Burning Issues

Its been a tough cycle mentally . Kathleen’s main metric for what the cancer is doing (for better or worse) is how the lymph nodes in her neck feel and look. Its not been good. While they initially shrunk, they seem to be getting bigger in the last 3 weeks. But they are definitely hurting more which takes us back to August when the lumps first popped up. Sometimes the sites where the cancer has spread initially respond to the poison… and then they stop responding. We dont know that for sure, but its not a good sign. As a result, we are going back to the radiation oncologist on Thursday to see if anything can be done to help with the pain. Its a bit tricky to zap around the neck as there is too much going on in that region which could be damaged if they are not careful. But thanks to RIM and a whole host of other generous local donors, the cancer center has some great modern equipment here. We also see the chemo oncologist tomorrow. Of course, we will ask for his interpretation / assessment as well. Not feeling very optimistic. But then again, I think I have become numb to optimism and pessimism to some degree. At some point, I think our bodies dial down the amount of emotion you can feel…. or you just reach a point where you become heavier on the stoicism and numbness. We have to, in order to make it through.

Thinking of this great pic of Kathleen from the summer. She was on a 7 day infusion of 5FU while getting the radiation treatments. Despite feeling crappy and barfy and having a chemo bottle connected to her 7×24, she wanted a day at the beach. It was an amazing day. One of my favorite beach days. Ever. More pics of that day with our friends Jan and Diane at http://picasaweb.google.com/miketancsa. They are nice to look at during this winter spell


Round 11 starts Friday if her blood work is OK.


Looking Over Your Shoulder, Out in the Open

I think one of the first Westerns I ever saw was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, the two of them have to get out of town fast and they head into the bad lands of Utah. Huge expanses under a big sky. You are at the same time exposed and hidden in the enormity of the landscape. The two heroes would ride from ridge to ridge and then stop to look back. They scan the horizon in silence. Are they being followed ? A spec of dust on the horizon, is it them ? Just dust from the winds ? Have a quick watch. You will see what I mean.

I was thinking of that scene today when we met with the oncologist. After a week break from the chemo, Kath is scanning the proverbial horizon. Is the lymph node in her shoulder really bigger ? Is it because of the cancer ? The infection ? Maybe its nothing. It sort of feels like that scene. After all the efforts of the surgery, radiation and chemo — or Slash, Burn and Poison as Kathleen says, how could the cancer still be there. She has come so far, with so much effort, how is it possible there are specs of dust following her on the horizon?
Round 9 tomorrow. White Blood Cell count, platelets and kidney functions all passed so she is good to go. The doctor asked if she wanted to do just half strength to make it a bit easier. Nope, full strength. There are specs of dust on the horizon.


Going home!

Dropped in to see Kath on the way to work so I was able to hear the good news from the doctor she can go home today!
As she can swallow food and pills again they are comfortable switching her antibiotics to pill form. So, a work from home day with Kathleen! Betty will be most happy to have her chair warmer next to her again 🙂