Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hanging with the bald-headed ladies

It’s been a really tough week, as much mentally as physically. The one-two punch of interferon and radiation is nastier than I expected it to be. The malaise keeps me from wanting to do much of anything. I’ve been mostly reading and snoozing the last few days. I’m almost done with two of the five weeks of radiation, so knowing this won’t last forever is what keeps me going.

Nick’s commencement is on Monday, so I plan to juggle my schedule next week so I’m more alert for the festivities (I’ll delay my shots by a day). We’ll have family here for a little celebration, and it would be nice to be a part of things. I also intend to speak to the oncologist about reducing the interferon dose. There’s no telling what the optimal dose should be, so if I feel better at half the amount, I may go that route.

A couple of other concerns are gnawing at me. Now that I’m well into the radiation, there’s a serious prospect of my developing lymphedema—the odds are about 50/50. This condition can be disfiguring and painful, and it has no cure. It also can appear weeks, months or even years after radiation treatment. I’m praying that I can avoid ending up with a hot-dog leg. There’s nothing I can do to keep this from happening.

I also will need a follow-up PET scan sooner or later. I figured it would be better to get this sooner, but both of my oncologists believe we should wait for a couple months after I’m done with radiation. The purpose of the scan would, of course, be to find any metastatic cancer, should it exist. It’s a scary prospect as the discovery of more cancer would be very bad news. Meanwhile, I have to try not to worry about every little ache and pain I feel. I’m not succeeding at this very well.

I’m sorry if this sounds like I’m inviting you to a pity party. I hope to have something more cheerful to write about when I come out from under this cloud. For example, I could tell you about the bald-headed ladies I’ve been hanging out with at the cancer center, but that’s not exactly politically correct. I’m losing hair too, but not on my head. I’ll spare you the details.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Peter: I'll be up to visit. I'll arrive on the 3rd and spend the 4th with the kids, work in Oregon and leave on the 11th. When it's closer to my arrival I'd like to coordinate some time with you. Think about and let me know. You're comments worry me.
Keith

Wags said...

Peter,
I'm sure this is all pretty overwhelming, and thanks for letting us know what's going on. I'm sorry you're going through it. You paint a picture that demands continued prayer, and rest assured you've got it from the three of us. Try to enjoy Nick's commencement, and give him our best. Continue to hang tough. Trust God in all things, even this. He is faithful to provide in everything. I'll talk with you soon,
Steve

Josué said...

This is not a good picture that I et from you. It's not also a negative image, but the reality of a human being suffering by a terrible decease.
Thank you for sharing your heart with transparency. It is helping me to be more alert in my prayers for you. The good thing is that in the midst of your symptoms God is sustataining you with his love and care. Because is understand pain better than anybody else. We will be praying that you fell better soon to enjoyed Nicks commencement.

See you soon my brother.

Josué

Zone Captain said...

Peter,
Always, thank you for your openess and sharing. It is an honor to share in this journey with you "from a distance". As I read each entry, my heart breaks, I seek God, and your bring me smiles with your humor.
Praying On,
Rick

Carl Pelz said...

Peter,
Actually, I would like to hear about you hanging out with the bald ladies. Whatever you have energy/inclination to share is appreciated. This segment sounds like an multifaceted ordeal. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
With trust in Him,
Carl