recurrence simply reduces those odds to near zero.  So, my focus now is finding some middle ground - treat what we can, treat it in a way that allows me to live my life as normally as possible, and evaluate every decision one at a time.  I wish that wasn't the point that I'm at, but I'm not going to live in denial.  I still have a lot of things I'd like to do with my life, and I'm not going to simply sit around and wait for this damned disease to win.  Yeah, it's going to be tough at times.  But, nobody every promised me that life would be easy.

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