Sunday, July 13, 2008

Score Card: Pat 3, Rats1

Got my long-awaited Octreotide shot on Thursday, and the reduced dosage seems to be having the effect the doctors want: almost no diarreha, and bowels that are waking up again.  I'm relieved that their theory that my misery was drug-induced looks to be correct.  But more than that, I am fascinated at how my body is responding.  For more than 6 weeks, my bowels weren't working in the ways they had for 60 years--and of course, there was always the possibility that they had just packed it in.  But when we removed at least one of the obstacles, they began to remember what they have wanted to do all along.

I know that some people feel betrayed by their bodies when cancer strikes.  I have had almost the opposite reaction: the impulse my cells and tissues have to health is actually remarkable.  No matter what the toxins I take in through chemo, my body wants to use them to get rid of the tumors.  And even when the medication forced my bowels into some kind of weird dormancy, they knew right away what to start doing the moment it became possible.

Isn't that remarkable?  

So score one for me and my gut.  I hear/think/read lots about how important it is to pay attention to the subtle signals your body gives so you don't have to deal with huge symptoms later.  I am even learning how to do that.  So for the past 3 days, I have become re-acquainted with what it feels like when stool is forming.  You can tell where things are, and you can feel it making its way along.  It feels way different from being full of water.

And I suspect that's way too much information--but I'm back in that kid-like poop space for the moment.  This too, as they say, shall pass.

Score two: I got out of the house for a few days.  My sister and her family drove in from Saskatoon.  We stayed at Sharon's (she's on the coast, working like a navvie) because Pam is allergic to cats.  So it was like being in a lovely hotel for all of us.  Sharon has an amazing garden.  Then we were joined by friends from Texas on Thursday.  Turned into a party, and I loved being enfolded in the laughter, take-out Chinese and the little taste of superb Scotch that made it onto the See Food diet.  We watched Rare Birds and roared with laughter, and talked and...well, just did what you do at a kitchen party.

Rats won a round with the side effects of the steroids.  It feels like overnight, I blew up like a puffer fish.  Unfortunately, I saw it the morning I went for a haircut.  I was sitting in the chair ready to get a fashionably spiky cut and I was appalled at the cheeks that stared back from the mirror.  Where had my mouth gone?  My eyes?  Why was I all gopher and no girl?

"Well at least your skin is really smooth?" the sweet young thing who was cutting my hair offered tentatively.

"Jesus, I look like Mr. Potato Head.  How can this happen when you aren't even looking?"

Plus, the steroids are giving me spaghetti legs, front and back.  My thigh muscles have so little strength that I actually think I qualify for a handicap sticker.  And I'm just not willing to be debilitated again by medication.  Cancer is bad enough.  Putting up with this nonsense ain't in the plan.

I consult with a doc early in the week--but it feels like this is one of those times I need to be an im-patient.


jan said...

Hi Pat,

I'm so happy to hear that things are improving greatly. Sounds like you had a wonderful time over the past few days. You are an inspiration to many!


Anonymous said...

How great you were with family near a garden! Flowers are such food for the soul as I am constantly reminded as the wonderful giant Irises you gave me come into full bloom each year. And, they are in full bloom right now!