Sunday, April 27, 2008

One More Round

I've decided to try a new chemo combo: Liposomal Adriamycin + Herceptin + Tykerb. This is an unproven combination in clinical trial now in the U.S., but results won't be out for another three years. My doctor says I don't have that kind of time. So since we've run out of other options, I've decided to give this one a try.

[Correction: This new chemo combo is NOT in clinical trial after all. I got confused with something else. So I'm on my own with this one.]

Here's what I think I should be feeling and thinking: This really stinks. I'm down to the bottom of the barrel in terms of medical options. We've tried everything and these cancer cells keep coming at me. My body's tired, my mind is tired, and I don't know whether I'll be around for Toby's third birthday in July.

I just don't know why, but I'm not feeling this despair. If I were religious, I'd say it was God. One of the pain medications I'm on lists euphoria as a side effect. Maybe that's it. Physically, I'm feeling much better with the recent changes in pain medications, so maybe that's why it's easy for me to be so positive.

But I'm going to take some of the credit and say it's me. I've always prided myself on my intelligence and willpower. Nothing could get me more angry than the thought that I couldn't control myself and my world with the sheer force of my smarts and will. If I can't control this cancer, then at least I can control how I deal with it. I refuse to turn into a basket case of sorrow and pity. That would only paralyze me before the cancer got a chance. Cancer is going to get me eventually. I'm not going to help it by lying down and waiting for it.

So I'm feeling good about my decision. I'll have my next chemo on Monday. That'll be followed by more side effects and I'll probably be back to boneless chicken phase. I'm ready.


Anonymous said...

Dearest Shin,

A friend asked me to read this book named " The Secret" and wow, I was really amazed. We can really control our thoughts and can have so much will power!! I was 'practising'it and never knew I'm doing what the book says... When I wanted something so bad and I keep thinking about it & eventually I will get it.
I'm not trying to be unrealistic here, but keep thinking that you wanna see Josie get married and Toby get a wonderful wife and loving Tony as long as you want.... Keep positive thoughts and keep fighting.. You know there are so many friends ( no matter where they are) who loved you very much are here to support you mentally. We love you!!

Mandy & Kim

leighbee said...

I think I need to copy this phrase "you are INCREDIBLE" and paste it every time you post one of your truely inspirational updates.....

Graham has a comment to make on todays too (unusual for him to be so vocal choosing instead to sit quietly and ponder rather than share with me knowing I already have such strong thoughts of my own....) ..............

"What a strong and incredible lady Leigh, I don't think many would or even COULD be like her. I am certainly sure I couldn't ...."

How true I also feel that comment is........ Keep up that fight Shin, it makes you YOU and gives you some kind of inner strength to hopefully fight this cruel and vile condition.

Love as always


PS - It was an ABSOLUTE JOY to see you at the childrens Sports Day yesterday and whilst I am sure the "trip" must have been VERY tiring for you, it was wonderful to see all your families precious smiles and the love, passion and enjoyment in your eyes......xxxx

Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog by accident tonight and have been amazed by you !! You sound one strong woman especially with all the shit goin on ! i was dx with breast cancer three yrs ago at the age of thirty one grade three lymph involvement feel i am constantly lookin over my shoulder, waitin on this crap to re-enter my world again.
after reading how you are dealin with living with this i just want to say wow you are amazin, you have given me hope tonight readin this that living with secondary breast cancer can be done. I wish you & your family well and send my love and best wishes from Scotland x

Anonymous said...

You are young, vibrant, beautiful and alive, cancer is a side issue which you will DEAL with, it is a chore but it is not who you are...

When I had these positive, kick- ass moments I would put Stevie Wonder's 'There's a Place in the sun' on the stereo whip my 2 year old up in my arms and dance around the living room.... and it felt good to be alive, not fit, but alive and a mom.!

You have got such a great attitude. Keep positive, where there is hope there is a way...

Anonymous said...

This lady walked the world to raise awarness of early breast cancer detection. She left Colarado in 1999 and returned to Colarado 5 years later. At the home coming speech she said her walk was in someway similar to what a cancer survivor would be experiencing. Somedays you feel terrible, some days you feel elated - but she said we need to still take one foot forward at the time. Hope you enjoy her video and her website.

Anonymous said...

Hi Shin,
Just found a really useful site in my omcologists office, it's a US based cancer magazine site, however it has very up to date references and news from all over the world. I found it really interesting and thought you might want to add it to your 'useful contacts' list.


Dearest Shin,

You are truly amazing, and I think you know deep in your soul that you can beat this. I believe you can too.. You have beaten this before and you can again. Miracles happen, every day, everywhere if we know how to ask for them, believe in them, trust as a child, allow them in their own time, and show our gratitude for them. While I don't know you I would like to offer to help you to help yourself to tap in to your own source of healing and wellness. Here are some initial thoughts I have:
1) Rename your blog to something that will attract positive thoughts and energy to you: you see the first step to wellness is focusing on wellness not "cancer". How about: Shin's Road to Wellness and Perfect Health?? (Later we can write a book on your amazing recovery!)
2) Everyday- write down twenty things or more that you are happy and grateful for. Must be positively written, with no negativity. DO this when you first wake up and before you go to sleep at night.
3) All Day Long I want you to repeat to yourself the following: "Thank You for my Healing" (I don't know what you religious beliefs are etc. but you can Thank God or Thank "Source" or Just Say Thank you for my Healing to the Universe.)Just keeep repeating this to yourself. There was an amazing story in the movie "the Secret" (which Mandy and Kim mentioned) whereby a woman had breast cancer and she recovered fully without any chemo or medical treatment. What she did was simple- she repeated to herself throughout the day, "Thank You for My Healing" and in addition to that, all day long she filled her days only with happy things, she watched only things that made her feel good and laugh, like comedies, she didn't expose herself to anything that would upset her (i.e. news, etc). She was fully cured within 3-4monhs.
3) Get a copy of the Secret Movie, they should have it some of the big CD shops in Singapore. Watch it a couple of times-it will get you on the right track.
4) Feed your body only with good, healthy food that will assist it in getting the nutrition it needs, watch out for anything that may weaken it. I have mixed thoughts about Chemo, especially if it is hurting your good cells as much as the bad cells. But that is a choice you must make, on what's right for you. I suggest you ask your inner source/soul before you go sleep at night what is best for you and to advise you what to do to assist your recovery. If you are still and sincerely ask and then listen in the stillness to that voice within you, you will hear it and it will guide you on what to do to get well.

I know you can do this. "TRUST" yourself. Annie

Anonymous said...

Hey Shin;
I believe in what Annie says!! (You knew that)

I have some good books for you, have you read David Quammen? Song of the Dodo and Wild Thoughts from Wild Places?

If not I will drop them round at yours. Excellent journalism, I have to have my dictionary at hand. I think you will like them, we generally like the same books, but Song of the Dodo is about biogeography, and do you like animals enuf to read that? As an animal lover I love all that, but it also teaches you about LIFE!!!! I think you will love these books, if you haven't already read them.

Kisses, E xx

Anonymous said...

Having said that I believe what Annie said, I also believe that you do this plus more day by day anyway.

I think your positive attitude is just amazing given what you deal with, and you never seem to complain.

I would, I know. During my 2 weeks off "sick" I became addicted to day time TV and felt depressed and haggard. My one saving grace was I fell in love with a celebrity chef who I am going to marry when my husband leaves me for a younger model. Can I put a smiley face in here?

E xxxxxxx

Shin said...

Dear Anonymous re:,

Thanks for the tip about this Web site. It sounds quite useful, but I can't find it. Any chance you forgot something in the URL?

Shin said...

Dear "higherground", a.k.a. Annie,

Thanks so much for your comment, compliments, and for taking the time to write. You sound like a person just bursting with optimistic energy.

While I appreciate your attitude, I have to tell you that I'm a much more mind-over-matter, rather than spiritual person. I'm more interested in science, facts, practical things than I am in sweetness and light.

So from that perspective, I'll address your quite interesting suggestions, with the hope that you'll take it with your characteristic bright spirit.

1) I don’t really need words to find positive thoughts and energy for myself. I named my Blog “Shin’s Cancer Blog” because that’s what it is. It’s easy for people to remember; it’s easy to find on Google; it’s practical. I’ve come across many beautifully named Blogs full of positive energy and can-do spirit. I can never find them again because they’re too hard to remember and they sort of blend into one.

2) I don’t need to write down things I’m happy and grateful for everyday when I wake up or go to sleep at night. I think about these things in my head each day, throughout the day. I did this even before I had cancer.

3) I find myself thanking the universe, Supreme Being, God, friends, family, myself, everyone and everything all day long, but not for my healing. None of these are going to get rid of my cancer. They do much better than that. They give me a life worth living, cancer or no cancer. As for the miracle story you mention… I’ve heard many such stories and I think they’re wonderful stories. Do I think reciting some mantras to myself and watching only comedies will cure me of cancer? No. But I like happy stories and comedies so I watch them.

I have an audio book copy of “The Secret”. I haven’t gotten around to listening to it yet. It’s on my “To Do” list.

4) Food is a tricky one. I was on a fairly strict diet for about two years after my initial diagnosis – no meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol, caffeine. Recently, I went from my normal weight of 45 kg to 38 kg. (99 lbs. down to 84 lbs.) in just a few months. I learned that almost half of all cancer patients who eventually die, do so from cachexia, weight loss due to cancer. I began eating meat, eggs, dairy, and sugar again to stop my weight loss. I think I’ve gotten it under control now and am holding steady at around 40 kg., so I’m slowly returning to my original diet because my research tells me that animal protein and sugar are not good for optimum health.

I’m now on the seventh chemo drug combo since January this year, and my cancer is progressing. This suggests the chemo isn’t working. We’re almost out of drugs to try. I’m prepared for the day that my doctor tells me there’s nothing more she can do for me in terms of medical intervention. When that happens, I might explore the nutrition and alternative therapy route in even more depth than I’m already doing.

And Annie, I DO trust myself. I’m the only person, spirit, or being I’ve ever completely trusted. I know nobody can keep me alive and happy better than I can. I wouldn’t leave that job up to anybody or anything else – not doctors, not my loved ones, not even a Supreme Being.

Deb said...

Shin, you are doing everything physically and mentally possible to beat this cancer and I think you can be quite content in knowing you're giving it your best shot. I don't know anyone who would have gone to the extremes that you have and stuck with it. The sad thing is you have a very aggressive cancer and it is going to take a miracle to beat.

I have read "the secret" for my own benefit but it simply boils down to having a positive outlook, even on those boneless chicken day and I have seen it first hand and you have it.

People admire you simply from reading your words but I have the pleasure of being with you and words don't even begin to show what a truely remarkable person you are and the strength you have in dealing with this.

Keep doing it your way because we're all learning something from it.

Love you heaps. XX