The doctor said, “You are doing so well, I think we'll give you another three chemos.”
“Gee, thanks, doc.” said I, Mary Ann.
Context: I am 73 years old. I have had a recurrence of UPSC after two years. I had another series of taxol and carboplatin, 6 infusions, three weeks apart. CT scans before the first and after the third and sixth. The nodules are on the base of my lungs and a little in the omentum. Nodules shrunk after the first three chemos and did not grow any more after the second three chemos. This doctor, who I see infrequently, about every 6 months, is a oncologist gyn/surgeon with a special interest in UPSC. He has written a number of papers on it. He did my hysterectomy but insurance wouldn't work out for him to do my chemo. So I have another oncologist, who just does chemo, who I really like. He is the one who was at my hospital bed an hour after my recurrence was diagnosed, and who makes me feel like I can live with this thing. Anyway, chemo doctor wanted to give me Topotecan once a week. Looking it up, it appears to me that this is something given to recurrence patients. (Chemo doctor said it wouldn't take out hair, but website and gyn doctor said it would.) Gyn doctor suggested the three more taxol-carboplatin infusions, got on the phone with chemo doctor who agreed. The theory is that they give the most potent drugs as long as they work. If they stop working, and they will, then they go to the next level of potentcy. Thus one can continue many years if lucky. So I'll probably get the Topotecan later on. I may have gotten a lesser dose of taxol/carboplatin in 2008-2009 than I did in 2006 because of my kidney problems. In any event, it was much easier, perhaps because I am retired now and could laze around on my bad days and read murder mysteries.
I like having two oncologists who previously didn't know each other, both having come to town recently. It's like having a constant second opinion, since there is a nagging, untrusting part of me.
Emotions: I'm bummed out about the hair. My peach fuzz has been so nice this week. First chemo, in 2006, my friend electrically clipped my hair to ¼ inch. I felt good, like I was going into a righteous war. Second chemo 2008, I decided to let it come out naturally, it was fun to pull out hand fulls. One woman in my chemo room told of freaking out her friends with this, “Want to see what I can do?”
My neighbor had just put her long, thick auburn hair into a French braid. Teasingly I asked if she could give me some hair. Several hours later she came to me, very seriously, and offered to cut off the hair and give it to me, how should she do it, in a braid or not. She said she could quickly grow some more. I said no, I do have a wig and I wouldn't know how to handle loose hair, but I was very touched that she would offer this. It had taken several years for it to grow.
I went to California Pacific Medical Center's women's health center. Picked out two new hats, the free hand knit ones from Knitters By The Bay, one fuzzy purple, the other patterned teal. Also paid for one soft cotton purple from “Hats with Heart.” I guess getting a new hat is still an excellent form of retail therapy.
May all you NEDs (no evidence of disease) find my information totally useless, now and forever.
Mary Ann on San Francisco Bay