Our meeting with Dr. W today was fine. Not encouraging, but fine. I don't know why I expected better news, but I think it's hard not to hope that the bad news you hear is somehow wrong; that they've somehow made a mistake. Basically, the cancer is still the same as prior to chemo. Possibly a little larger, but he said it was hard to tell. He was glad that it had not returned to my bowel or colon (because that was a large part of my initial surgery), and my chest and lungs are still clear (apparently, this is the next place the cancer would go). It does not change my stage of cancer (still 3c), and remission is still a possibility, but he said that it would be very tough to get there.
There are several more drugs that we can try, which is good, but unfortunately they each have a success rate of only 25%. It's a little too early to be considering clinical trials because hospitals who hold the trials like for the patients to have tried the more main-stream drugs first. They will be keeping a much closer eye on my blood levels and if they don't go up, we'll change drugs as opposed to sticking with it for a full 6 rounds.
We plan to contact another local cancer center with a good gynecological oncology department. It's a little hard for me to do this, because I feel as if I'm betraying Dr. W or implying that I don't trust him, but Becky assures me that it's a very normal thing to do. I don't expect better news from a different doctor, but I do agree that it's helpful to have a second doctor review my chart.
Honestly, we feel quite discouraged tonight. It is hard to digest news like this, and I find myself wondering how in the world we got to this point. It still seems so unreal. Prior to today, I felt like I had not let myself hope too much or plan too far in advance past the first 6 rounds of chemo, but it was clear to me as I broke down while the nurse accessed my port that I had, in fact, allowed myself to hope. I look at the blog post about my "last" chemo day on September 1, see the pictures, even the title of the post "Kill Cancer Day" and feel as if they are mocking me.
Physically, the chemo went well. It only takes about an hour, which is a huge improvement over 4-6 hours. I'll go two Tuesdays in a row, still have the Neulasta shot (which makes me feel almost worse than the chemo) then have a week off. I'm already feeling sick tonight, but in general this chemo drug should not be nearly as debilitating as the other. Dr. W says the best thing I can do is to get plenty of rest, exercise regularly (which was impossible with the other drug) and eat healthy. Oh, and take a multi-vitamin. Remember when your mom always made you take your vitamins? Apparently, she was right.
I really do covet your prayers. I know that I could not have stayed positive without your help over the last few months, and while I am not feeling much positivity tonight, I do believe that it will come back. I do believe that God is good, and that He has a plan even when that plan isn't easy or what I would have ever chosen.
And because we need to end this on a much lighter note, here are a few Rory-isms from her birthday.
"Mama, what is your favorite part about my birthday today?" This was at 7:25 a.m. She then turned to Camden and asked him. I cut him some slack and told him he didn't have to answer. So she asked Brian.
"Mama, you sound like a weally, weally nice witch." Honestly, I have no idea where this came from.
While browsing the little girl's section in Target today, she was a few steps away from me behind looking at another rack, and I hear. "Mama! This. Is. E.Dorable." She was holding a pair of plain grey knit leggings.
This whole E thing is new, but I noticed three different times today that she said a word that begins with A as an E. For example, E.dorable, Edults, and Essignments.
"I weally want to be a UPS man when I grow up. That would be so cool."
While I was in chemo, Brian picked her up from FWBBC (my workplace for many years, as well as my alma mater) where a few of my friends (thank you!) were watching her for us and took her to Starbucks. He had to be a little creative about the bathroom situation when she needed to use the potty, and naturally she wanted to just go by herself. He told her that she was too little, and we didn't want a stranger to grab her. She paused and said, "Yeah, I would really miss my kitties." But apparently not her family?
Pictures coming tomorrow of Rory's new hair accessory, our lunch date, and even a cool little doorway that Brian discovered.