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


14 Responses

  1. Great news about your WBC count, lady!!! And so happy that this journey is having some positive outcomes-empowermment is a beautiful thing!!

  2. Woot! Woot!! So happy for you. That’s fantastic news. Keep On fighting the fight! You’re doing it right! Lots of love to you my warrior friend. Xoxo

  3. Great news that your blood counts continue to stay above 2,000, that’s awesome. I just want to say that I watched the movie 50/50 this weekend and agree that everyone should see it. I wish you the best always and continue to conquer Terri!!

    Katie M.

  4. You keep on keeping on sister-speak it loud and speak it clear!
    And as my dear friend Peggy always adds- “It’s all in the delivery…”
    And you, our gracefulwomanwarrior, deliver with love, compassion, spirit and grace.
    Thank you yet again for reminding us all what is important.

  5. I just found your site and I am so inspired and happy to read your perspective on everything you are going through. My mother has been battling stage IV breast cancer since July 2008 and lately has had a rough go of it, especially emotionally. I just read a few passages of your most recent posts and it really made her day. Thank you for putting yourself out there and congrats on your blood count and also what sounds like an amazing medical team. It truly does make all the difference. Sending you peace and love from the southeast.

  6. Lovely news that your white cells continue to rebound, and that the chemo sessions continue. Holding you and your whole family in my thoughts and prayers.


  7. All I can say is you’re and amzazing woman. I get strength seeing you battle through each day with the best attitude. I can honestly say you are in my thoughts and prayes often, and I am happy to be a part of your treatment team. It is truly a blessing to work in the capacity I do. No better way as a nurse to feel like you are truly helping someone. Even if it is only suggesting a change in premedications. Attitude is nearly the only thing that we truly control about our lives. Bless you, Heron, and Marissa.

  8. Great news! And the weather is beautiful on top of everything. John and I watched the movie 50/50 (surprise, we watched a movie lol) and it was incredible…and subtle. I liked it and he did too, and it made us think of you and life and how you really don’t control or know everything and have to accept people in all of their flaws and strangeness. But the hardest thing is accepting yourself sometimes, and what you want and need…

    Keep up the good work, you are such an inspiring, amazing person!

  9. Heard a story today on “This American Life” (which is great by the way if you haven’t ever listened to it) about a woman, Katherine Russell Rich, who has lived with breast cancer for 23 years, 19 of which she has lived with stage 4. You may have heard of her already, she has written two books and thought I would post the link here to her website in case you haven’t.
    Take care of yourself and your family. We think of you often.

  10. Hang in. I’ve “known” you, your mom & your dad since before you were born. Lost my sister-in-law to the devil breast cancer & my mom to lymphoma. You can WIN. Good thoughts to you & yours—I am holding you in my heart. Tell Heron and Spider the animals are with you. Dance to the star music, fight the good fight.

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