Posted by: cg00n | February 13, 2012

Live and Let Go

Sad to say it’s been a rather dismal week or two on the State of Being front.  In retrospect I think it all started back in late November when Dr. G floated the idea of chemotherapy.  As you may recall that idea caused me a certain amount of discomfort and the January meeting with Dr. D, in which she told us of her misgivings about the new drugs, did little to alleviate my fears.  What tipped me over the edge just recently was the discovery of several new lumps.  When I say “several” I mean “more than usual”.  There are currently eight suspects.

Probably not all 8 are brand new.  Two or three are in places where previous lumps have been removed and I have been assuming that lumpiness in these locations were scar tissue, but now I think they are growing.  There are two more very close together in the area of the most recent excision, an area that has seen quite a good crop over the last year.  Another two appear to be loners in places where no melanoma has ever set foot and another is so small that it may just be  a figment of my imagination.

The fear this has provoked can be summed as “Now WTF?”  I’ll find out on Wednesday whether they want to deal with all at once or whether they think more drastic action is finally required.  It is a good thing that we managed to get a good deal (thanks to Ms. M.F of California) on a whole pile of really high-tech dressings from eBay:  looks like I’ll be needing them.  Is this the start of a more active phase of the cancer?  Could be.  Isolated limb perfusion typically gives one 2-3 years of partial remission which I have now completed.  Dr. G was talking about re-perfusing my leg which may slow the progress again for a while but eventually I will almost certainly have to face the fact that this stuff is not going away.  As a result the last few days have been interesting, not entirely bad but definitely not comfortable.

The good news is that I cope with anxiety much better than I used to.  I have been taking some extra clonazepam but most of the time I can manage to dismiss the anxiety, work through it or just sit with it, in the sense that I can watch my mind working on it without being much affected.  Noticing the tension in parts of my body (notably my stomach) is also useful:  consciously relaxing often helps to get rid of the physical symptoms which then stop providing positive feedback to my mind.  At P‘s suggestion I am embarking on a fairly intensive period of meditation and study.  This will help in two ways.  Firstly it will take my mind off my immediate fears by giving it something more “wholesome” to ponder.  Secondly I will get a booster shot for whatever may come.  I am hoping to spend between four and eight hours a day at this stuff for the next little while, which should keep me out of trouble.  Ultimately I have to let go of my many attachments: possessions, opinions, appearance and ultimately body, to name just a few.  In the meantime I am working on a more complete acceptance of the anxiety and of the increasing rate of lump production.  Progress is occurring.

Of course, it is perfectly possible that once we’ve cleared out this batch of lumps things will more or less return to “normal” again, which would suit me fine.  Nevertheless this has given me a big dose of incentive to build up my endurance for whatever is to come.

News Roundup

As a part of my recent flurry of activity I sent emails asking for updates on a couple of the treatments that sounded particularly promising:

  • Dr. Ohashi (mentioned in this CBC article) was kind enough to provide more details of her research and to offer:

    … something to keep in mind is if you ever have a tumor resected – no
    matter how small, please let us know, because we can freeze away the
    cancer fighting T cells for use at a later time.

    I may take her up on that.

  • An inquiry to Australia on the subject of treatment with Rose Bengal  pointed me to a clinical trial of PV-10 which may be something to consider if I run out of skin to cut off.

From less personal sources we have:

  • Macleans has an article on Dr. David Agus’ new book, The End of Illness.  According to him we should be paying a lot more attention to inflammation:  taking aspirin is a Good Thing.  Exercise is too.
  • A group in South Korea is working on cancer detection using nothing more than a drop of blood and an iPhone.  Bleeding edge technology they say, but this is not a joke.
  • Speaking of inflammation, Viagra finds a use fighting melanoma.  This is also not a joke.  But it could be an excuse….
  • A Manchester University team is investigating why some people are more prone to depression and anxiety than others.  It seems to be a matter of “resilience”, something I obviously lack.

So ends another exciting episode in my head.  I hope you have enjoyed it and perhaps benefited from my observations.  If anyone out there has a cure for what ails me PLEASE drop me a line!

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Responses

  1. Perhaps you don’t think you have resilience, but I see a good bit of it in you, along with endurance/perserverence, stubbornness (in this case, a good thing), inquisitiveness, and probably lots more -ences. However that may be, yes, resilience is a good thing to cultivate and to have, but it might not be the first thing you have to in developing it.

    I had heard about the S. Korean team’s work, as well as the Viagra link. I keep hearing how many chronic conditions start out as a smallish inflammation, and go on to make us miserable in one way or the other.

  2. I woke up this morning to a CBC report on dandelion root tea and melanoma. It began as more heresay but is now in the process of research and proving effective in some cases. I’d say it was worth a try!
    http://www.globalmontreal.com/can+dandelions+kill+cancer/6442582821/story.html

    I am sorry you have found all these lumps and bumps, and I hope at least half (and hopefully all) are benign. I agree with Marina that you show considerable resilience. Maybe not to depression but certainly to surviving cancer. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

    I may take up dandelion root tea myself … not sure what that tastes like but if it can cure cancer perhaps it does other good things too!


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