I may be dating myself, like in a previous post, however, as a kid, I used to watch the Dirty Harry movies. It was a film series, featuring Detective Harry Callohan played by Clint Eastwood. He was a San Francisco Police Department Homicide Inspector “Dirty” Harry and he was known for being violent and ruthless. He got the job done and always saved the day. I loved all the one line quips or catchphrases in his movies. You probably have said them yourself not knowing that these sayings originated from these movies…. For example, in the movie “Sudden Impact”, when he is busting a bad guy, he would say “Go ahead, Make my day.”
So why am I thinking about Dirty Harry? Hell if I know? I am on friggin steroids! Actually, I think it is because I feel like a bad ass detective trying to solve and capture the killer, “Cancer”. You have to play dirty and you can’t hold back. In the latest saga, my life saving drugs are being outsmarted and Cancer may have the lead. So now I am pissed.
My expectations were exceeded, I was called in the morning, with my new appointments, the day after chemo Round 3 failed. My oncology team re-arranged things quickly and “Anxious Annettie” was put to rest, no sitting around and stewing on how long this was going to take. Very happy about that… The girl that called told me the new dates and I quickly interjected and asked, I was told I was suppose to have an echocardiogram before proceeding, so when exactly is that happening? She was surprised no one relayed that I had the echo in an couple of hours. I told her, this all went down yesterday, so I thought you would be the one relaying it. We chuckled and to her credit, she wanted to make sure I lived close enough to be able to get to the appointment in time. Coordination and communication is so key. I made a mental note, what if I didn’t ask? I could have missed that appointment..causing a ripple effect of appointments. It ended up being all good and there were no worries on my end. Plus I was relieved to know that the plan was getting back on track. Yeah!
Echo went well, except my blood pressure was low and the echo technician confirmed that my heart was beating irregularly. It feels like my heart is doing the watusi dance and is skipping beats. I do like to dance and looks like my heart just doesn’t want to stop. Oh right! That is a good thing. I just want it to get into the right rhythm… I will just monitor if it gets worse…I am sure it will settle. I was told that my echo looked perfect. Yes a picture is worth a thousand words…
Later in the afternoon on Thursday, nurse Jenny calls and tells me that she wanted to give me a heads up before my next meeting with Dr. Os. He may have a complete change in direction in my treatment plan. He consulted with other medical oncologists and is now thinking to stop chemo. Say what? It’s funny, I felt like Jekyll and Hyde, conflicted, confused and angry. Could have been the steroids streaming through my veins..nope I was mad. My brain was spinning..
It’s not like you want to continue chemo so there is a sense of relief. On the other hand, this seems contradictory to everything I was told when I first met Dr. Os. My cancer is a traveller, a mover and a shaker. I was told that in my case, chemo is the ‘standard of care” and is required to stop this “sister of the travelling lymph nodes” in her tracks. Dr. Os has some explaining to do…
In case you didn’t know you may hear terms like “neoadjuvant and adjuvant” therapy when people talk about treatment for cancer. For example, I am having what is called “adjuvant therapy”. My primary treatment for my cancer was surgery, which was my lumpectomy. Adjuvant therapy means additional cancer treatment to lower the risk that the cancer will come back. An insurance policy that may or may not pay off. My cancer requires this therapy because it proved it moves. Adjuvant includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy and sometimes targeted therapy, biological therapy.. Neoadjuvant therapy, in contrast to adjuvant therapy, is given before the main treatment. For example, chemotherapy for breast cancer that is given before removal of a breast or lumpectomy is considered neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Only in the cancer world they say, “size doesn’t matter”! Yes, pea sized and still a killer. Ok, I know they say size doesn’t matter in other contexts..but I beg to differ. LOL. I think the fear about cancer is there are no guarantees and it is has a mind of it’s own. So it’s all about gambling and doing so armed with as much information as possible to get the best possible outcome. I still trust Dr. Os and I think he needs to sell or convince me that his new plan has better odds. I will be sold with some statistics, solid facts and proof. I want proof that 2 chemos are better than 4. Again, it may not be quantity. Who knows?
All I can say, I am grateful that Jenny had the foresight to give me a call because if I didn’t have this heads up, I would have been hijacked plus I like being able to process and organize my thoughts so I could intelligently give Dr. Os a piece of my mind. Being a project manager, I need to analyze any change in direction and weigh the pros and cons and risks to any plan. Needless to say, I have written a page of questions and can’t wait to hear and challenge his recommendation. Keep in mind, the patient is still in control and makes the final call here.
I feel armed and ready… At end of day, I figure you just need to enjoy the time you have left as no one really knows how long they are here for this world. It is what it is. I am at peace with it. I would rather live feeling good then living longer feeling crappy.
I think it was in one of the very first of the Dirty Harry movies, where Clint says “Did he fire six shots or only five’? Well to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track myself. But being that this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well do ya, punk? In my case, I feel like saying so does cancer die with 2 rounds or 4 rounds? In all this excitement, and being the chemo drug is one of the most powerful I could have, do I feel lucky?
Yes I do feel lucky!