Oops! Back in Chemo Again

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When I texted one of my doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix that my digestive system, somewhere near where an endoscopic camera got stuck last year while I was in treatment at the Mayo, I was immediately set up for CT scans, blood tests and several physician consults.

Phoenix held true to its summertime promise of HOT. My weeklong stay had me dodging the 112 degrees from hotel, to car, to clinic, to car, to hotel all while I held on to the dream of optimistic CT scans.

The thing is, carcinoma sarcomas don’t work that way.  “We’re baaaack” — not that the tumors ever left, they were just reduced by the paclitaxel and carboplatin chemotherapy administered to me from November through February.  The best part of the tumor reduction was the main bad boy tumor’s pressure was off my jejunum, the part of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum. That meant that I could enjoy chewing food again.

But by this June, the bad boy tumor (along with the others) grew back from its reduced 6 cm to 8 cm. In other words, my continued digestive discomfort was not from a stuck camera capsule. Actually, the CT scan showed that the capsule had left my system.

The gastroenterologist ordered a liquid diet for me, and my oncologist, who greeted me with, “Sorry, the vacation is over,” ordered another round of chemo, this time Doxil. I start infusions tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the hospital in Santa Fe announced its networking with the Mayo Clinic, our house in Santa Fe didn’t sell and we took it off the market, and I have family in Santa Fe. It made sense to pull up reins and move back to the City Different. We sold the beach house in three days, and this meant we had to kick our horsepower up to speed. I mean, chemo must begin STAT and moving back into a house we left 11 years ago, would be a challenge. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, but the people in our Santa Fe house, “home tenders,” made our move even more challenging in that they refused to cooperate and move along so that I could be in my own home and done with moving before chemo begins.  Such is life. Not everyone is a nice person.

So I’m a Santa Fe local again, and glad for it, even if my cat and I are dwelling in my daughter’s apartment above the garage–it’s not bad digs, but, I sure wish I was in my own house for very obvious reasons.

Oh how I crave a cheesy, green chili smothered breakfast burrito. But no go. Fortunately, the medical team here in Santa Fe are progressive and have given me good tips about how to work this liquid diet without copious amounts of Ensure and canned creamed soups. Peanut butter and banana smoothies are like heaven. The photo above is my mid-morning treat of fresh watermelon in cranberry juice. That’s more my style than sugary and gooey pre-packaged liquid meals. While I write, I’m boiling down some organic spinach, carrots and parsley, which I’ll transfer that broth into a chicken bone broth.

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About Doxil. Doxil is used to treat AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other solid tumors. It’s meant to kill sarcomas. I’m good with that. Yes, I’ll expect a bout of side effects, none of which, I’ll go into detail here. Unfortunately, because we’re unsure exactly how it will effect me the first week after infusion, it laid to rest our 4th of July plans to have a family fun time in the Colorado mountains.  My  reaction to my first chemo infusion last November was a doozy and kept me in bed for three days and sent me to the ER for a high fever.  I don’t want to repeat that in small town Colorado.

How do I feel about all this? I’m glad how this treatment has set up. I mean, it was as if this was the plan all along. We thought we would be forced to move to the Phoenix area. Phoenix is not a bad place, and I loved the homes we considered purchasing. Yet, I grew up in the hot Mojave Desert and I couldn’t wait to escape the summer heat.

Anyway, I fully understand that uterine carcinosarcoma (UCS) has no cure — yet. The oncologists keep my spirits up with the philosophy that they will treat this cancer to keep it in control and maybe something new will come along. Maybe.

Life is a journey and I have learned that I’m not always in control of this adventure. Sometimes it’s like a roller coaster that’s out of control. It leaves me no choice but to fasten my seal belt and hope for a soft landing.

Do you wish to donate to the cause of helping find a cure for UCS?  Please visit the Gynecological Carcinosarcoma Project (GCS Project) for more information on how you can help.  GCSproject.org

 

 

 

 

 

5 replies »

  1. When you can, please-please-please compile your blog posts into a book. This latest one is the best yet. You’re getting more and more down to the marrow of life in every way, Charmaine. I’m glad you don’t have a camera stuck in your intestine. But that tumor is unwelcome. We’ll harness every power of heaven and earth to send it on its way. My part will be to donate to USC and to pray and to send love.

  2. Char, knowing you’re a fighter in every sense of this life interrupted, I’m sorry to read that you aren’t able to move back into your “home.” Yet I read your posts and understand that along with chemo (again) you’re a survivor beyond expectations that anyone reading your posts knows you will and can make the best of the moment. I pray this chemo journey is short and you feel all the positivity and love from us looking in…………hugs and kisses. Teri

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