There’s no way anyone can understand how exhausting cancer and its treatments can be unless they’ve been through it. I’ve been fighting this beast for almost two years, and I’m tired. I’m tired of being poked and prodded. Tired of endless appointments and waiting rooms. Even tired of having my temperature and blood pressure taken.
So even though I was ready to put this latest PET scan behind me, I was feeling pretty grumpy when my alarm went off last Tuesday morning. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I was hungry by the time I got there (no food or drink before the test). And I knew the scan was going to be a two hour ordeal.
When I got there, the first thing they had to do was start an IV. I told them I had no veins left, but they said they couldn’t use my port. The first woman stuck me twice and missed, so she went and got someone else. He tried once and couldn’t hit a vein, either. So they took me upstairs to the IV lab. The guy up there stuck me twice and missed. By this time, I was covered in Band Aids and had tears running down my face. I was trying so hard not to cry because I didn’t want to make the nurses feel bad, but I couldn’t help it. The never-ending fatigue makes even minor issues seem overwhelming.
Finally, one of the nurses called the doctor who said they could use my port if they “flushed it real good.” Seriously? So they stuck me a sixth time to access my port. After that, they injected me with a dye and I had to sit in a room by myself for an hour while I became radioactive. Then they did the scan, which took about another 20 minutes.
When the nurse went to flush my port, I reminded him what the doctor had said about flushing the port. He said, “They always say that,” and just flushed it once and let me go home.
On Thursday, I went to see the oncologist. When he walked into the room, he had a look on his face that made me go from feeling confident to near panic mode. Then he said something about the possibility that we’re “now talking about a cure,” and I suddenly realized he was telling me my scan was clean. The liver tumors are gone, and I have no new visible tumors.
Hearing the results made me want to break out in song! Which I might have done if my vocal chords hadn’t been irreparably damaged by the radiation therapy. On the plus side, the chemo damaged my hearing, too, so I don’t have to listen to myself try. Funny how things work out that way.
But I digress. At least for now, I appear to be winning this battle! Sort of made my earlier whining seem more than a little silly. But before the doctor can declare me officially in remission, my sodium has to stay normal without any Samsca. Right now, I’m taking 15 mg every four days. I’m supposed to call the nephrologist on Thursday. He said if my sodium stays over 140, I may be able to go down to once a week. That seems odd to me. Why not just get off it all together and see what happens?
The oncologist also said since Keytruda hasn’t yet been studied in patients with small cell lung cancer, he has no idea how long I need to stay on the drug. Since Merck is footing the bill at least until the end of the year, I’m inclined to stay on it until then if the doctor will let me.
When I left the oncologist’s office, I went over to the hospital to get my blood drawn. My sodium was 139. I’ll call the nephrologist after this Thursday’s blood draw and see if he has any new instructions with regard to the Samsca.
Today’s my eighth Keytruda treatment, after which I’m going to the beach for lunch. Not bad for a Monday.
That’s about all I’ve got for now. Thanks for sharing my journey with me. Your prayers and support are much appreciated.