The Decision (And More)

I just wanted to provide everyone with a quick update.  Things are moving quickly, so quickly I feel like I can hardly breathe.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  No time to  over-think.    More

Some Bad News and Some Good News (Maybe)

This is going to be one of those just-the-facts ma’am kind of blog post because there is a lot of medical news to share.  It’s been a whirlwind, and an unexpected one at that because the last you all heard was that I was done with chemo and had clean scans  so one would have assumed that I wold have been in for a couple of quiet, boring months at least of remission, but not so; yours truly doesn’t seem to do quiet or boring very well.  Even as I type this, I’m still trying to process all the information of the last week both from an emotional and intellectual standpoint.  In the interest of providing the information as coherently and concisely as possible, I’ll try to spare you for now the emotions and the philosophical musings — tune in for the next installment of this blog for my usual musings.

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You Must Be So Happy…

Less than two weeks after my supposed last day of chemo, I went in for a PET and MRI scan, which were ordered because I had a PET and MRI three months ago when I was halfway through Folfox (which is the first line of defense chemotherapy for colorectal cancer).  As I’m quickly learning, treating cancer is all about scans and comparing one against another over time, hoping for regression or, best of all, resolution of spots that were suspicious on the last set of scans.  Well, as I described in CEA, PET, MRI…, I had two or three (depending on how you count) suspicious spots in October.  I know those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook don’t know the results and therefore are waiting with baited breath, so let me not keep you in suspense — my scans came back clean with resolution of the spots that were previously suspicious.  The day I received the scan results was also the day I learned the results of my genetic testing, principally for Lynch’s Syndrome which is the most commonly known genetic cause of colon cancer.  While the genetic testing on the tumor itself post-surgery had been negative for various genetic conditions, it could not rule out completely the possibility of a genetic predisposition.  So, I had my blood sent to a genetics lab in California and the results came back a few weeks later.  I went to see the geneticist before the oncologist that day.  “Hopefully, what I tell you will start off a trend of good news for you,” she said, “because you were negative for all the genetic mutations we tested for.”  So in sports terminology which my husband so loves to use, we were “2 for 2” that day.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better than that.  More

Fight With Me!

The first oncologist I saw after my surgery was Dr. Z.W. at UCLA.  He was trained in Tel Aviv, New York and Los Angeles and had a soft-spoken manner that hinted at a tremendous intellect.  In his very posh office that exuded Southern Californian openness and opulence with its massive abstract paintings that adorned the oversized waiting room, Josh and I got the distinct sense that this was a place that served many Hollywood executives and movie stars.  Josh and I spoke with Dr. Z.W. for over an hour about my diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and much more.  What I remember most about that conversation was its philosophical and existentialist bent.  In his opinion, my cancer was a matter of bad luck, a freak occurrence that had no genetic explanation, much in the same way that someone might have been hit by a falling tree because he left the house a minute later than he had intended to.  Dr. Z.W. couldn’t answer the question of “Why?” and in fact didn’t think there would ever be an answer.  He spoke about how big-wig Hollywood execs sometimes came flashing their money, believing that money thrown then and there would lead to a personal cure.  He would have to explain  that that wasn’t how cancer works; it doesn’t discriminate negatively or positively based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic class; it is an equal opportunity killer that afflicts the entire human race and doesn’t care about the size of any one person’s bank account.   Dr. Z.W. spoke of how cancer had humbled him.  This man who with his considerable intelligence must have entered the medical profession with all the idealism and optimism of youth, believing that by virtue of his brain power, he would be able to conquer cancer.  He has been humbled by its awesome power to rob the young of their futures so suddenly and unexpectedly.  He has been humbled by its tenacity and complexity, its ability to mutate again and again and outsmart scientists and researchers who have developed drug after drug to defeat it.   More

More Drama At Chemo

After my big surprise at Times Square (which I wrote about in my previous post), Cousins N and C and I made our way across town to the NYU Cancer Center for what was hopefully going to be my last round of chemo ever, stopping along the way at Korea Town for coffee for Cousin N and a muffin for me.  We met my friend and former realtor, the man who found my and Josh’s apartment, P.L.M. on the 5th floor.  P.L.M. is a gorgeous black gay man who looks like he could  be a model in GQ, seriously.  He also happens to be a riot who can entertain me endlessly with tales of his crazy exploits – definitely someone I wanted to have, together with my cousins, at what I hoped would be a celebratory last day of chemo.  As it turned out, I’m not sure I would call my last day of chemo “celebratory”.   More