Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dylan Thomas, misremembered as John Donne

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Amazon, breaking down

I get knocked down, but I get up again,
you're never going to keep me down...

So my oncologist was encouraging. The short version is that he says most of it looks good. I go in to see him next Wednesday to determine the next steps.

The biopsies will determine if the cancer has spread to the next lymph nodes down the line. My suspicion is that the cancer is partly responding to the taxotere chemotherapy - thus the existing nodes got smaller, decreased uptake. BUT, it has also mutated, and new cells have become resistant to the current chemo. Thus, why the new lymph nodes are enlarged and showing faster glucose uptake. Clever little bastards. Life will break out, even when you sort of might kind of slightly prefer that it didn't.

How do I talk to my own genes and cells, and explain to them that I'd prefer if they didn't continue to multiply uncontrollably? The microbiology and genetics of cancer are fascinating, but I'd just as soon not be studying then from this close up. Poop. Too bad I can't fold myself inside out like a microscope, and really see what's going on.

From previous conversations with the oncologist, that probably means I take a break at this point, and start a new chemo regimen a little later in the summer or early fall. One possibility is an oral chemo called Gemzar. (Who in the Sam Hill comes up with these names?)

Needless to say, this is not the outcome I was hoping for. Still, there's lots of treatment options still available.

My poor body and spirit are feeling fairly beat up. I also find myself frustrated again that this body which I have truly always beaten to shit and still been able to depend upon, is more fragile than it looks from the outside. I think of myself as an amazon, but apparently years bashing it have taken their toll. When I had one of my knee surgeries, I asked the surgeon if he could install a zipper, since no doubt I'd be having surgery again sometime before too long. As I recall, he didn't think it was funny, and I got that LOOK. That doctor-ish I have no sense of humor look. After five years, my oncologist at least now knows when I'm joking.

I wonder what the original Amazons felt like when they started to age or got sick. Did they laugh, and continue to dash about in spite of creaky knees and sagging boob(s), or did they sail off into the sunset? I doubt they gave up, and retired to their rocking chairs to age gracefully. Became wise women. Made art. I'm not sure.

I don't ever want to be one of those sorts who won't go to party where someone has a cold because I'm such a "delicate little flower". Still, I'm feeling that there's a wee possibility I need to go a bit easier on myself, physically.

OTOH, I still want to learn to fly an ultra-light, and there are noises about motorcycles. Wonder which path I'll choose? I also need to train my replacement, in several ways.

So I hopefully have the summer to turn this ragbag chemo body back into some semblance of health. Hair! A digestive system! A mouth without sores! Fingernails! Cuts and scrapes that actually heal! What a concept!

As the Monty Python boys say, I'm NOT DEAD YET!

Wish me luck.

All my love,

Friday, June 04, 2010

Hanging fire

PET scan shows mixed results. I'm waiting to hear from my oncologist. Definite - two new biopsies next week. More details later.

Love to all,