|That's my chemo birthday grimace!|
|That is not a comfy spot for an IV.|
1. I have Stage 4 melanoma, which is the highest stage. After this, I get my diploma and graduate. I don't remember taking the first three levels, but it must have been all those frat parties. This is because I now have melanoma that has metastasized in a "distant organ." I love that phrase. It makes it sound like my spleen is miles away from the spot on my neck where this all started. As if I needed anything else to make me sound fat.
2. They still think that they can cure this thing. I guess we'll see about that.
3. They really want to get me into the follow up drug treatment to the one I am taking now, as that is the hotshot new treatment that everyone is doing and I want to be one of the cool kids. I missed out on the whole twerking thing, so I want to catch this fad while I can. Per FDA regs, you can only get the new treatment after you take the one I'm on now.
4. They want to upgrade me to a clinical trial that uses the drug I am on now, plus a series of shots of another drug--kind of like what I did before, except that it's like three weeks worth of daily shots each treatment cycle that I would most likely do at home. Blam! Right in the belly. At least it's a target I could not possibly miss. It all hinges on insurance approval for me joining the trial, which is supposed boost the efficacy of the drug I am already on.
5. There is a spot on my liver that needs to be checked out, so I have a PET scan today. Chiquito really hates those things, but I keep explaining to him that it's a pet scan, so he has to be there. He wants a second opinion on that one.
6. Just for shits and giggles, I'm having an MRI early Saturday morning. I don't know exactly why they're sending me to this one, but the brain is a place this crap can spread, so they're probably just checking things out. I did not know that I was going to have this one until I was sitting with the scheduler. They're probably just going to find that my skull is full of old comic books and pop tarts.
|This is my "I'm relieved all the poking is over" face.|
The infusion itself was pretty quick. There were no pre-meds, so the whole deal took about 90 minutes after the drug got there. I didn't have a problem with burning, but I got this weird pressing sensation in my arm, like someone was pushing down on it.
So far, I feel fine, just a little bit draggier than normal. The first session is usually the easiest. If get to shoot myself in the belly, then that will amp up the side effects considerably. Every time I go to the bathroom now, Keith asks me if I have diarrhea. They played up the diarrhea as a side effect to watch for.
Honestly, at this point, I don't know how I feel about any of this, besides pissed that I am doing it again. I'm finding it hard to put a lot of trust in these drugs. They all keep carrying on about how astonishing the success/survival rates are, almost 20%! Wow! I know that's a big improvement over, say, 0%, but everybody keeps saying that to me like it's some magical, mystery number that means I get to be one of the elect automatically. All I keep thinking is: "What about the other 80%?" That is a much bigger number after all.
Bring that up and you get told to "focus on the bright side" and not to "give up hope" and "keep fighting" and so on. I feel like I am being asked to totally ignore the dark side of this equation like it does not exist. I can't do that, especially if my organs are hosting little melanoma franchises. The numbers last time were much more in my favor, yet here I am back in this pickle again. Twenty percent is a long shot and I would be dishonest with myself if I didn't admit that.
It's a long shot I am willing to take, however. As long as I am able physically and fiscally, I'll take every shot and chance I can get as many times as I can get them. I'm in this deal for the long haul, wherever it heads. I just want people to stop asking me to only acknowledge one of the possible destinations. How am I supposed to avoid it, if I have to pretend it's not there?
More as it develops.