by Amy, as told to Diane Baldwin:
I know you’ve all been waiting for me to post about the results of the PET scan. The lung nodes are considerably smaller and the breast tumor is almost gone — so small in fact, it is hard to see. All my lymph nodes are clear as well, which was unexpected and surprised my doctors. I’ve been waiting and hoping for this news for almost a year now. I thought I’d be in remission once this news arrived. I thought I’d throw a party and celebrate living life to the fullest once again!!
However, the pain I’ve been feeling has greatly accelerated and the PET scan showed why. The cancer has recently spread throughout my body, in my bones: collar bone, vertebrae, skull, legs. The lesions are small, but too numerous to count. The doctors tell me that this kind of cancer is very treatable, which is good news. I’ve wanted to write to tell you about this news, but I couldn’t because I’m shocked and very, very sad. I just don’t understand why this is happening. Why to me? Why now? Why does my stage IV cancer have to spread yet again? Why does it now have to be so painful and so limiting? How long can I stand living this way?? When will it end?
You should know that I’ve spent the last six days at home, in my bed, sleeping and crying. Trying to get through the pain. I’m not used to pain, so this is a new and horrifying experience. I can’t shower, walk or dress without help or without pain. I get stuck in bed and can’t move. I can’t take care of Theo. And I’ve somehow managed to break my arm, without any great fall. The doctors won’t cast my arm, so I have a sling, and the pain that goes with a broken bone, on top of everything else. I am taking three heavy-duty pain medications, all of which somewhat relieve the pain, but make me nauseous and sleepy. I feel depressed and many times a day a spell of despair overwhelms me. During those times, I feel that this is the start of the end for me and all I can do is sob miserably, lamenting all that I would miss on earth and in my precious life. I don’t want to be the girl you all knew who tried to fight cancer and lost.
Those of you who know me know how abysmal isolation is for me. I’m not a “home-body”. I do not like being alone for longer than a few hours, and then it’s only bearable if I have a deadline or a project I need to finish. I like going out in the world. I crave socializing. I love running errands and living a crazy, busy, exciting life with my friends and family. I was managing all of that with stage IV cancer, prior to this pain, when my leg gave out at Kohl’s just before Christmas. It’s just not fair.
My doctors say that it should take two to three rounds of my new oral chemo, with the bone agent added in, for me to feel relief and hopefully reversal of these new symptoms. I just started round two, so this means possibly five more weeks of this hellish pain and inconvenience. Five weeks put me at February 4. That’s not so long, right?
I’m still on my diet and feeling certain that’s a step in the right direction. I’m trying guided imagery, meditation, massage and Reiki to alleviate the pain. I’m considering acupuncture, too. But, please, please, dear readers, continue praying for me. I need your power, your belief in my healing to help me right now. Things are bleak, but they are not over. I’m not giving up. I can see past this pain. I just need time.