Monday, January 7, 2008

New Round of Chemo

I haven't been able to post new entries on my Blog since December 14 due to problems with the mac.com site so I've forgotten much of what I wanted to say for the past several weeks. Here's a quick recap of what's been going on:

We went back home to the U.S. to see our families for Christmas on December 17 and just got back to Singapore on January 3. Hours after our return, I went in for my weekly chemo.

I went back on chemo just before we left for our holiday because of the chest pains I'd been having. We (doctor and I) guessed that the pains were caused by tumors that were growing back, despite the fact that I had just finished a round of chemo at the end of November. The conclusion was that this is a very aggressive cancer and the tumors start growing back as soon as I go off chemo. So now I have to stay on chemo continuously, without a break. My schedule is chemo every week for three weeks, then one week off so that my white blood cells can recover, then three more weeks, one week of recovery, and so on.

While we were in the U.S., I had two doses of chemo orally. Very convenient to take pills instead of being hooked up to an IV drip. So why don't I do pills instead of IV every week? ONE, because I need to have Herceptin by IV anyway (I got a three week's dose just before leaving for the U.S., but normally need to have it once a week), and TWO, because the oral Navelbine costs twice as much. So drip it is.

While in the U.S., I saw an oncologist to get yet another opinion about my cancer. She agreed with the course of treatment I was getting. She also agreed that this was a particularly aggressive cancer, but unlike my own oncologist here in Singapore, this U.S. doctor said she'd seen other cases of cancer coming back so quickly and tumors growing back immediately after chemo ended. So that's some consolation. At least there are precedents and I'm not some freak of nature that doctors don't know how to handle.

Just before leaving for our holiday, I went to see my surgeon -- the one who did the second operation when I had the mysterious bleeding in the chest back in May 2006. He told me "this is now a very grave situation". Why couldn't he have said "serious" instead of "grave"? I wish I'd asked him how long he thought I had left. I didn't want to know the answer to that question before, but now that it seems the cancer's getting worse, I wish I had some idea of just how quickly I should start preparing for THE END. I didn't ask my oncologist how long she thought I had either, but she said she wouldn't tell me anyway because "it's in God's hands". I wonder if that's doctor-speak for "this is a hopeless case"? I hope not. See there? I have hope. I'm not a hopeless case.

6 comments:

Shin said...

This is Shin testing the "comment" function to see how it works.

Anonymous said...

This is Shin testing the "comment" function to see how it works.

Tony said...

i like the new format - it looks quite professional

Jen Kim said...

Thanks for posting Shin! I like blogspot much better than the Mac site.

I'm sorry to have missed you and family while you were here. I wish my mom and I could have come up at least. I'll see you soon though.

I'm sorry to hear about the recurrence and the nature of it. You're a fighter though and I'm hopeful. I'm praying for you.

Love, Jenny

Anonymous said...

Welcome Back!
Missed your blogs.

Teresa

Lisa said...

Welcome back Shin!

I missed your posts. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Lisa