Ask For It

More good news today…  I kept my white blood count high enough to do chemo yet again!  This is the third week in a row!  And get this – my count today was 2,300 (up 400 from the previous weeks & above the required count of 2,000)!!!  Woohoo!!!

I think my entire medical team is a little amazed and flabergasted.  But also so genuinely happy for me and encouraging of the alternative and complementary path I am taking.  Which is awesome.  Having a medical team that is supportive and optimistic makes all the difference.

My oncology nurses are continually suggesting and finding ways to tweak my treatment to make it as non-invasive and easy as possible.  We switched from IV Benadryl to over the counter…  We went from Taxol (which brought on a gagging and burning sensation) to Taxotere…  We switched my IV anti-nausea meds from Zofran (which made me so light headed and dizzy I couldn’t read during my chemo session!  I know – the horror, right?!) to Anzemet…  And now my chemo days aren’t really all that bad.  I get 3-5 hours of uninteruppted “me” time.  To read a good book, chat with the nurses, make a few calls, relax.

And of course my oncologist – Dr K – fights right along with me.  He too, tries to maximize my quality of life while still doing what is necessary to beat up the cancer.

This week Dr K supported another of my requests; to hold back on the Zometa.  After recently reading some horrible stories about Zometa (this is the drug that is supposed to strengthen my bones and prevent the tumors in my leg from causing pain or fractures) including ongoing lawsuits, reports of jaw problems, and even bone fractures (isn’t this the drug that is supposed to PREVENT fractures?!??) I’ve been seriously thinking about scaling back or not taking Zometa anymore.  When I discussed it with Dr K he said he’d be willing to hold off on the Zometa until after we get the results of my next scan.  Then we can decide.  Yay!  This means no more Zometa (and its nasty side effects) for me for the next month (and maybe beyond??)

I know one of the lessons cancer has come to teach me is to ask for what I want.  Not to use passive agressiveness or guilt to get what I want.  Not to assume that people know exactly what I need.  And not to worry so much about hurting or pleasing other people.

I remember a scene in the movie 50/50 (which you all MUST see by the way!!!) where the main character (who ends up getting cancer) is faced with a situation that upsets him but he doesn’t say anything – just stuffs down his feelings.  Not wanting to ruffle any feathers.

That scene stuck with me.  I realize I do that too.  And I remember reading somewhere that cancer has a tendency to develop in folks like us.  The ones who don’t speak up.  Who try to do everything right.  Who can’t ask for what they want or need.

So now I am trying my best to make my voice heard.  To ask for what I need.  And not feel bad about it.  Instead of accepting that I have to take Zometa I am telling my doctor that I really don’t want to.

For anyone out there facing a medical issue I implore you to get a good team and fight for what feels right to you.  We know our bodies better than anyone else.  So it’s up to us to speak out and be active decision makers in our own treatment plans.

Make the choice to be an active decision maker in your life each and every day.

Here’s to another beautiful day & many more to come…  – T