Monday I went into Seattle Cancer Care at 7 am for blood work and 8 am to meet with Dr. Martins. He recommended going ahead with the Gemzar and I agreed. So, I was back at SCCA at 3:30 for the infusion, which lasted about an hour and a half. I was given steroids to help my body accept the Gemzar (as had been done with earlier chemotherapy drugs) and it powered me along nicely for two days, but today things crashed big time. I'm not sure if it's the reaction to tapering from the steroids or catching a cold (which is again a possibility since this type of treatment causes the blood cells to diminish), but I spent the day at home, mainly sleeping.
I have a new growth near the lymph node on my left neck where a prior metastatic node was taken out back in 2010--it's probably a malignant regrowth. If the chemo doesn't decrease the size, we'll look at radiation. It's painful and makes it difficult to wear a seat belt in the car because of its position. I also have several other growths on my head and on my back. The ones on my head are small, hard and painful to the touch. The one on my back doesn't have any sensation to it. This is a strange place to be, patrolling my body for unexplained bumps. I'd much prefer to be utterly clueless about it all.
A friend from work put me in touch with a cousin of hers who is in pharmaceutical research back east and she explained that the clinical trial that I participated in was a phase I trial, where they are still trying to establish the dosage to be used in treatment, so a petition for compassionate use would not be in order at this point.
Still, I have beaten the odds. Sunday marks the date I was informed I had cancer back in 2009. I plan to celebrate by participating in another dachshund walk at Greenlake. You are welcome to join me!