It’s about 3 1/2 months since I finished chemo, so time for a check up. I had a CT scan last week, then an appointment with the oncologist on Monday to hear the results. It was good and bad news. Good to hear the cancer is stable in all my lymph glands (those tumours haven’t grown). However, it was a nasty shock to hear there are a couple of lesions on my liver. They’re too small to affect my liver function, but the doctors recommend I start chemotherapy again soon. I will have weekly doses of paclitaxel (Taxol) starting on Wednesday.
I have had Taxol twice before (2010 and 2011) with a strong dose on a 3 week cycle. This time I’ll have a lower dose weekly which should be a significant attack on the cancer while giving me fewer side effects. I’ll lose my hair, but hope for no damage to nerves in my fingers and toes, which is a potential risk. I asked if there are any clinical trials to suit me (for example complimentary immune therapy etc) but there aren’t at the moment.
I am sad and a bit stunned. While the cancer was confined to my lymph, I felt fortunate with no worry about major organs. All these years (8 1/2) the disease has been very responsive to the platinum drugs which are the best known treatment for ovarian cancer. These spots in my liver seem to be resistant to platinum, indicated by their appearance in under 6 months since treatment with carboplatin. Platinum resistance is something that happens eventually, but it’s disappointing to face it now. Also, last time I had a 4 year gap between chemo treatments, so 4 months is very short. I have been so preoccupied with tackling pain and lymphoedema that it hasn’t felt like a break at all.
However, I have recovered my strength since finishing my last treatment and I’m confident that I’ve always handled chemo particularly well, so I’ll be ok. In my favour I have a medical team who I trust and I am relatively relaxed about what is ahead, feeling like an old hand at this. Best of all I have my devoted family caring for me and you my thoughtful team of supporters. Thank you!
Here is a story for you that has given me lots of laughs: I found a plastic wrapped Nivea jar in the bottom of a travel bag when I was tidying up, and one night very late I slathered some of the soothing white cream onto the tops of my thighs and groin where the compression stockings are giving me a bit of a rash. My legs stuck together – so I peeled them apart, thinking only that this cream must be old and I had better throw it out. Hours later I woke to find my legs stuck together again and stuck to the bedsheets too. Then it dawned on me that the jar contains artist’s gel medium – it’s a glaze, like glue! Now I remember sharing a bottle of this stuff with Mum and we decanted my portion into an old Nivea jar. Don’t worry, I was able to wash off most of it, then the remainder peeled away over the next few weeks.