I should have leant by now that one cannot predict anything as far as cancer is concerned. It is a real emotional roller coaster ride.
At the beginning of April things looked bad. My wife had been found unsuitable for treatment of her secondary liver cancer with SIR Spheres, tumor markers were rising, liver functions dropping, CT scan results dire, her liver swelling, she had increased abdominal pain, problems with constipation and her Oncologist was seemingly running out of ideas.
Grim indeed and I feared the worst. While outwardly I tried to stay positive, deep down I was anticipating that things could deteriorate quickly.
And then she started on her third treatment regime: Cetuximab, Folfiri and an injection of Neulasta (which costs $1000 a shot because it is not on the PBS) to lift her very low WCC. The Cetuximab (not Chemo, but a monoclonal antibody that is supposed to bind to the cancer cell receptors and stop them from dividing and growing) is on a one-week cycle, the Folfiri and Neulasta on a two-week cycle. To deal with the growing abdominal pain the strength of her oxycontin and endone tablets was increased.
The nursing staff administering the treatment and monitoring my wife’s condition were clearly concerned about the fluid retention and the pain levels and referred her to the Palliative Community Nurses.
Then suddenly this Monday, two weeks into treatment, the most recent blood results came in. Amazingly the tumor markers have fallen, liver function results have improved and my wife’s WCC is the highest I have seen it in 12 months (the Neulasta might be hellishly expensive, but it really seems to work).
Whether this is an aberration, the cancer following its ‘normal’ unpredictable path, or signs of genuine improvement I have no idea. The fluid retention and the pain have not improved so perhaps it is the cancer playing an enormous con trick on us all again.
Still it has to be good news, right?
I must admit that I find this emotional roller coaster that cancer suffers and their lived ones are on the hardest thing to take. It just doesn’t stop: up, down, up down, up. I feel like a yo-yo. AND THERE IS NOTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT IT AND IT IS NOT GOING TO STOP.
No, that is not true. It will stop. But that is even more awful to contemplate.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.