I tried to get ahead of spring in late January. I prepped my flower beds with bags of topsoil. I stirred the mucky surface saturated with winter rain. Then, more rain interrupted my effort and I contracted a couple of acute upper respiratory infections. These, coupled with what has evolved into an intolerable treatment regimen, made yard work difficult. The rough patch persisted and I became so tired of being so tired.
Spring doesn’t wait. What is done, is done. I make amends for the delayed dreams of January. I’ve ordered flowers. I’ll plant a couple of tomatoes in the sunniest spot. I hired out the pruning of the burning bush hedges, the laurels, and lilacs. I fertilized the lawn. I play catchup, utilizing the energetic days to spread weed-ex and cedar chips, in hopes of minimizing hand plucking crab grass later on. Spring races away in unfettered growth, but leaves behind a fertile path to follow.
As to that pesky cancer: it has an uncanny similarity to spring with its desire to grow, grow, grow. The drugs act like weed killers. The cancer retreats. Along with it, though, my quality of life declines.
Winter found me reeling from recurring infections and the harsh side effects. I couldn’t tolerate the drug I’d switched to last July. It worked, but I paid a price. I insisted on down-dosing in March. At first, the lower dose seemed to alleviate the fatigue and weakness. Halfway through the month, though, the doldrums re-appeared. I felt shriveled by the meds. Viruses poured through the sieve of my weak immune system. These, along with anemia and increased neuropathy in my feet and hands shrunk my world. Each week, I was either a zombie or a steroid junkie: dull as a stump or perky with unfocused ADHD.
So, recently, I chose to stop taking all meds. I’d had enough. I needed to come up for air. After six plus years on the teeter-totter of various regimens, I’d forgotten what it felt like to be me.
Soon, I’ll inform the new oncologist, Dr. B. The timing is excellent as he began work at Providence, Hood River in March. We will start from scratch to work on another way forward.
Several options exist for MM patients in my situation. They come with unique side effect profiles and a paragraph or two of small print dangers. Thus far, until now, I have breezed through the treatments, tolerating each change. I am hopeful a more balanced plan, suitable to me, can be found.
More numbers in The Drill.
Tagged: cancer, chemotherapy, dexamethasone, gardening, Hood River, Hood River Valley, multiple myeloma, nature, peripheral neuropathy, pomalidomide, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, relapse, remission, steroids, thalidomide, writing