I know the last time I posted about my situation; I didn't leave you with very much information. Unfortunately, the way things have been going, I haven't been given the opportunity to update you until now. As you can see by the title of this post, I've warned you that the news won't be great :o(
On October 26, I met with my Oncologist. Since cancer cells were showing up in my lymph nodes and radiation would only treat specific locations and not the whole body, it was decided that Chemo was my next step. After a quick debate, I went with the oral form. I would take pills every day for two weeks straight and then take one week off. That would be considered 'a cycle'. At that time, we didn't know how many cycles I would be looking at.
So, that Monday, I started swallowing ten pills a day (on top of my others!) but then that same night I found myself going to the ER with an extreme pain in my right side :o( The doctors felt that I had backed up bowels (because of the narcotics I'm on) and sent me home with a prescription. Less than 8 hours later, I was back again with the same pain. Needless to say, I was not feeling very 'human' like on Halloween and missed seeing Junior and the children coming to the door.
During all this, I ended up stopping my Chemo for almost four days, not knowing what the real cause of the pain was and because I wasn't eating or drinking very much. By Sunday, I had had enough (the pain was still there) so it was off to the ER again, knowing that my doctor was on call :o) He thought we 'might' be looking at a kidney stone but he wasn't 100% sure so he ordered another CAT scan and luckily I got in on Wednesday afternoon.
A quick side note...because I'm given a drug called Pamidronate every four weeks, they have to monitor the creatinine levels in my kidneys through blood work. Too high a level can cause kidney damage. I was due my Pamidronate on Thursday so had my usual blood work but it showed my creatinine levels were high. After another repeat test and the levels being even higher, my treatment was cancelled and I was told to stop my Chemo altogether. By this time, I was just short of getting a full week in of Chemo when I should have been almost done a full cycle.
Anyway, when I got home Wednesday night I was NOT prepared for what awaited me when I came in the house :o( From the time my scan was done to the time I got home, DH had heard from my doctor and my Oncologist. The scan showed that a mass was blocking the tube that goes from my right kidney to my bladder and it was not a kidney stone. To add insult to injury, they found another mass on my left side :o( I can't even begin to tell you how defeated I felt at that moment. All I could see were years of my son's life being missed because I was gone. I had a MUCH needed emotional breakdown.
Are you still with me? LOL! The following day we found ourselves at the QEII in Halifax where Dr. B. placed a foot long (at least!) stint in the blocked tube. It was just day surgery but I was put under. Talk about a HUGE relief when I woke up though! Without the pain, I felt like a new woman :o) Depending on what happens with the mass, the stint will either be replaced or taken out in 2-3 months.
So that brings me back to those 'masses'. After talking to my Oncologist, this is what I know...a 'mass' doesn't necessarily mean a 'tumour'. It could be an enlarged lymph node BUT it could still be a tumour. Seeing as I had enlarged lymph nodes in that area back in June, we're hoping that's what they are but the only way to tell the difference is through a biopsy and they're not going to do that.
The action plan now is to repeat my blood work today (hoping the creatinine levels are down now that my kidneys are back in proper working condition) and if everything looks good, I will re-start my Chemo like it was a new cycle. It looks like it will take at least 2-3 cycles to determine if it is taking effect or not. That will be the hard part...waiting. My Oncologist still sounds very positive so that in turn has lifted my spirits enough to continue on this journey.
This journey, yes, that's what it is. Something I thought would only take over my life for a few months has lasted much longer. It's worse than an unwanted guest overstaying his welcome ;o) But as DH says, we'll have to look at it like it is a journey and we'll do it together as a family. My family, my friends and even people I don't even know have been there for me and I can't ask for more. Despite my situation, I am VERY fortunate. I have a devoted (and perfect) husband, a son who is a miracle joy, caring and thoughtful friends and a solid family wall of love and support behind me. THOSE are the 'things' I need to focus on when the road gets rough and there is no journey without rough terrain.
I know a lot of you have sent me things by mail or by email and I'm ashamed of my backlog. I have been keeping up with my Thank You notes so expect something in the mail if you sent me something and have not had a confirmation by email. Unfortunately emails have been put on the back shelf for now but I AM reading them all and appreciate all your wonderful notes and comments! So far I have responded to all comments on my Blog but for this once, if you left a comment before this post and don't require me to respond, I won't. I'd really love to clean up my inbox and that will certainly help. LOL! It doesn't mean that your comments mean any less to me! I hope you understand. Thank you :o) Let's see how life gets on now...