I find myself in a strange land. I don't recognize the landmarks and the travel is challenging. It's uncomfortable in the least, downright agonizing at the most. Every day has different vistas. All I know to be true for me in this place is that cancer is a whole lot easier than the treatment for cancer. I would venture to guess that many cancer victims would agree with me.
Two out of the past 3 weeks have been very tough. Two hard weeks separated by a week OFF the chemo drug while on vacation (I will get some pictures up soon). I almost did not GO on vacation, as another bowel obstruction and abdominal pain and joint pain from the drug had me feeling that I would just ruin the guys' week. But thanks to the prayers of many, the obstruction was taken care of (as late as the airport in Kansas City) and I had a week of feeling absolutely like the Mary of 19 months ago. Without chemo, life is GOOD!!
Returning home, I again started up the drug and have faced the same old side effects, only a new one has emerged.....joint pain and arthralgia (only 2% of people get it....and I would have to be one). Everything from the waist down aches. I told Dick it is like both legs have migraines. This is very hard for an avid walker, and makes sleeping tenuous. The oncology team has me on a new bowel management program, but I am pretty skeptical. The bottom line is, this drug completely shuts down peristalsis. If I mentioned here what I am ingesting to manage this, none of you would believe me.
The initial post-diagnosis round of chemo left me in a brain fog for a week, but then I would cycle out of that and feel good for three weeks. I had no pain or constipation. Many people do not do well on those drugs that I was taking. God protected my body so well that I came to feel that my system could tolerate any ol' cocktail they could muster up to kill cancer cells. HELLO. Not THIS drug!
This all begs the question of whether or not I choose to stay on this drug. Yes, I know that it is the best choice to attack my ALK mutation. Really, the only option. And yet, dealing with pain and constipation daily is getting very old very fast. We talked about it on vacation and decided as a family that if God wants me on this drug, I am going to have to tolerate it with some quality of life, or we will quit. We know that God does not need this drug to heal me. He may or may not be using it in His plan. My belief in healing is set, no matter what medical science can or cannot do for me. I would like to take the drug until my next PET scan and see what it is doing. However, the three of us are united in the decision to quit if I can't be the wife and mom I want to be.
If you know me well at all, you know that I am NOT a traveler. I hate flying, and crossing 2 time zones is about my limit. I have no wanderlust in me. I have no designs on coursing the continents with a camera and trying to speak new languages. (I guess that is why plunking myself down in my remote woods by the lake every summer speaks to my soul so much). So strange and unfamiliar lands do not sit well with me. And this phase of cancer is both. And while I completely trust that God is sovereign over yet another challenge in my life, I do not like this bus tour.