Friday, January 23, 2009

The pills, the pills....

Isn't it interesting how, if you speak to the right person, suddenly things are possible.....
I saw the Princess Oncologist last week for the results of the last CT scan. Bit odd. There are a couple of new nodes in the lung; but one is 1 millimetre and the other is 2 millimetres. So she was implying that she wasn't 100% sure they were *really* there?! But even if they are then they're so small that she wouldn't consider changing the treatment regime. My bones are mostly showing up as sclerotic (I think that's how you spell it) - which basically means bone scar-tissue. I think this is a good thing. I'm not sure.
So - sticking with the aromastase inhibitors - but she did agree to swop me onto Exemestane instead of Arimidex - a very small minority of people with Arimidex pain will do better on this. I'm hoping to be one of them.
Also - better pain killers *can* be had! Diclofenac and Co-Drydamol are the order of the day. I'm not thrilled. Diclofenac has upset my stomach when I had in the past and, well, Co-Drydamol is just codeine in another form. But, as ever, I refuse to be a model patient and just take my drugs. I have, of course, been playing with them already to see what the minimum I can get away with is. And because the Princess Oncologist has apparently met me before she has set a Macmillan nurse on me to supervise. Well, she asked if I'd agree to that - which I did. Surprisingly. I was in pain on the day. I'm surprised I didn't just panic and refuse because I associate Macmillan with the whole Palliative (no-hope) scene which I'm not ready for yet. Well, I'll never be ready for it. How can you be?
However, the Macmillan nurse and I are playing phone-tag at the moment so I'll probably have it all sussed out by the time we actually manage to get in contact with each other at the same time.
So, all that useless rabbiting by the useless breastcare nurse was rubbish.
So, people keep telling me this is good news. I, don't feel like that, so much. There may or may not be progression - the progression could have occured while we were waiting for the Arimidex to build up to beneficial levels in my body - takes at least six weeks. I just, I don't know, I just don't feel that confident. Or celebratory.


lyon23girl said...

I can just imagine how difficult it is to be celebratory after going through all that you've been through. From what you say about your scan results, it's seems to be more positive than negative and that's definitely a good thing. I 'm wondering if you've ever considered other approaches which are not chemical ?. I'm not a big health guru or believer in positive thinking banishes cancer type of thing, but this may be of interest to you anyway.

I met a couple of people who had cancer (metastatic) and who had gone into spontaneous remission without chemo. Not to say that chemo must be discontinued of course, just that they had stopped it for whatever reasons at the time. The first one was a French lecturer of mine at uni. I don’t remember the type of cancer she had (I think it was breast cancer) but what always struck me was that her very long hair was prematurely grey and this didn't seems to add up with her unlined face. During a French tutorial once, she decided to tell us about her experience with cancer. She went on for about two hours and basically the gist if it was; that she went onto this very special diet of only pure and natural products (raw veggies and basically nothing else, it sounded really gross..) and she claims that this rigid regiment “ detoxified /cured” her and shrunk her tumors to nothing and that her own doctor was astounded. I don’t know what really cured her, but she was definitely in remission and the only thing that remained of her cancer experience was her prematurely grey hair. I'm still very skeptical, but she had been cancer free for a couple of years with no chemo, so it was strange to say the least.

Another memory I had of was of attending a lecture by a famous neurosurgeon who was very much into the whole idea of psychoneuroimmunology. He explained that thought processes are linked to neurobiological processes and that in many ways a thought was like an action because it had the potential to trigger a whole host of biological and immunological responses in one’s body. He believed that “positive thoughts” could have positive repercussions on certain biological processes and vice versa for negative thoughts. He then introduced us to 2 of his patients for whom surgery and chemo had no longer been an option because their cancers were too advanced and they were basically told, you have about six weeks to live. More than year later both of them were there to testify. One of the women (a journalist) explained that she had stopped all chemotherapy and was in remission with three of the metastases having shrunk to basically nothing. Before and after X-rays were shown to us and it was quite extraordinary to see the difference in the size of the tumours. It was a strange experience and I still don't know what to make of it, but her she claimed that she was still alive because of a neurosurgeon who had offered to work with her and her thinking processes as opposed to performing surgery because he knew that surgery in her case wasn't an option.

I never forgot this and it must have been about 12 years ago, so I thought I'd share it with you. Although I studied psychology, I still have a very scientific approach to things so I always take anything I hear with a pinch of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism. I do however think that our bodies are in many ways stronger than we are aware of and that there are so many biological processes that we still have so little comprehension of, so it’s always worth looking into.

Sorry for this really long entry BTW. :P

Anonymous said...

This is another of those 'really don't know what to say' posts. But I'm thinking of you, and sending you lots of hugs from Essex.

L xx

Anonymous said...

Always in my prayers!....Hugs,Karen

Sweet Camden Lass said...

Ah, but Co-Dydramol is bloody wonderful imho.

Will organise supply of licorice allsorts to offset the bunged-up-ness, though.

Glad that you got to see the Princess Oncologist :-) Do hope the Exemestane does the trick.


Dorothy said...

I think of you often and especially when I'm looking at your gift....I'll be praying and it does sound more positive then negative. I've taken Arimidex for four years now with no reactions thank goodness. I had a scan and didn't show signs of bone deterioration.

I hope your strong and that your family and friends are by your side as mine are..

Dorothy from grammology

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