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If you were me

lovemyhubby
Posts: 24
Joined: Jan 2018

Hi. I really need to rely on all of you and the immense knowledge you possess. My body just can’t handle cancer treatments. Hysterectomy last May, diagnosed stage 3c, grade 1. Began chemo early July. Total of 6 weeks delays due to significant neutropenia and low platelet counts which resulted in 3 hospitalizations. Dosage was reduced for last 4 cycles. Waited over 3 months to start radiation as blood levels needed that time to recover. Met with RO, (he is director of our cancer center), twice prior to starting radiation and expressed my fear of radiation affecting my levels. He tells me he is staying away from areas producing most of the bone marrow and therefore my platelets will not be affected. I noticed bruising after my 8th of 11total treatments and asked for a CBC. Last Tuesday platelet count was 54. He suspended treatment for a week thinking my platelet counts would recover quickly. Today they are down to 43. I meet with him tomorrow. I want answers and a good game plan. All the research I have read indicates interruptions in treatment for at least two weeks significantly lowers effectiveness. So why continue? I have tried so hard to be upbeat and positive. Hard to feel this way now. So, if you were me? 

bluesmama
Posts: 123
Joined: Aug 2014

Listen. I know this is hard for you. Most of us can relate. Chemo is very hard on the body and its effects can last months. Not everyone reacts well to chemo. But you got through it and you should be proud of that. Radiation (for me) was a lot tougher especially since I had it combined with cisplatin. Hit me like a truck and I still think a year later I'm dealing with long term effects from radiation. And the doctors thought I breezed by it! They kept tellng me my numbers were great and I weathered through the entire course of brutal surgery, radiation and chemo like a champ. But, I didn't feel great. I got so used to not feeling great that when I began to feel better I thought I was back to normal. A year later, I can't imagine how I got so used to feeling so lousy for so long. My body was unrecognizable to me. My WBC was nearly zero by the end of chemo. So don't beat yourself up too much. You have a few more treatments to go. The effects of radiation are like a really bad sunburn that lasts for 6+ months. Your body will still be cooking and the entire course is cumulative. Take the research materials as a grain of salt. You are a statistic of one. All the research in the world cannot predict your outcome. And you have a right to be upbeat and positive. 

lovemyhubby
Posts: 24
Joined: Jan 2018

Thank you bluesmama for your kind support. I know how strong we all have to be. But it s so hard some days. I just don’t know if finishing radiation at this point would be beneficial. If I stop now after 11 maybe I can have radiation at a later point. Would you continue with radiation knowing it is unlikely to be without additional interruptions and therefore less effective? Or would you postpone radiation and leave it as a possible option if a recurrence occurs. Oh, this beast! 

bluesmama
Posts: 123
Joined: Aug 2014

I'm not a doctor but I also had a grade 1 cancer. It's slow growing. So you have that going for you. Originally, I was Stage 1A then a recurrence that spread from my ovary and got stuck on my colon. So I went from highly curable to not so curable. Surgery is always the single most influential factor in prognosis and outcome. Radiation was my best bet to clean up after surgery. Chemo was just adding the kitchen sink.

As to whether you should continue, I can't answer that for you. But I would say that after this experience, I'm much more self-aware than ever and it's changed how I evaluate where I am emotionally profoundly and how it influences my decision-making. Only you know what's right. You can do this.

Donna Faye's picture
Donna Faye
Posts: 182
Joined: Jan 2017

Lovemyhubby, don't know your age, but I am 78 and you can read my new thead. After 2017 being all about cancer, I was so looking forward to 2018 only to have a recurrance and now back with radiation and cisplatin. I questioned having more treatment, but the doctors could not accept that I did not want to give treatment a go and they promised to abide by my decision if I said STOP in the middle of it all. I am in pretty good shape for my age as have been a horsewoman all my life. So, I am now right in the middle of my 25 radiation and 3 cisplatin. So far I am holding my own but it is getting harder. I have accepted my options and decided to go for it AGAIN ( BC 21 years ago). Try and find your center - what is important to you and how you want to go forward. It is not an easy road, but it can open suddenly and be better. Take it from an old warrior, I was so ready to fight 21 years ago that I welcomed the chemo, radiation and yes, even the tomoxifin. It gave me the time I needed to see all my children in good places - to meet my wonderful 6 grandchildren and to have travels to places I had only dreamed of. Hang in there. Best...

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