Friday, October 14, 2016

update: stable

I have now had 17 intrathecal (injected into my brain) treatments of the Herceptin. I'm getting used to it.

I had an brain MRI on September 15.

It showed all visible tumours to be stable. There were no new visible tumours. As I said, in an email to family:
"The brain MRI shows things to be stable. This is so much better than the alternative that we celebrated with gelato and a meal out.

It would have been nice to see some progress but this is still good. What's difficult to know is if I am just staying stable right now on my own or if the treatment is working. What is certain is that we will not be stopping for a little while - even if it is a grind, we have to assume that it's helping. Things are certainly not nearly as bad after 14 treatments as they could be by now."
The oncologist treating me said that it's likely that I am stable because of some treatment but we don't know if that's the Herceptin or the CyberKnife radiation I had in March. I do wish it were more obvious but I am happy to be here and to be feeling OK, all things considered.

I also had a spinal MRI on September 16. The report clearly stated that there was no visible sign of metastasis in my spine. This is good news. I'm still in a lot of pain but I don't need to worry that its caused by a new tumour.
"I have degenerative disc disease (which is a misnomer because it is not a disease and not bound to get worse). I will not hurt it by walking through pain or swimming. I'm going to see a physiotherapist and I have acquired a stability ball. My back pain has been a serious impediment to my quality of life so I want to make it better."
I also have neuropathy in my right foot and a lot of discomfort from headaches and all the weight I have gained. I miss my old body and the things it could do. I haven't given up hope that I will get some of that back but it's frustrating. 

On the other hand, I feel lighter these days. I spent much of the summer feeling like I was about to die and just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Nothing has changed really except that I seem to have decided to enjoy living. It's so much easier to exist this way.

At one of my treatments this summer, Tim said to me "I feel an obligation to have more fun." It's an odd way to put things but I really got it. We have, since that day, put in a concerted effort to have a better time. And I think we've been doing a pretty good job.


Marysandy said...

Stable is very good, Laurie. Enjoying life is something many healthy people are unable to do; please give all of us some direction on how to do it. I love to read what you write and I'm sure a large number of your readers would agree. Your messages are a life force; your quests are interesting and create/sustain community; your messages to others in difficulty are filled with humanity. Keep writing and we'll continue reading and enjoying.

BTW, I think you did better at the cottage than we did with Sweeney Todd at the Shaw, and especially with the pies. Hope C and her crew enjoyed Ottawa, Kearney and wherever they went before or after their visit with you. Tell me all about it the next time we meet.



Peter Rukavina said...

*I feel an obligation to have more fun." – this I know.

laurie said...

Peter, I know you do. You guys are an inspiration in the seeking balance and finding the fun and interesting in the world.

Mary, this is a beautiful message and something I needed to hear. I was just journalling about how I am filled with regrets that I have not done more with my life...xoxo

Chris said...

Be sure to live up to your fun-having obligations. Can't let that slide. I hope the physio helps in that regard.

zoom said...

It's really hard dealing with multiple concurrent medical issues. Not just physically, but mentally. It can lead to a crisis of spirit, in which optimism feels misguided. It sounds like you're coming out of that place and heading for a happier one. I remember when I was going through degenerative disc issues and back pain at the same time as breast cancer - even though the breast cancer was more threatening, the back pain was far more debilitating. It really took center stage in terms of how much it affected my day-to-day life. After I had the back surgery and got back on my feet again, everything else felt more manageable. Laurie, I'm glad you're stable and feeling lighter, and I hope you get your back issues resolved soon. I think it'll make a world of difference. xox

laurie said...

Zoom, you have got it right for sure. The back pain affects my quality of life, on a day to day basis, more than the cancer - and that is saying something. You went through such a difficult time. I'm so glad to know that you are on the other side. xo

Diana Ermel said...

I am so glad you are stable. Love the pictures.