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[cancer] Sleeping my way through chemo - Lakeshore
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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-05-24 05:40
Subject: [cancer] Sleeping my way through chemo
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal
Yesterday was day three of infusion session ten of twelve. Came off the needle a bit after 2 pm. A lot of emotional distress around Nuevo Rancho Lake, and I developed a tendency to fall asleep randomly all day long. I didn't count it up, but I am guessing at least three hours of random, unplanned napping across at least half a dozen episodes. Weird. Then I slept 9.5 hours last night, thanks to the Lorazepam tango.

Almost done here. I come off the needle for the last time four weeks from yesterday. It will take me several weeks to see my energy curve begin to trend up. Likewise for the cytotoxins to metabolize out, both of which will materially ameliorate some aspects of my chemo-challenged sexuality. My immune system has held surprisingly strong, per the biweekly bloodwork, so hopefully I'll come off the immunosuppressed restrictions in a framework of a few weeks as well. I've been told to expect some side effects to last into September, and the peripheral neuropathy may persist for up to two years, or possibly permanently.

But still, the tunnel, she has light. Lots more to do. This summer I'll be having a CT scan, possibly a PET scan, a colonoscopy and day surgery to remove the chemo infusion port in my right chest. But those are all acute events, so to speak, not the pseudochronic journey chemo has been.

People have asked me how we'll know if this was successful. The only answer is we'll know when and if the treatment fails. The point of this course of chemotherapy was that we could reliably infer from my metastatic colon cancer of the lung that the original cancer had found a pathway through my body, via my bloodstream or my lymphatic system. Cancer has been present in undetectably small amounts the whole time, and that's how the lung tumor became established. So with chemotherapy, we're shooting at a target that's undetectably small. We'll never know if we succeeded, we can only keep looking for failure in the form of further tumor formation.

In other words, cancer in abeyance, not cure. Still, I'll take a few more years of health and a life raft of tests. But I have to say, I dread the possibility of another round of this.

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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-05-24 13:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The conventional wisdom is that if you're cancer free for five years, you've beat it. It's not 100%, but it's a good rule of thumb and target to shoot for.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-05-24 16:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I understand that, but the philosophical conundrum of proving a negative weighs heavily on my mind, considering I was not expected to metastastize in the first place.
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cathshaffer
User: cathshaffer
Date: 2010-05-24 18:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
if you have more micromets, they won't hang out for five years without growing. Still, what happened to you is really unusual amd I would be very insecure about it myself.
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Jay Lake
User: jaylake
Date: 2010-05-24 18:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, the original cancer was staged 1, and everyone involved was extremely surprised by the lung met. Sigh.
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Alley
User: alleypat
Date: 2010-05-24 15:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
hugs
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kellymccullough
User: kellymccullough
Date: 2010-05-24 18:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad you're getting to a place where the light at the end of the tunnel is registering.
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