Thursday, May 15, 2008

Well . . . I’m Still Alive . . .

Yeah. So that wasn’t the joyful, “you’re free, it was all weird non-stuff” meeting we might have wished.

Turns out I can’t breathe all that well because my lungs are operating at, oh, probably about 50% capacity. The rest seems to be cancer. I would say that this is a situation where “half-empty” is the optimist’s choice.

Also, I now have numerous spots of uptake on my bones, including several in my ribs, and several vertebrae. Also my pelvis, both sides. Although the pelvis could be related to riding injuries.

Also, I seem to have a mass (felt by my acupuncturist the other day, although not by me) on my left ovary.

The good things are that my organs are functioning well, I have no pain (abdominal, lung, or bone, or really anywhere else although those are the biggies), and, as I think I said earlier, I look fabulous. Also, my neurological tests—“Walk on your toes, walk on your heels, follow my fingers with your eyes, push against my pressure,” etc etc, were all normal.

However, I do still need to get a brain MRI and see the state of my brain. It feels just normally loopy right now, but there are things I don’t know.

The brain MRI is important because if there’s been metastasis there as well, my treatment protocol will be different, and will include—get this—brain surgery. Yes, the gamma knife, a little radiation tool, would be the thing, operated by none other than Jason Rockhill, MD PhD, the son of my dear friends K&A in Idaho with the horses and the beautiful land.

As it is, if the brain MRI is normal, Dr Specht has recommended a rehash of what I had in 2001, the summer Ian and I got married. I’ll see if I can remember it all: Herceptin, Zoladex, Femara, Taxol, Navelbine, Pamidronate, Neupogen, Epogen. I think that’s it. I will lose all my hair again. And I mean all. I will have a port reinstalled next week, and start treatments the same day, pending the MRI. I am going to go back to several months of a weekly tie to an infusion room. And I don’t mean tea.

What is my prognosis now? Well, if I chose to do nothing, I would maybe be around until the end of the summer. Dr. Specht was pretty sure that, if I were 20 years older, I already wouldn’t be around, considering the spread of the disease. But I am young, and I am healthy. Also, if these chemicals don’t work, there are others to try. We are starting with these because it’s been seven years since my body was exposed to most of them and they worked so well, and so quickly, the last time. We are hoping for a repeat performance. Dr Specht will probably recommend Herceptin for the rest of my life . . . but that’s going to be a long time, and I’m not really prepared to deal with the idea of that right now.

How is this the moderate choice? I don’t know, really. I do intend to keep seeing the people I see, and keep up my arsenal of whole body health practitioners. But I also recognize that there are valuable contributions an oncologist can make to my health. I read once of a woman, an MD and spiritual healer, who was asked “How do you feel about medications, when they’re so unnatural?” and she said “God was in the lab when the researcher created those medications. They are as much a part of God as anything else in nature.”

And so, I am going to incorporate all parts of the Universe into my whole-body care. Starting now.


Erik said...

when next week for the brain MRI?

Eric Wilinski said...

Sending you big love from SF...

Hilary said...

As always Calin, your strength is such a powerful force. Thank you for keeping those of us who care for you so informed.

Laura said...

Hi Calin,

I love the last two sentences and I'm thrilled that you are going to try to be around past the summer. I like knowing you are around :)

Love, matching sock Laura :)

Jen Miles said...

Not a day goes by,
that I don't wish you know how much I love you.
Not a day goes by,
that I don't wish better for you.
My love is like a river it is like a fountain it is flowing for you.
No matter how long it has been since we spoke or have seen each other. My love has kept on growing for you.
I hope you can see I love you.
I know we are bound for a higher life,
where we won't bare anymore strife.
Yet, in the still of this life;
not a day goes by,
that I'm not praying for you,
and still loving you.
Love Cousin Jen

Rich Young said...

Your mom forwarded the link to your blog to me, Calin. Your strength and determination remind me of Seth. Like him, you refuse to sit back and take it; instead, you fight with every fiber of your being. You're in my prayers.

Adam English said...

Calin - I'm so sorry to hear of this, but I'm upbeat that you will again emerge triumphant; your blog is potent! You and yours are in our thoughts.

Sassy Glasses Girl said...

You are a brilliant writer--as I suspect you know. And a brilliant human. You made me laugh and cry nearly all in one breath. (And, yes, you do look fabulous. Always.)