Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Shouldn't This Get Easier?

I have been getting chemo treatments every two weeks since the beginning of December. The effects of my treatments are not that severe compared to others, but it still sucks. Every two weeks I get to spend three days in bed feeling like I have the flu. I’m exhausted and queasy. My nose runs almost constantly. My eyes burn any time they tear up. After the three days, I start to feel normal. “Normal” is completely different than it used to be. I can’t drink or eat anything cold. For a few days, chewing will hurt my jaw. Plus, there are occasional waves of nausea and the skin breakouts. The effects have gotten easier to handle. I don’t get as sick as I did the first couple of times. Despite this, I dread every treatment. The day before, I get crabby and anxious.

At the treatment center, I see how sick other patients are. There are so many people there who really look sick. The comment I get most often is that I don’t look sick. I know that treatment-wise I have it pretty easy. I get lots of looks from the other patients. I assume it’s because of my age. All of the nurses know me – again because of my age. On Monday, the patient in the chair next to mine was 30. I only know this because the nurses ask you to verify your name and birth date when they administer the chemo drugs. She looked much older than that and she looked sick.

I’m just tired tonight. And slightly nauseated from the piece of pizza I had for dinner. I’ll feel better in the morning.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Here We Go Again

Tomorrow marks my 8th chemo treatment. I will resume taking the steroids, so it should be better than the last time. Other than that, it's the same routine. Anyone want to trade places?

Jim's aunt Pam and cousin Becky were visiting this weekend. I tagged along with them to do some of the touristy things that Los Angeles has to offer. After two and a half years of living here, I finally went on a studio tour, spent some time on Venice beach, and ate sushi. I'd go into more detail, but my first appointment is at 7am and I'd like to get some sleep tonight, so the stories will all have to wait. Good night!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Can They Take Away My Degree For This?

I attended an all-women's college - yes, all-women's college, not all-girls school... Feminism 101, Freshman year. Whether intentional or not, my experience in college instilled me with certain tendencies and a perspective that could be described as Femi-Nazi. I only bring this up because I am concerned. In recent months, I have been the target of a fair amount of sexist jokes. It is rare that a day goes by where I don't get accused of "bad womaning" or get praised for "good womaning." I am concerned because I wonder if they - "they" being the administration of my alma mater - would take away my degree if they heard the harassment to which I regularly am exposed. Perhaps not for the exposure, but maybe for the complacent attitude that I have adopted. I must just feel guilty for not fighting back. I'll have to work on that.

I hate to explain this, but since I know sarcasm doesn't always translate well in the written form, please don't take this too seriously. I'm only bringing it up because I threatened to post about the "bad womaning" comments that I have been getting for months.

I added a new link to a blog that my friend Kristen pointed out (BSC Headquarters). I don't know that I have any Baby-Sitters Club fans reading this, but if you were a fan, definitely check out this blog. I only wish that I had thought of doing it!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sometimes You've Just Got To Laugh

While waiting for Dr. W at one of the many appointments that I've had, I was telling Jim that in many instances the classification colorectal cancer is used instead of colon cancer. I, however, always refer to it as colon cancer. Why? Because I can't say colorectal cancer without laughing. Shortly after I finished explaining this to him, Dr W came in. Within thirty seconds, he used the term colorectal and I sat there with a stupid grin on my face, clenching my teeth together to keep from laughing out loud. I must have looked like an idiot.

Last night I was watching a rerun of "Family Guy." A doctor was telling Rudolph that a malignant tumor caused his nose to be red. Rudolph asked him, "Is it a magical Christmas tumor?" I really want to ask at my next appointment if I have a magical Christmas tumor.

Quite a few different people have accompanied me to my treatments (Thanks Mom, Robert, Jim, Phil and Ragan!). Had I had the forethought, I would have been telling the nurses the guys didn't know about one another and asking them to keep quiet about it. I could have gotten myself quite the reputation at the UCLA Cancer Center.

When I ran the spell check on this post, it suggested that I change "colorectal" to "colorist." Hmmm...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stupid Steroids

I promised several people that I would post the report summary from my CT scan. Here is what Dr. W emailed me:

1. Dramatic decrease in size of multiple hepatic lesions, many of which are now densely calcified. No new hepatic lesions.
2. Decrease in size of previously seen mildly enlarged retroperitoneal lymph node on the left.
3. Status-post right hemicolectomy. Previously seen soft tissue masses in the mid abdomen, near the operative site, have decreased in size.
4. Cholelithiasis without cholecystitis or biliary obstruction.

The whole list is good and I am responding well to treatment.

Last week I had another treatment session. One of the drugs that I have been taking for the side effects – specifically the nausea – is a steroid, Decadron. This drug causes my skin breakouts to be worse, my face to appear puffy, and causes me to be hungry ALL THE TIME. I started taking it in January. After a couple of treatments, we cut the dosage in half for the three days I take it. After the next treatment, we cut it down to two days. None of this seemed to make any difference. Last week, I asked Dr. W if I could try not taking it this time. He said that it was completely up to me, so I didn’t take it. That was a mistake. Although, I did not get as sick as I was the first two treatments, I did realize all of the good effects that the Decadron has. I barely remember Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn’t feel like eating anything which made my headache worse. Plus, I still felt crappy both Thursday and Friday. Next time I’ll take the stupid steroid.

I’m going to NYC for Easter. I’ll be staying with my good friend Jen and her fiancé Tim in Brooklyn. I’m trying to plan what I’d like to do there so any recommendations are welcome!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's A Small World After All

My dad was in the military so we never lived near my extended family. This meant that any family vacation that we took was to visit actual family members. I loved visiting my grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins, but as a kid, I always wanted to go to Disneyland. Today that childhood dream came true.

I spent the day at the happiest place on earth with my mom, my roommates Robert and Jim and my friends Phil, Emily and Amanda. We were there for nine hours, but the time flew by. We rode lots of rides and even got my mom to go on most of them – including Space Mountain. I think that everyone had a great time.

I'm exhausted tonight, but it was a great day!