Devil’s Deal: Declined

In my previous post, I talked about being offered the opportunity to cut radiation short by three treatments, to try to minimize further radiation burns in my esophagus. I likened it to a deal with the devil: less radiation on my esophagus means potentially less pain over the next two weeks… but it also means less radiation on the cancer. Yesterday, when discussing the options with Dr. Lee, I said I wanted to continue with the last three radiation treatments.

There are a couple reasons I decided to continue. First, we’re only talking about three treatments, spread over almost a week because of the holiday and the weekend. Second, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have the last chemo (see below) and I didn’t want to end early on both treatments. Third, I was diagnosed with thrush AGAIN. I remembered when I had thrush a couple weeks ago, mistaking the symptoms for esophagitis, so it must be contributing to how I feel. If I can get rid of the thrush, I’ll be feeling better even with the esophagitis.

So I declined the devil’s deal and s of today, I have two radiation treatments left, on Monday and Tuesday.

devil deal

Chemo, on the other hand, is definitely done. My white blood cell counts were too low last Thursday (chemo day). We tested again on Monday then a third time on Wednesday, but they were still too low. So my last chemo on Thursday, 12/10 turned out to be the last chemo I would have.

It sounds awesome to be able to focus on healing and getting my strength back. Both radiation and chemo are cumulative, and radiation keeps “cooking” a week after it ends. In fact, Dr. Lee said the esophagitis pain peaks the first week after treatments. So this Tuesday isn’t the end of the road… but it’s still a meaningful step in that direction!

winding-path

Related Posts

Be Your Own Advocate

I routinely encounter folks dealing with serious illness (mostly cancer, in my circumstances) who accept whatever the first doctor they meet tells them, even if what they’re told is that there is no hope. I

Read More »

Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month

April is head and neck cancer awareness month! Be aware of the causes and symptoms, summarized in the graphic at the bottom. For me, it was a swollen lymph node below my jaw that didn’t

Read More »

Clinical Trial Math

Clinical trial math example: Monday + every two months = time to start worrying about my scan the following Monday. Tuesday + pain below my right ribs = worry about that AND the scan the

Read More »

My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me

Last year, I was in the hospital from chemo for my birthday, not knowing the cancer would blossom again months later. This year, I’m walking around San Francisco–short of breath sometimes, but walking–looking forward to

Read More »

Unpredictability and Patterns

The every-other-week treatment schedule has become habit at this point. In at 7:45 am, IV and blood draw, discussion with the trial nurse, meet with Dr. Ani, get the blood test results, then infusion and

Read More »

Speaking Out and its Price

I’m exhausted and stressed and sad and angry. I try to keep my posts here focused and positive, but it’s really hard at this point. I was contacted last week by the Organizing Director of

Read More »