Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Strike Three!

My blood counts were too low for chemo again yesterday, so that's it for this chemo combo. It looks like it's too toxic and I can't stay on it, so we have to change drugs again. Today, I'll start my fifth chemo regimen since January 2006. It looks like we're going with Liposomal Adriamycin.

I also had a chest X-ray and liver ultrasound. The radiologist and my oncologist both said there was no change from the last X-ray, but to my untrained eye, the lungs looked a tad worse.

The liver ultrasound showed seven tumors, three of them measuring more than three centimeters. My last liver ultrasound on February 25 showed five spots, only one of which was larger than three centimeters. This was evidence enough that the Gemcitabine + Cisplatin chemo wasn't working.

During the liver ultrasound, as I was lying on the examination slab, I felt four bumps on my chest: 1) a small one in the center of my sternum, about 3 millimeters wide, 2) a larger one (about one cm) toward the top of my sternum, near the spot where the skin cancer was after the core needle biopsy, 3) large one under right collarbone, about one or two cm, and 4) small one under left collarbone, less than one cm. This was the most alarming evidence of all. These tumors are getting so big, I can actually feel them. The large one near the skin lesion is so big, we can even see the bump on the skin's surface.

I got a G-CSF shot to boost my white blood cell count yesterday, so I should be okay to start my new chemo regime today. But first, I need to have an echocardiogram to see if my heart can take it. Some of these drugs I've been on are toxic to the heart.

I'm pretty sure my heart can take it, both literally and figuratively.


Anonymous said...

What can I say? Not sure my heart can take this hearing that the tumors are growing. Am really amazed by your strain of cancer - so stubborn, so virulent, so resilient. Kinda like you I suppose. So, fight on babes, you're fighting spirit inspires me to forge on ahead too. Strange things happen to all of us and I'm sure there's some good to all of this. In fact, I know there is.

Love you,
Sky's Mom

Leighbee said...


So saddened to hear yesterday wasn't a "great day". Hope that having your "Chemo buddy" with you helped to make it a "good day" in some respects? She is so special, just like you ..... two kindred spirits..........

Keep on fighting with that wonderful spirit of yours....

Love you always



Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Shin, your blog gives me some insight into what my mother must have went through. Her whole focus in life was my brother and I. I can now understand some of the pain in her eyes, when she would look at us.


Lena said...


You're very brave, and not alone. Many of us are with you, if not physically, in spirit for certain.

Please dont hesitate to reach out and ask for support when you need it, it's all around you.

Love to you, and family members ...


Anonymous said...

Shin, I know you will probably feel defeated in many ways, but your strong spirit will help you...thinking of you every minute and sending hugs, Angela, Colin, Joshua, & Jude x

Anonymous said...

Dear Shin
Keep fight, Yesterday was not a "GREAT DAY" but was a GREAT DAY to fight!!!,
Love Love Love Love you

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin
I have been reading your blog for a few weeks and often feel that I would like to write a comment - but feel my writing is inadequate compared to yours and the others on your blog! Tonight I feel compelled to write ...
We went to Church on Sunday (most unusual and not wanting to start the religious debate again)! I was feeling grumpy during the sermon at what the minister was saying (I am sure that is not supposed to happen?!) He did, however, say somthing that touched me, 'where there is breathe there is hope' You are an inspiration to us and we are thinking about you, please let us know if there is anything we can do for you? Our hearts are with you and your family - Kate and Family x

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,
I know you've had a rough day, today, yesterday and the last 2 and a half years. You have been an amazing inspiring spirit in all of this.

Helen, Caroline & I were out tonight and of course we talked about you. Our main topics about cancer were:

1) Have you had your breasts checked recently?
Helen - yes
Caroline - yes
Eira - 3 years ago, but u/s last year, does that count??
2) we talked about how we felt about your latest chemo not working so well
3) we talked about how the essence of you, Shin Na, will never leave us, whether you live or die. How if you get better on your latest chemo that we're going to take you out for a glass of champagne, no matter what, we all love you and are so pleased to know you.

Sometimes we leave places and we leave friends and family behind. we move thousands of miles away from them. Before mobile phones and email it was hard to communicate. I remember it well, waiting for the postman to deliver a letter which got sent 10 days before. We grow accustomed to loved ones not being around us on a day-to-day basis. Somehow, though, these people are part of our lives - even though we can't talk to them on the phone every day, or maybe we can't send them a sms or text because they don't use a mobile phone - it doesn't matter. The thoughts going between us are still there. Ingrained into our beings.

If you ever die, Shin (and right now I don't believe it's possible) you will always be a part of us. That part will never be dissolved.

You don't have to worry about leaving anything behind in our hearts. You already have.

Lots of love

Anonymous said...

"You can't out-run the train but you can run and, who knows, if you can keep running for long enough, someone might find a way of blowing up the train."

here's something i read on the web - quoting Terry Pratchett who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

do admire your running Shin..in any case the train comes for all of us. it's your dealing with it that brings out the indominable human spirit; without which nothing matters much

Mylinh said...

Strike 3 it might be, but not out dear Shin. Never out. Hang in there. Stay strong. Keep fighting. Keep trying. You have so,so many people behind you. Can you feel it? I am not going to get angry yet. So much money has been poured into cancer cure research and not one solution. We are cloning parts of the body and no cure for cancer?! There has got to be a breakthrough soon.
Hang in there Shin. We are all behind you.xx

Charlie said...

Hi Shin,

Its Matthew, even though (in this technologically saturated world) this will appear as coming from Charlie as he seems to be the one logged into gmail on the mac at the moment

We all think of you all - all of the time.

So what do I want to say. It's not a base ball game, you're not out yet.

The rules of this one are more complicated. When you leave us you will be leaving something huge behind.

If you had never had cancer, and lived to a ripe old age, then you would have just been like the rest of us.

However, your courage and your love for your family and your example has created a legacy that - if you had been luckier - would never have happened.

God moves in mysterious ways.

Everyone has to die sometime, and you are being taken from us far too soon... but you will leave an extraordinary legacy of hope and inspiration. Most of us will just be pushing up the daisies.

love you, and I'm going to miss you,




Josie might like Charlie's email address above

ks said...

Hang in there Shin. I'm also a cancer survivor, liver stage 3A, almost six years. There are people who live; there is hope. Stay strong.

Best Regards,

TeoES said...

I see you frequently at the NCC. I go there with my spouse for her appointments and treatments. The NCC is so different now. People are not so fearful and beset by gloom. To me you personify strength and independence. Question is, do we approach you or respect your privacy? We have made and encountered many friends there.

Shin said...


I think you must be mistaking me for someone else. I've only been to the NCC (National Cancer Centre) once, and that was over a year ago. I didn't go for treatment, but to participate in a support group for a documentary about the Pink Paddlers, a dragon boat team sponsored by the Breast Cancer Foundation.

But I love the idea that there's another lady like me walking around with a shiny bald head!

And if you ever DO see me around (most likely in a wheelchair), please DO come say hello. I would love to meet you.

Anonymous said...

U were great in offering your organs for research. Even though they may be rejected at least it's your thoughts that count. BTW I'm honing my numerology skills I would appreciate if ur husband could provide ur date of birth for my research. No other info needed. God bless and Rest In Peace.