Week 1 in Chemo Town

Have you ever cried in front of a medical professional? Today that happened to me. Of course I’m being bombarded with emotions and craziness right now, but that wasn’t the direct cause. It had everything to do with horrible pain in my low back/hip, while laying on a hard surface for a CT scan. The pain became worse and worse until my hand started to shake and then the tears came. This is what I’ve been working with since the last time I wrote. The MRIs that were needed to diagnose my pelvic/low back pain brought on pain like I’d never experienced. I am able to tolerate a lot of things and have learned with medical procedures to just try to stay calm and go with it. This was different. I almost passed out during the first MRI and had to go home and come back the next day for the second one. They thought if I took oxycodone before the next session, it would all go smoothly. Nope. It did nothing and I had to stop three times to get through the entire process.

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My friend Rachel managed to capture this photo of me getting ready for my second MRI.

I will always be honest about what procedures are like. Every other person I’ve ever spoken with has cruised through an MRI without any incident. Apparently, there is a very small percentage of people who suffer excruciating pain during an MRI. The good news is that I’m one of those rare people, so the odds of it happening to you are much less likely. The bad news is if I ever have to have another MRI, they will probably have to sedate me for it. Sigh. Being rare isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Being rare and not having blood markers for cancer has definitely not helped, in terms of my recent diagnosis. It would have been great to have known sooner, but it couldn’t be helped. I’ve had to inform my brother of being rare and not having blood markers, so he and his kids will know to ask for further testing if anything seems suspicious.

My doctor placed my port a week ago. It’s implanted in the chest and runs up through a vein in your neck. It grosses me out, but it’s worth it to avoid suffering through constant IVs. The nurse just has to “plug in” to the port and you’re pretty much good to go. It’s sore, bothers me, and I wish I didn’t have to have it, but I do. I’m still watching bruises from the many IVs I’ve had over the past couple of weeks disappear. This is easier. I did have “weeping” after surgery, because I’ve had to stay on Advil to keep my pain levels down. Fortunately, it finally stopped. I’m including photos, so if you’re squeamish, I apologize.

Last Thursday I had my first chemo treatment of this cycle. My doctor has decided to give me the full dose of both drugs one week and then two weeks off. The cycle will repeat 5 times. Last time I had to go in every week and they gave me less drugs, more often. I had some nausea, but it only lasted a couple of days. I did okay with the full dose, until a couple of days later. The nausea started and I’ve had trouble getting food down without feeling like it might come back up. I haven’t vomited, but I have to be aware of what sights and smells will make me feel queasy. I tried CBD capsules for the nausea and it made me sleepy and did wonders for my low back.hip pain. It’s now been five days and I’m still really nauseous. My job right now is to make sure to feed myself.

Today I had my first appointment with the radiation doctor. The MRI did show that there is cancer present in my L5 vertebrae and sacral area. This means the cancer has metastasized and is present on the bone. They say it isn’t bone cancer if it starts as a different type of cancer and spreads to the bone. I just know it’s been painful and I want it gone. The plan is to hit the area with radiation every day, M-F, for two-three weeks. I’ll be doing it simultaneaously with chemo. The hope is that it will shrink the bad cells and give me less pain, while the chemo gets in there and kills them off. Makes sense. I just know this won’t be the easiest path. Chemo has it’s side effects and so does radiation. We shall see what happens.

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After today’s prep for radiation treatments. You can barely tell that I cried, but believe me, I was ready to go home. This is a nurse de-accessing my port.

I’ve definitely been pushed to and beyond my physical and emotional limits over the past few weeks. I admit it, it’s a challenge to stay positive all of the time and to not get dragged down when enduring some of this stuff. Today, when the doctor asked if Sam and I wanted to go over the films of where the cancer is located, she said yes and I said no. Why? I was feeling overwhelmed and knew I couldn’t see or hear any more bad news. She showed Sam and they discussed it all. I have the information I need, but was able to put off seing the extent of the cancer in my body until later. I am not in denial, it’s just been too much and I needed to keep my head clear as I headed in for my CT scan.

Right now I’m stressing a bit over “did I choose the right diet?”, while reading various research studies and testimonials. Who knows for sure? Keto or raw vegan were the two that seemed the most legit to me, from a cancer viewpoint. I feel like I have to choose everything correctly, or I may not have another chance. Things are much more serious this time around and it’s a lot of pressure. You truly can get caught up in all of the bullshit during something like this. In a moment, your hopes can be dashed, or you can feel elated. I’ve called it the rollercoaster before and that’s exactly what it is. I’m fortunate to have a wife who makes special foods for me to eat and supports me every step of the way, and friends who are invested in my survival. It can be difficult when you’re facing horrible things and you, alone, have to endure it. That said, having a supportive circle is priceless.

I start radiation on Thursday. I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, I’d love for my port area to not be so sore and to get my appetite back. Small steps and postive thoughts. I’m doing my best to focus on that.

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6 thoughts on “Week 1 in Chemo Town

    • I’m using RSO, frankincense with lemongrass oils, diet adjustments, and every other kind of natural healing I can do. The chemo is harsh, but I have aggressive cancer and I need to do everything possible to try to stop it. That means doing other natural methods and western methods together. It’s intense, but hopefully will work.

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      • I’ve been using doTERRA oils and products for a few years now. I love their science team and that they’re sourced in the plants’ native countries. I’m pretty sure their products and my reasonably healthy eating habits kept the cancer from reoccurring sooner. Now, I’m doubling down and following their recent research about both Frankincense and Lemongrass oils. They also have a blend called DDR Prime that promotes healthy cell generation. I’m working all of them, every day. 🙂

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