Sunday, December 23, 2007

This version of normal.

Tomorrow, I start 28 radiation and Xeloda treatments.
Today is my last 'normal' day for awhile. Or maybe not...maybe the effects of radiation and Xeloda will be minimal. No way of knowing until I just do it.

This is so different from the last time, when I went from diagnosis to port placement to chemo in a week, and barely had a minute to catch my breath in between. This feels measured, and finite...and hopefully it won't have drastic effects on my sctivities of daily life.

We shall see.

But for know, I know this as 'normal,' and I'm reluctant to fill up today with stuff, even though I've got a full to-do list. There are presents to wrap, gift cards to buy, laundry to do, trash to move outside, dogs I should probably groom rather than wait until next weekend. I don't want to do any of it. I want to just relax awhile, and enjoy the last few hours of this version of normal.

And let tomorrow's version of normal take over, tomorrow. ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The little things that will twist your mind...

Twenty years I've been working for a pharmaceutical company, doing pre-clinical drug safety research.
Twenty years--a major part of that time building cancer drugs.

Tonight, I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with some telephone tech answering the phone at the company mail-order pharmacy, feeding her the information off my insurance cards and the lists of my doctors and their phone numbers--justifying, to this woman I've never met, why I deserve to have them waive their arbitrary rule that they alone must fill my Xeloda prescription.

I told them that I'm stage IV, that my treatment (radiation + Xeloda) begins on Monday, that there's no way that I'd be able to get any drugs which they tried to mail-order to me.

And they put me on hold.

And then, after my local pharmacy was closed, at 9:04 p.m., the telephone tech came back on and told me that yes, because of this special circumstance, out of the goodness of their hearts they would approve this ONE-TIME exception and authorize the local pharmacy to dispense a 30-day supply so that can start my radiation + Xeloda treatment on Monday.

On Christmas Eve.

Everything else I have to go through and put up with, and now I'm justifying my oncologist's treatment plan to a pharmacy tech in some phone center in Florida, because my pharmaceutical company has contracted for the worst prescription coverage in the western world.

And now tomorrow, I have to call the pharmacy back and they have to resubmit the scrip.

Hell, I probably should have called Elliot Siegal direct.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

when the other shoe drops...

Stage IV cancer is not a straight line, it's not predictable.
Remission isn't forever.
Part of me knows that and accepts that.
And part of me also knew that something was wrong, that there's no way I could lose five pounds in five weeks unless IT was back.

So I wasn't really surprised when Dr. Personality came in on Dec. 3 and told me that there was a new mass and that I needed new tests and to consult with Weiser again. Finally, after three and half years, she remembered that I don't actually live in NYC, but was relieved that I could take a couple of days for extra testing (too bad, no teaching in NBR this trip.)

Nothing lights up on the PET scan except a small tumor, 4cm x 2.5cm, in the area of the original tumor resection. It's pressing on and occluding the left ureter--so I needed a stent placed, and a radiation oncology consult, and next week I start the mapping for radiation which begins on (Merry Christmas to me) Christmas Eve. Then after radiation (6 weeks or 25-28 treatments, whichever comes first), a new PET and Weiser will re-evaluate me for surgery.

Other people go to Florida in February; I take disability.
One more time.