I’m baking and cooking, so I must be feeling better. Back from Denver – a mid-cycle visit. The reduced dose of afatinib and cetuximab seems to be doing the trick, or “threading the needle”, in cryptic oncspeak. I’ve gained another pound, woot!
Last week was spent in NorCal, getting a brain MRI, PET scan, mammogram, and seeing my oncologist. I was supposed to receive a Zometa infusion but my Colorado onc (Dr. Camidge) recommended I stop taking it. He said he only ever gives 6 doses then stops, as it stays in one’s bones for two years. If bone disease starts to progress, he may restart Zometa, but he had a patient who developed its worst side effect: Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) and he said it was “worse than having cancer”. Hard to imagine but I could see how a decaying jaw would make one just want to throw in the towel. Pain, can’t chew, no teeth…ugh. I’ve been on Zometa since May 2011 – nothing seems to be moving.
Good news – my brain is thus far clear, and the PET scan shows some activity but nothing new, so it’s “stable”. Dr. Camidge asserts that my tumor burden is so small that the tiny tumor in my right lung must be touching cough receptors, as it isn’t large enough to cause coughing. And indeed, my cough has decreased significantly in the last month, but hasn’t disappeared. Energy and appetite are up, side effects are less. Still suffer from paronychia and crusty eyes/nose, but the scalp seems to be healing. It would be nice to grow some hair.
I ran around quite a bit up north, hung with the sis and saw some folks, went to the De Young to catch the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibit, ate salumi at the Ferry Building, ate a ton of grilled oysters (a box of 70 for $40) and went to the farmers’ market for veggies and street food. That broke my heart and made me homesick for the Bay Area, not to mention the fine weather. Oh well, another life.
The weekend before that, my friend Jules treated me to Smokey Robinson at the Hollywood Bowl. Fantastic evening of music and Dinah’s fried chicken! So much fun. She gave me a bunch of succulents too, so I’m off to a good start collecting these gems. All I need are some specimens from Mom’s yard.
Most of the windows now have screens, a few English lavender plants are in the ground, there’s grass filling in (although I’m against growing grass in the desert, makes no sense), and my goal is to swim laps every day to develop the right lung and some butt muscles (lost due to cachexia). Amazing what one dreams up when one feels good.
It’s been a good month, and I’m very grateful. I hope I can hang in long enough to go to New Zealand. In the meantime, I’m baking fruit treats and watching the Summer Olympics ad nauseam. And continuing to work on the never-ending project of my Dad’s book.
I feel like I should be in London, watching the real thing, and I wonder what’s stopping me from going… ?