Friday, August 26, 2016

O.K. So what we need is a new plan

So, this is how it is now.

The new form of chemotherapy that has been added to my regimen made me sicker than ever this time. I was laid flat from mid-afternoon Monday until early Tuesday evening.

It was very unpleasant. I slept off and on between bouts of being sick, and even the sleep was filled with bad dreams that made little sense, but left me feeling worse all the same.

While this has been going on, we wait for the results of my blood work. Specifically my light chain proteins to see if the wretchedness I feel has some value if the number has dropped.

Wednesday morning the doctor's office called to say that not only had the number gone up, but it was the highest single spike since I went out of remission. It went from 38 to 58.6. As I've said before, I don't really know what the numbers measure, but I know that having the number increase is bad.

And now the waiting revolves around what we do next. I was hoping we would discontinue the new drug because even if it had brought the number down, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to deal with the side effects on a regular basis. The doctor wasn't sure he wanted me to do that either.

Sheri and I confess that the news is distressing, but what is there to say, really? Yes, the fear is ratcheted back up again, but... We always do better when there is a plan. Being fearful and worried is unavoidable, but focusing on it generally just makes us more of each.

But, when we have a plan to knock the number back down and get back on top of this? Yes, the numbers for the moment remain unchanged, but hope and faith are better to focus on. Besides, doing something is almost always better than doing nothing.

As I consider exactly what it all means, I realize that my thinking has once again undergone a shift. What I'm about to write may be a bit much for you, but it something I need to say out loud. Why? Because I have always written what I need to write.

Understanding that death and cancer go hand in had doesn't make any of us akin to a rocket scientist; even in this day and age when being told you have cancer is no longer like receiving a death sentence. Heck, when I was undergoing the CAT scan that determined I had multiple myeloma, the technician said, “Even if you have it. Cancer is no longer a death sentence.” 'Nuff said.

But what about dying of cancer? To be cold and clinical, what about the process? Multiple myeloma is a tricky little spud. Yes, it attacks your immune system. But what does that feel like, exactly? I just went through a horrific period where I had an infection that almost put me in the hospital. Is that it? Is that what will happen?

And, yes, it attacks my bones and can create lesions. My bones hurt quite often, that's for sure. But do sore bones kill you?

And then there are the proteins which can lodge in any of my major organs. What is that like? Have I already experienced it and didn't know it?

As I've written before, bar being hit by a bus or any of the other deaths we're all susceptible to, it's most likely I will get some kind of infection that I won't recover from.

One of the things I feel grateful for is that I am very unlikely to keel over someday. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel, no matter what, I will have time to deal with it all. People with severe heart conditions and/or stroke issues often aren't as fortunate.

So, we'll wait and see. We'll find out what the next plan of attack is and get after the disease again. It's what we do in our house... in our home.

There are a variety of versions of the story that gives this blog its name. The pony is the constant in all of them. A man is on his way to a party when he comes across a young boy shoveling ass over tea kettle at an enormous mountain of manure. The man asks the child if he wouldn't rather go with him to the party than shovel all that poop. The kid says, “No way man. With all that poop... there must be a pony in there somewhere