Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

No more chemotherapy

All of this week, I was feeling a little anxious leading up to my next round of check up with my oncologist.  It is the routine 3 week visit.  The appointment is scheduled for 11.11.11.  Whether it was deliberately scheduled or sheer coincidence, this date would be forever remembered.

On the way to the clinic, I kept repeating the mantra in mind that “I don’t want to do any more chemo.  My blood test results will be good.”  From my last post, I made the decision to stop chemo on the basis the cancer markers are stabilized.  My oncologist did not object to that idea but she did say that I could stop only if the levels were within plus or minus 10% from the previous level.  Once the nurse from the pathology lab drew my blood, the next 2 hours was going to be the longest 2 hours I had to endure.  I distracted myself with some breakfast followed by sipping a large mug of tea to kill time.  I kept looking at my phone to make sure that I had a strong signal to receive calls and that my phone wasn’t set to silent.

11.55am, my phone rang and it was my oncologist’s office.  The nurse told me the results are back.  Luckily I was at the shopping mall across the road from my doctor’s office.  Walked back with a brisk pace and constantly thinking about results.  As soon as I walked through the clinic doors, I was ushered into the doctor’s office.  I sat down and my eyes were scrambling to see what the results were.  I zoomed in and saw that the cancer markers level decreased to 19.9 from 26.  I let out a huge sigh of relief and couldn’t stopped smiling.  I was ecstatic!  My doctor was also very pleased.  We ran through the blood test results and other components were looking great as well.

My oncologist did the usual physical examination to make sure there were no other symptoms on the body.  I was given the all clear.  Mind you, my oncologist’s slip in the question “Are you sure you don’t want to do another round just to make sure?”.  I instantaneously replied, “no, thank you”.  There is no guarantee that undergoing another round of chemo would “foolproof” from the cancer cells coming back.  Completing  8 rounds of chemotherapy is more than enough for me. It doesn’t mean that I cancer free or in remission.  For now, the CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen) levels are low.  “When CEA levels decrease after therapy, it means that most or all of the CEA-producing tumor has been removed.” (extracted from Lab tests online)

Now, it is up to me to focus on what I eat and keep up a healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise.

I will post more on the alternative treatment I am trying.

Ciao for now!

Ding ding, round 8 of chemotherapy

Oh boy, it has been a while since my last post.  Oct was a very busy month for me. It was mostly spending time with my family.  For the first time in over 10 years, all my siblings and their kids plus my mum were in the same city.  I must say it was great to have everyone together once again albeit for a few weeks.  As you can imagine, my sister’s apartment was rather crowded.  Anyway, I am digressing from the main subject about my last chemo.

Round 8 of my chemo was on 21 October.  I decided this round to be the last chemo I would want to do.  I am looking to alternative medicine as my choice of treatment.  My reason for stopping chemo is to give my body a chance to be back to normal.  The chemo drugs literally “kills” all the good cells in the body.  While I am under treatment, my white cells are low and producing minimal red blood cells.  The former is expected but having low white blood cells can be dangerous.  It means that I am more susceptible to catching any sickness and have a harder time to recover from the ailment.  I am learning that now with the ongoing cough that has prolonged for almost 2 weeks. With low red blood cells, my haemoglobin levels are low and classified as anaemic.

On the Friday morning of treatment, the usual routine of drawing blood but it was done by my favourite nurse.  I was rather anxious about the results this time. After seeing a decrease in the previous round, I was hoping the downward trend will continue.  When the results were back, there were 2 other patients ahead of me.  When it was my turn, I sat down and my oncologist smiled.  She showed me the results and the cancer markers dropped by 50%.  I was so deliriously happy. I shared with my oncologist that I wanted to stop treatment after this round and try alternative treatment.  She had no violent objections to that idea.  I need not do any more chemo on the premise that my cancer markers are around the same levels.  My oncologist and I are crossing our fingers and toes that it stays the same.  With the usual physical check up over, it was time to start the chemo session.

The nurse placed the hot pack on my right hand to help my veins come alive so the hunt and inserting the needle is much easier.  I took a good look at my hand and the needle marks from previous sessions are still there.  You could literally join the dots and form some sort of shape.  My poor veins has used and abused. I soldiered on for the next 4.5 hours.

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Time to hide under the covers.  Wish me luck for the next blood test! I will post another blog about the results.

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