Because I IrinoteCAN!

I started off the new year and my brand new deductible by maxing it out with a PET scan.

The results were as expected. Not that I would ever assume anything with cancer, but given my clear response to chemo and my constant state of being on chemo, I might be assuming just a tiny bit.

Turns out it was safe to assume this time, as it continues to be millimeter growth with no sign of cancer anywhere else. I was far more anxious for this scan, as I was reading into every little discomfort in my chest; forgetting that it was probably from the many minutes of planks I did the night before. I frequently panicked at random twinges of normal chest aches, thinking "Did I just feel the cancer?" I always wonder when I'm going to start to "feel" its presence.

This new doctor is not looking at that 2 millimeter grown and calling it "good stable disease." Which I like. I don't think he's complacent, and I don't think he's going to try and paint a pretty picture of my slow growing cancer.

I know he wants me back on my dear friend, Irinotecan, as soon as possible. And you know I can't WAIT for that.

As much as I've enjoyed the soft, thick head of hair I've been growing, I'm starting to accept that for now, I'm going to be taking an annual trip down FOLFIRI lane, or what I'm starting to refer to as my annual chemo diet. I mean who wouldn't love the idea of losing 25 pounds every year? I just go about it the hard way.

I'm trying to store up my emotional reserves for the next leg of the journey. I know the toll it will take on my body, but it's a necessary evil in the battle for time.

And now for the finer details.

I won't be on the drug combination known as FOLFIRI, just the IRI part. The pills I'm currently taking replace the FOLF part. I will continue taking my Xeloda pills, and add in an Irinotecan infusion.

In the past, I've gotten a 180mg infusion of Irinotecan every 2 weeks (and gone home to lay in bed for 3 days with that damn pump).

This time, I'm going to be on a 3 week cycle (as I am now with my pills). And on a 3 week cycle, I will get a 300mg dose of Irinotecan. Talk about a doozy.

But we're going to start this race out nice and slow, and I'm only going to get 150mg with my first dose in 3 weeks. The point is to just see how I tolerate it, and up my dose with every cycle.

As it is known to do, Irinotecan will make me feel craptastic, but with the right anti-nausea meds this time (as opposed to last summer), there won't be any throwing up.

My white blood cells will start to drop, my hair will start to thin and my pants will soon need a belt to stay up. I'll move my supply of flushable wipes and butt paste within arms reach of the toilet, and will never leave the house without my nausea pills. I'm emotionally recharged and ready to do this again, kids.


But I Can Deal with It

2 rounds of my new chemo pills down, one chronically swollen foot (thank you airplane travel), some very miserable hands and feet, and I have yet to look back and miss that damn infusion pump. I knew the hand/foot syndrome might be taken up a notch on the pill, but such is this life and the small prices we pay for a chance at living. It turns out my version of "taking it up a notch" and chemo's version are slightly different. Chemo's version, with little surprise, is a slightly bigger notch.

Sure, it feels like I'm walking on broken glass or a Lego minefield with my tender little foot pads. And it's days like these that I'm grateful for cold weather, Uggs and those fuzzy socks they sell for $1 in the Target bins. The more padding the better.

But I can deal with it.

And I'm feeling major flashbacks to my first 12 rounds of chemo with Oxaliplatin, as I have given up being able to open the simplest wrapper, a package, zip up my pants, or button a button.

But I can deal with it!

I'm not sure if it's neuropathy or just the raw sensation I have in my finger tips that gives me the inability to do even the simplest fingertip oriented activity.

But I can deal with it!!

My hands and feet feel like they are so raw and tender at times, it hurts just to touch them. And I probably should have paid attention when my doctor looked over my hands at my last visit and said something about skin discoloration. I wasn't exactly sure what he was talking about, until the fire gods of hand sensitivity rained down their fury upon my palms, and every crease turned an angry, burning red.

Buy I can deal with it!!!

I learned early on that fighting side effects is an uphill battle. I can do my best lessen their blow, but they are going to steam roll you regardless. You just accept them and learn to live life with them. Again, they are a small price to pay when you step back and look at the big picture.

What is that crease of skin between your hand and thumb called anyway?
Just trying to make it easy for the palm readers.


Faces of Blue 2015

Faces of Blue tell the stories of colon cancer survivors, caregivers, and others impacted by this disease. A new story is published each day during Colon Cancer Awareness Month and beyond. Each day puts another face to this disease. If you have been touched in some way by colon cancer, you are a face of blue.

Sound like you? The Colon Cancer Coalition is actively seeking stories for the 2015 Faces of Blue. Come tell your story.

You can tell your own story, or pay tribute to someone you've lost by telling their story. Every day in March, Faces of Blue will share a different story in hopes of impacting lives, spreading the message and offering hope.

If you or someone you know is interested, contact the Colon Cancer Coalition for the opportunity.

If you need a pat on the back, a shove in the right direction, or some encouragement about putting your story out there, contact me for a pep talk.



The day has come when it's no longer a matter of hoping and believing, but a matter of preparing and praying. You can hate me for saying this, but cancer is the victor. It doesn't always win, but it wins more than anyone ever should. And last Friday it won.

And this win hits closest to home.

I can remove myself from my own situation, from the cancer inside my own body - from my own battle. And I can take this time to be angry at your cancer, and what it has done to your body, your life, and your family that I love so much.

Even though I started the race first, it seemed you were the hare to my tortoise. You flew past me with speed, and strength, and positivity, and a pep in your step that I all too often couldn't muster. But you went down every road in life like that.

You cheered me on as you ran circles around me with your treatments, your pain, your disappointment, your victories, your bad news, and ultimately your encore.

I will keep at my tortoise pace, and I will always hear your loud and distinct voice cheering from the sideline.
His last text, which was a complete and utter lie. Things were not good.