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.