Thursday, July 17, 2008

what the dr. ordered

Long, boring, and poorly written. But this explains my behavior:

When I met with the oncologist for the first time after my surgeries to discuss interferon (the medicine Ive been taking) they were like, "Just do as much of the year that you can. Its a rough treatment. We know the first month is the most important, and then see what you can do after that." And I was all what are they thinking, that I wont make it a year? Impossible. That I wouldn't do whatever it takes for however long to save my life? Ridiculous. That I'm not going to fight to the end? Insulting.

They saw right through the newly-diagnosed-cancer-patient strait to the me 8 months later who came stumbling into the office, emotional, tired, confused, and asking "how much of this can I take?"

The fatigue had been getting worse and worse. Long naps. No energy. Sleeping way late. Luke, who has been pulling me out of bed, has added to his morning routine getting me a Mountain Dew from the pantry to wake me up (I never touched the stuff before, but I seriously had to wait to kick in to get out of bed.) They are sick of their 'meth mom' as I like to call it. I was like some zombie, and sure the cancer had come back because I had gotten so much worse in the last month.

Well the Dr.s were just like, "this is what happens, you made it longer than most people do, they just get to a point where you cant handle it, and we take you off."

A few random facts about interferon:

*It only helps about 10% of those who take it, although they think it does give you more time before (and of course if) the cancer comes back

*They are studying right now the effectiveness of a years worth of treatment. They do know that the first month helps, and that without the first month (of daily IV treatments) there is not a benefit. Basically, one of my nurses was like, "it wouldn't seem right to be sick for 4 more months to get one more month of life."

*What its doing is making my immune system work harder to get rid of the cancer (melanoma your body recognizes as foreign and will try and fight off. From what I understand this is not the case with most cancers?)

*Its also made me that psych patient they wrote me prescriptions for and laughed in their face. Now its like, "No Alisa. We cant triple your ativan."

*I hate this drug and wouldn't inject it in a rat I disliked. Even if he had cancer.

So the oncologists are all, "You need to take a month off. We can decide if you want to start back in a month with a lower dose. You don't need to get back on it, we don't know for sure its even helping that much."

I was shocked. Mostly because I started talking like those other I people I read about who went through cancer treatments. "So I could be done? What would I do then? You dont understand, I have a house keeper right now. Also an excuse for everything. No one expects anything out of me. Its what Im used to now, I don't know if I'm ready to get back to normal. etc."

As I was talking to her I was falling asleep (being my normal nap time). Shes like, "your getting off the treatments, (but not your psych meds) and I'm calling a taxi to take you home."

I also saw my surgeon for my mole checks, and he agreed. He said as much as they care about my life, I also need to live it. He says don't go back on, you've done a great job, etc. Dont feel guilty about stopping, we don't know how effective it is long term. And your moles look fine.

So Ive been off for a week.

I wake up 3 hours earlier. I don't take naps. I don't even take ativan. I haven't had caffeine all day. Im stuffing my face. Cleaning the house. Making breakfast. Walking the dog. I'm on top of my laundry right now.

Its so nice to know that under those drugs is just....me. I'm still here.

Although the energy is not back to pre cancer (they say a month of recovery), I don't think Ill use it all when it returns. I want to keep some for myself.

I kind of think this why women can only be pregnant for 9 months, its just all you take of feeling like crap (Ill insert here that I have been pregnant for 9 and 1/2 months and the last two weeks were BAD). You do get a new baby at the end of that, but Im looking at it as giving life to myself (or I guess a 10% chance).

So anyway, they want me to have another scan beginning of August. And I am probably done with cancer treatments.

Now what?





25 comments:

Doc said...

Now you buy a big old house and have the haunts get to the cancer healing. And buy a wii.

Rebecca said...

Hearty Congratulations, Alisa. You are in our prayers.

lou said...

You can always make your sweet littlest sister a german chocolate cake...

Paul said...

Way to go!

Sonja said...

Let's have a done-with-cancer-treatments party!

ronco said...

Here's my attitude to interferon: Whatever it is—I'm against it. Glad to have you back to normal, Alisa. We love you.

Tera said...

Freedom! As much as I wanted the chemo to work for Kevin, it seemed to be more of a problem than a help. You are in our prayers! (Thanks for the visit. Kevin loves your dog. I am just sorry I wasn't home.)

Roger and Kelli Proctor said...

now a happy happy, long life ahead of you, thats what! LOve you!

AnneMarie said...

Amen to the partying.

MichelleChud said...

I'm glad you're feeling some energy back. Sounds like you did great, lasting longer than most. Good for you!

Christy said...

I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers often.

Jewel said...

Just be proud of yourself for being on top of your laundry. That alone is a feat! I don't expect much more that that from myself sometimes.

So glad Alisa is still under there.

Jill said...

You MUST figure out a way to keep the housekeeper. This is of paramount importance! For what it's worth I think you made the right decision to stop the drugs. Enjoy living your life feeling like yourself and having energy. You've done your time!

JamieJoe said...

I was so glad to see you yesterday! One month recovery isn't too bad, quicker than I would have thought. I'm so glad you are starting to get Alisa back. You are still in our daily prayers,we'll be praying for a clean scan in August.

Mary said...

Thanks for writing this update. You're always on my mind, so I love knowing a little of what's going on in your life. I hope the next couple of weeks only get better! Miss ya!!!

Brittani said...

Good work Alisa! You are an amazing woman. Keep up the good work!

Amber said...

I scanned some photos from an old album, and now have a blog post dedicated to none other than YOU! :) Wanna see? livingyellow.blogspot.com

Momila said...

ALisa...
I'm proud of you for fighting the good fight..(and I will not make you feel bad by telling you Brent has been on Interferon for 55 weeks.) He has 17 more to go. And he takes Ribavirin pills everyday to keep the Interferon levels up, so actually making himself sicker. I can totally understand the sleeping, the need for psych meds and the brain fog. BUT, if it saves his life, then it will all be worth it. AND the percentages are much higher than 10%. Scientists don't factor in faith. God bless you and here's to a clean scan in August! Lucky Brent--he had a housekeeper and laundress and chef the whole time he's been sick!
We love you!
Buffy

bradnlisa said...

Awesome! Although I personally feel that I am a better mom with a little Dr.Pepper in me. But I have been limiting my intake lately! And, keep the house keeper!

Natalee said...

Glad your done and back to being you.

Kathy Urry said...

I hope you never have to have those drugs again. If they do not know anything why do they put you trought all of that. The last few times I have saw you you seem to be so happy and doing so good. Keep it up and soon you will be RS Pres because your so good. OK well maybe just a leader with your husband in Primary. But you seem happy and look good I hope you do good and keep up the good work.
Kathy

The Brown Family said...

That is great news! I am so glad that you have more energy and are able to feel more like yourself. I am with everyone else. Keep the housekeeper... I would give my husband away for one of those, he he, of course without a husband a probably wouldn't need one, Hmmm.... you are always in my prayers!

jennie said...

YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! I am so relieved hear the news. I've been so worried. I loved seeing you the other day, and I loved seeing you smile. Thank you for your sweet visit... you must be feeling better to drive to OREM! (But not THAT much better Bishop... she DOESN'T need a new calling!!!)

Tiffany said...

Congratulations on making it so long! Keep up the good work!

A Travel Guru said...

I've been looking for your blog and I'm glad I found it through Lisa's. I need to read all the way through, but it sounds like things are lookin up. I'll keep readin.