Thursday, 20 December 2007

Happy Flamin' Christmas

As you'll know from my previous post, I had an echo heart scan, on Monday.
Today, I was told that the images they got weren't clear enough to work out my LVEF (left ventricula ejection fraction). And without my LVEF score, the drug company who manufacture Tykerb/lapatinib (GlaxoSmithKline), wont accept me onto the trial.
The plan was to start treatment today. It seems things never go according to plan.

I now have to wait for another echo (with contrast, this time), before I can start any treatment.
They wont do a muga scan, because it isn;t approved for that hospital. And if it's going to be done, it has to be done at the hospital where the trial's running. How stupid!
I could easily go get one done somewhere else. But no.. let's make life even more difficult for you, because that's just what you need!
How long will I be waiting?
How long's a piece of string?
It's christmas, isn't it. So I can't imagine it's going to be soon.

And while all this waiting's going on, I feel sick most of the time, can't eat much at all (I don't know if this is side-effects of the wbr - though I'm pretty sure the nausea side-effects should have passed by now - or if it's down to the cancer. It started quickly, and it seems to be worsening quickly), have lost half a stone in 2 weeks, and the pain in my liver area's getting worse.
It's all pretty damn scary, I can tell you.

Meanwhile, amidst the waiting, while I'm not having any treatment, the cancer appears to be having it's very own christmas party, in my body.
Speaking to a rushed and flustered oncologist today, who virtually ran into the consulting room, threw results at me, and ran out again (after waiting almost 3 hours, of course), it felt like a series of bombs going off, in my little world..

"You can't start the trial.. or any treatment, for that matter.. because the photos we tried to get of your heart, aren't pretty enough" ... *BOOM!*

"There's further disease progression in your bones" ... *BOOM!*

"You now also have a 1.7cm tumour in your lung" (previous to this, my lungs have been 'clear') ... *BOOM!*

"The biggest tumour in your liver, that was believed, only a couple of weeks ago, to be 3cm, measures 6cm on the CT scan" ... *BOOOOM!*

If anyone would like to throw any more shit at me, this festive season, now is the time!

So I have the whole collection now. Breast cancer that's spread to my bones, liver, lungs, and brain.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to remain hopefull. This cancer's relentless. Things aren't looking great.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

I'll Be Glowing in the Dark Soon

The whole brain radiation ended two weeks ago, and passed quite uneventfully.
Since then, however, my hair's fallen out (we shaved the remainder off, a couple of days ago. I looked like the stereotypical cancer patient, with wispy, moth-eaten hair. And I was leaving a trail of hair everywhere), and I've been very tired.. sleeping for 10-12 hours per night, and falling asleep in the day, too. I'm hoping that's a side-effects of the WBR, rather than an effect of the cancer.

Tomorrow, I'll be having the last of four sessions of radiotherapy to my pelvis, to hopefully help with bone pain.

It's been a very busy four weeks, with having to visit hospital almost every day. And some days, having to flit between Sheffield and Nottingham hospitals.
It feels very much like all my life is about now, is cancer and hospitals. And I've been doing some serious soul-searching about it all, recently.

Yesterday, I had a bone scan (more radiation.. I'll be glowing soon!) and CT scan, at Nottingham City hospital. And on Monday, I'll be having a heart scan.
All these are to decide whether I'm suitable for the Tykerb/lapatinib trial.
If I am suitable, and I'm accepted onto the trial, I should be starting treatment next Thursday.. just in time for christmas!
Talking of which, this is the third christmas in a row, I've been bald. Still, I'd rather be bald and alive, than be dead with beautiful hair!

I hope this chemo wont make me ill for christmas.
I'm all too aware that this could well be my last christmas, and I don't want to spend it being ill, in bed.