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darkest before the dawn

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Mar. 17th, 2007 | 07:40 pm

I'm prefacing this post by saying that it will not be a happy one. Not that anything else has gone horribly wrong or that I just found out that anything is worse, it's just that I am nearing the end of my tolerance and today it's weighing heavily on me.

Yesterday I had my third HDR. There is part of me that doesn't even want to talk about it, but I think it may do me (and maybe someone else in the future) some good and that's what I started this for in the first place, right? As per usual everything under this cut will be unpleasant and honestly though I know my family members read this in hopes of keeping up to date with how I'm doing, you might (especially my dad) want to just skip this one and wait for the next "okay, I've pulled myself through that crap" post that will likely come next week. That being said....

Yeah, so the third HDR. I'm now convinced that it must be me. My particular body makeup, my metabolism, my body's uncanny ability to adjust to whatever crap I (or someone else) puts in it. I'm sure that in the grand scheme of things this is a superior survival ability and that if I lived in the wild it would be most beneficial. As in I could eat mildly poisonous berries or drink tainted water and only get somewhat ill. When it comes to narcotics, pain, and minor surgical procedures, it is a dreadful affliction.

The long and short of it is that in three mere weeks my body has gone from reactive to narcotics/opiates (in other words, working to sedate me and control my pain) to nearly completely synthesizing them within minutes and they no longer have much, if any effect on me. I was pretty much awake and fully feeling the entire 2 hour long last procedure from beginning to end.

The last time I was kind of out of it by the time they started the procedure, woke up a bit in the middle, and was pretty much awake by the end. This time the RN kept saying, "Okay, we're giving you this to smooth you out," and then, "You should start feeling sleepy soon," and then "Okay, we'll see you in a little while." But, the problem was then it started to turn into me asking, "Have you given me the Versed yet?" "How about the Fentanyl?" Both were met with "Yes", but then I kept hearing things like, "Don't fight falling asleep" and "Just go with the drowsiness." But, there WAS no fucking drowsiness. My eyes were slapped open and believe me I was TRYING MORE THAN ANYTHING to "go away", the last thing I ever want is to stick around during that procedure. But, I just stayed awake with my anxiety growing by the second, which I'm sure didn't help.

In the meantime they are prepping me. This involves putting in a catheter, which is normally sucky, but not too bad. However, after 20 external and two incredibly high dose internal radiation treatments your body, including your urethra, begin to change. In particular any orifices begin to scar, shrink, and inflame. So, while I was waiting to drift off, they were trying to put the catheter in. FOUR times. Finally it went in, my doc came in and started the impaling and packing process.

He had told me that they gave me so much Fentanyl the last time that it "scared the shit out of him". I don't know what the dose format is, but I know that number was 300. As I gritted my teeth, tensed every muscle in my body (while they were telling me the whole time, "Just breathe with it..."), and let out streams of obscenities under my breath I heard him ask the RN, "Can you give him any more?" and she said, "No, we've already hit 300 again." The doc was grimacing about as much as I was.

So, basically I suffered through it. And then another hour and a half a calibration and then five minutes of ripping everything out. I know this may be a triggering term for some people, but I can only liken this whole thing to being raped on and off for two hours. When all was said and done I had to lie on the gurney for 15 minutes alone in the dark. I just couldn't move. Finally I dragged myself up and wiped all the blood and whatever the hell from my body and put my clothes on. Then I limped out of the room and walked outside to where I found Heather and Erin waiting. Then I went home.

I ate lunch, but stayed in bed pretty much all day and night into today. I am unbelievably sore, bleeding, have horrible horrible cramps, never ending diarrhea (caused by the radiation), and when I have to go, I feel like I'm pissing needles. Today I am very very angry about all of it.

I'm supposed to go through this two more times in the next two weeks. Today, I don't know if I can go through more than one much less two.

The other thing is that no one is talking to me about this. By that I mean, I make my appointments and I'm supposed to "check in" when it's all over. And by "all over" I mean all eight weeks of it. But, I think I need to talk to someone sooner. I need to find out how they determine when and how you are "cancer free" to the best of their ability. And if I yet fit that description.

It doesn't seem right to me that someone with a Stage 2b 4cm tumor should go through the same exact treatment as someone with a Stage 3b 8cm tumor. I'm not a doctor, but seeing as how my cancer was already 70% gone before even starting the treatments that are supposed to be the ones to get rid of the actual tumor, it seems like over-kill to go through five of these if the cancer is already gone by three or even four. And I understand that they want to make sure and all, but in life there are things that I may be willing to risk and quite frankly, they can NEVER "make sure."

I've asked why five treatments and not four or three or check the progress and then continue and the only answer I've gotten so far is that they do it that way because "it's standard for all brachytherapy." Due to the amount of severe physical and emotional pain this particular procedure is putting me through (not to mention permanently destroying my healthy tissues in that area) that answer is not good enough for me. So, hopefully this week I will be able to actually speak to my doctor and get some answers.

Other than that, I seriously hope I can pull some strength out of somewhere or they can come up with some new drugs to give me because I don't know how I'm going to deal with this otherwise.

I guess on the upside, Monday is my last chemo so at least maybe I won't feel like throwing up all day every day past this coming week. That's at least something to look forward to.

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Comments {2}


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from: alextea
date: Mar. 18th, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)

Big hugs to you.

Is there anyway you can get them to check and see if the cancer is even still there? It sounds like the treatments are killing you and that the cancer may very well be gone. Under such circumstances might they break their *5 treatment protocol?

I’m lighting a candle and sending you best wishes for less pain and quick healing.

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It's Almost Over!

from: mom_worry
date: Mar. 19th, 2007 01:33 pm (UTC)

I know that is easy for me to say. I would definately demand to speak to your doctor, nurse or someone before going through that procedure again. You should not have to suffer that is total bullshit. Maybe discomfort but down right torture is not! I would REFUSE to go through that again and you definately can do that. Either I get to discuss it with someone or to hell with it! You have a right to demand they make you comfortable during that hell! Tell the idiots to call me if they can't figure it out and they can speak to one of our doctors here if they can't figure out how to make you pain free not act like you are fighting the medicine. Don't they get it it's NOT WORKING! I will personally call them and demand they stop if they cannot control your pain. Right now I am so damn angry I feel like flying out there let me know and I will do it I mean it if you can't talk to someone let me have the number and I will personally call them. God I am angry sorry, but you are my child and this is total bull! You should not have to suffer and you don't have to. Not like that! Not today with the drugs and means of comfort available. I will try and call you mid week to see how it is going. Listen to me do not let them give you bull that they can't make your experience better then that put you out with General Anesthesia if they can't control pain better then that or at least sedate you with IV sedation to the point where you are totally out. Sorry, don't want to upset you even more just angry about all this.


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