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So much for surgery

Posts: 28
Joined: Sep 2010

A month or so ago I posted that my doc mentioned surgery, I was stunned. I've been trucking right along since being diagnosed Stage IV September 14, 2010. Basically living like someone with a chronic disease. CEA dropped to 4 within a month of starting chemo, tumors have been shrinking regularly (started with liver 75% full, and 2 spots on the lungs that doc didn't think was cancer). Had a CT in November, doc said looked good, still shrinking. Had another scan yesterday...brick wall...100 MPH. CEA has gone up, and the tumors show growth. He specifically said "not significant growth, but growth." Want to change my cocktail, putting me on Irinotecan. From what I've read, it doesn't sound pleasant. Guess I can only prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.

Can I just vent a little here. Most people never face their own mortality, for me this is the second time. At 23 I was hit by a drunk driver, broadsided me on the drivers side. Crushed my entire torso, literally snapped off every rib, collapsed my lungs, everything crushing my heart, yada, yada. They told me living or dying was my choice, there wasn't much they could do. They were all completely stunned when I walked out of the hospital only 12 days later under my own power. The irony here is that I'm not a drinker, have never drank, not even one drop of alcohol in my entire life. I've played the game with Mr. Reaper once and won. Maybe I pissed him off and that's why he's back.

As I said was diagnosed in September 2010, in January 2011 (only 4 months later) some idiot texting while driving ran a red light and broadsided my car. $10,000 in damage.

Come on. Really?! Cancer wasn't enough. Go play someone else for a while.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

That's a rough car crash, Dawn...I've been involved but not hurt to anywhere that degree.

The old life saying that "Life's Not Fair" certainly holds true.

This life seems to be on which side of the fence you are on at any given moment of our lives...sometimes we're the windshield - sometimes we're the bug.

I've looked at mortality in other ways besides cancer as well...one evening we were visited by an F-3 tornado that come roaring into our lives and played pin ball with 100 or so homes and many more lives.

It all happened so quick and without warning (sirens never went off) that there was no time to think. We were huddled in the laundry room and my thougts were "So this is how it's going to end?"

I waited for the movie to start up that would show the good and bad highlights of my life...you know how they tell you that your life flashes before your very eyes?

Didn't happen......it was just 200 mph winds and WHAMMO!

We were just trapped and helpless...just waiting to die.

So, I got a taste of death and I cheated death...due to the time of the storm around 7pm most of us were fixing dinner and so we had a chance even without the sirens...but it could just as easily have gone the other way.

With cancer, I've had it now 3x - and in each occasion, I've looked at my mortality and wondered if I would make it through.

Should the 4th catch me, I will know that I can run, but will not be able to hide...but that's still for another day.

Speaking of the Grim Reaper....I actually met him in the hospital after liver surgery....and I mean really saw him in my room...he looked as advertised and it was creepy....I write about him in my book but I've got to save something for folks to read about.

But it was eerily creepy...

GR has knocked on my door many times - best thing to do? Don't answer the door.

I hope things settle down for you. The move to Irinotecan should be a help...it is a rough drug, much different than Folfox...I actually prefer the fox having done them both.

Fatigue, nausea, diarrhea are all common...it really sapped me...I was sick 12 of 15 days each cycle....the other days a little better, but not marginally.

Of course, I had a big lung surgery...30 hits of radiation to the lung w/5fu during those 30...and then we cranked the Irinotecan back up for 12 more of those....and I was just sick. Stretched my endurance and took me to the edge...and over.

I kept hanging on to the finish, but had I needed to continue...don't know how much more I could have taken....overall about 51x chemo.

Remember what Forrest Gump's mother used to tell us?

"Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know whatcha' gonna' get."

It's good to get things out of your system and out of your mind for awhile...hoping your vent will make you feel a little bit better. Continued best wishes.

Take care, Dawn


Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Crap!!! Vent away, you have every right to!!! I was on Folfiri for 10 months, I managed to work through it, I hated having the take home bottle for 48 hours....but managed it. I really didn't get much nausia, the first treatment eating dinner I felt sick, went to the sink, sat down and finished dinner. Make sure you take the premeds!!! I also got atropine shot during infusion, that helps with your tummy and other things as well, if you can get it ask for it. Fatigue around month 10 was starting to get to me. All the best and let us know how it's going.

idlehunters's picture
Posts: 1792
Joined: Apr 2009

I agree...vent away!! You certainly have the right. I can say I am on my 3rd round with cancer too but I don't believe it ever "really" went away. It settles down for a minute and then rears its head again. Thats why when they say I am NED I just consider it a "vacation"..a "break" ..from cancer for a while. And I welcome it with open arms...look forward to it..need it.

I too was on Folfiri and its an ugly drug but manageable..tolerable. At least it was for me. I've never done Folfox so I cannot compare. I am on Vectibix now and its different than those chemos. Not sure yet if its successful for me either. Jury till out on that. I think Folfiri is a very successful chemo and you will do good on it. When I started on it I had 4 mets in liver and close to 20 spread all over my lungs. Folfiri wiped them ALL out. So you see.... you may be right around the corner from that surgery after all..... thats IF you even need it.

Hangin with ya girl!


Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

Good grief, Dawn.....what a lot of crap you've been thru. Sorry. Go ahead and vent away.
Irinotecan hasn't been bad for me (just oxaliplatin). The pre-meds helped and the bolus of Atropine helped diffuse the abdominal cramping. I didn't have fatigue (at least, not yet). After surgery next week, I will probably go back on it. I thought I was going to have diarrhea (did after the first time), but then that all went back to normal. Weird..... and I was eating a lot of fiber. I would have been able to work if I had a job that allowed me to be off from work that much for appointments and infusions. Oh well, I used that time to do a lot of walking which didn't hurt.
I hope you do well. Let us know.

steveandnat's picture
Posts: 887
Joined: Sep 2011

Isn't it weird how some people have to go through much in life. I to have been so close a few times. Once in a horrible car accident where I went through the windshield because some dumb sob stopped dead on the highway right in front of me with no warning. So manybe we have to tested and see what we are made of. We'll show em.

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