Friday, October 24, 2014

Return of the Cancer

Apparently my body has given me an early birthday present, but it's not necessarily one that I really wanted.  My cancer is back.  This time it is in my spleen, which is one of the places that melanoma can go, since it spreads through the lymph system, and the spleen is a part of that system.

My last scan turned up a lesion/mass (I'm not really sure which it was.  They have used both terms.) on my spleen.  I had a biopsy Friday before last, which took most of the day. When they biopsy an internal organ, they take a long-ass needle and stick it in your side down to the organ in question.  That needle is hollow and they shoot other needles down that one to collect the needed tissue.  Of course, you are numbed and semi-sedated during the whole process, but it's still a little unnerving.  After that, you have to hang around and doze and let the anesthesia work out of your system.  I went in at nine and did not leave until four that day.

I got the results Tuesday:  positive.  I figured that was the way that things were going to go.  My feeling was confirmed before I even got the news when they sent in the happy, gentle, kind of goofy older doc to give me the news.  When everything is normal, you get the slightly smug, "I'm a doctor" dude.

I'll start treatment next week.  Dr. Happy tried to paint a lovely picture about how easy this treatment is and how I'm just going to skip through daisies the whole time and ask for more when it's over.  I know better.  He said the same things last time.  While it is true that there have been some great advances in the treatment of melanoma in the last several years, nothing with cancer is ever easy.  There are just degrees of difficulty.

Speaking of treatment advances, the drug I was on last time were touted as having a 75% rate of non-recurrence up to five years after treatment.  I guess I'm in the minority 25%.  Figures.

Technically, my new treatment is not chemotherapy.  It's a drug called Yeravoy, which is immunotherapy.  I'm still going to have to go to the cancer center, spend a couple of hours there, get poked with needles, screw up my veins, then go home and have side effects, so it's pretty much all the same to me.  Not fun is not fun, no matter what you call it.

This drug is supposed to stimulate my own immune system to fight the cancer on its own.  One of the drugs I had last time was the same type of thing and it gave me chills and body aches and fever like you would not believe.  It was like the flu on steroids.  One I lay in bed under like a half dozen blankets, with Keith on one side of me and Kosh on the other and I was still shivering so hard that I shook the bed.  I am not looking forward to that again.  In side effect terms, they describe this as "flu-like symptoms."  I call it "flu driving a Mack truck."

The other side effects are supposed to be similar to what I had before:  some nausea, rashes, loss of appetite, and fatigue.  Yes, the bricks are coming back.  They call it fatigue.  I call it "bone-crushing tiredness that will not go away."  I didn't really have a lot of nausea last time.  I hope that's still true.  The fatigue is about all I can handle.

If this treatment doesn't work, then there's another new drug they can try.  If that doesn't do it, then surgery will be a last resort.  You really don't need your spleen as an adult.  I'm figuring, based on my track record so far, that I'll end up under the knife sometime in the spring.

I know I sound bitter.  That's because I am.  I am fucking pissed off in fact.  This shit was supposed to be over.  That's what I drug my ass around for seven months last year feeling like I was going to drop at any moment in order to accomplish.  I don't know if I will get over this feeling and, frankly, I'm not sure I want to.  At this point, it's my anger that's getting me up in the morning.  Otherwise, I'd be completely deflated.

This is only supposed to be a short run treatment--four treatments administered every three weeks.  If it all goes as planned, I'll be done before Christmas.  I just don't want the fatigue and side effects to spoil our wedding trip.

I have a lot to do this weekend to get ready for treatment to start.  Both booths need to be cleaned and stocked.  (Why did I open a second store????)  I need to think more about work.  I decided that I am absolutely not working on treatment days, like I did last time.  It was just too much.  I need to catch up on laundry and house cleaning.  I need to pre-write some blogs and get this thing back to life.  I'm not going to want to do some of that stuff once the fatigue starts hitting hard.

I don't want to do this.  I'm dreading it, in fact.  The whole ordeal of finding a vein for the IV is already giving me nightmares.  They fried them all out with the chemo last time!  Every blood draw and IV I've had since chemo has been torture.  Sometimes even when they do find a vein it's so shot they cannot use it.

And I don't have Dr Kosh around any more to make me feel better.  I'm just not sure that Chiquito is up to the task.

Fuck cancer.  Fuck it hard.


15 comments:

We are: Clamco said...

I knew something was wrong when I didn't see a regular post from you this week. I wrote you an email, but decided not to send it because I was afraid I might be right. That sucks big time. You have every right to be pissed off and bitter. Go punch something! I'll punch something too!!

Roger Owen Green said...

What you said.

You know I'm pulling for you, Eduardo!

Pat said...

Please curse to your hearts content. There is nothing about cancer or treatment that doesn't deserve cursing. Hey, I'm not a doctor, but I have the same issue you do with no decent veins. I had an outpatient procedure to install a chemo port under my collarbone after my 3rd chemo (probably because I was such a miserable beeyotch while they were trying to stick me 100 times). It makes for pretty smooth sailing, at least for the IV and blood draws. Feel free to email me privately if you want to talk about it. relativelyretro at gmail Sending you a big hug this morning!

Sheryl said...

I'm so sorry you have to go through these type of treatments again.

Donna Wilkes said...

I cannot say I know what you are going through because even though I have had family members got through cancer treatments - I have not. From this side of the bed it is horrible so from your side I imagine it is total hell. Scream, yell, curse, stomp around. I think anger can be a good thing sometimes. Know that there are people out in the world who love your humor and your extreme thrfting abilities. We will be cheering for you. So trite - make sure you scream and curse at me for saying that. If you ever just need someone to dump on, I welcome all cursing bloggers to come over and share.

svelteSTUFF said...

STAY PISSED!
KEEP FIGHTING!!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

DAMN!!! I am so sorry to hear this but I agree, stay pissed and keep fighting! We are here to support you all we can. Shit, crap, piss, poop....all those words.

Village Antiiques Mall said...

Of Ed, this is so damn mean, the side effects of treatment and just knowing is scream and curse. Maybe you can have a port. Damn it all, hugs Eddie.
Joy

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

I remember the getting as prepared as much as possible before treatment time Ed. It helped me keep my mind of the 'what next' crap so there were bits of metal relief. Damn. Fighting mad is good.
Joy

Shara said...

Dammit dammit dammit. We are all pulling for you. Don't push yourself to blog or anything else unless you feel like it. Keep us up to date so we will know when to pray and when to laugh and when to worry. Oh Eddie. I am just so damned sorry. And no Kosh on top of it all. I understand, I do, I do, I do.

Beth said...

I don't think I have ever commented on your blog before but I just wanted you to know that I have always enjoyed your posts and I will keep you in my thoughts. Wishing you all the best and you can say whatever you want to say, there is always someone there to listen. Keep on fighting!

Judy coggins said...

Oh Eddie.... I am so, so sorry to read your post. This just sucks. Please take care of yourself and stay as strong and pissed as you are able! Fight on, Eddie. Hugs....

laurie -magpie ethel said...

Cancer sucks. It really does. If you decided you need to leave a whole post of cuss words...I will still read it and understand. Hang in there. Keep us posted...so in my thoughts.

Heidi Ann said...

Eddie, I am so sorry to hear about this. I just wanted to comment and add to the well-wishes we all have for you!

Marci said...

Eddie,
I'm sp,sorry to hear about your recurrence. I had breast cancer 6 years ago with chemo, surgery the whole nine yards and it SUCKED SO BAD! I am glad they have a drug you can try that's not chemo. But bone crushing fatigue is about as bad. I'll be praying for you. FUCK CANCER!