I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Terry, today. We chatted about a lot of things, one of which was smoking. He got started on the effects of smoking on our bone marrow. Not good. When smokers are scanned, their bones don't show as much marrow as non-smokers. I told him about the support forum at About.com Smoking Cessation. He was very impressed. He said the reason some people can quit easier than others has to do with their gene make up. Nicotine is more addictive to certain genes.
I'm on top of the world with hope. I've achieved membership in one of the "small percentage ranks!" One I'll take and hang onto. Dr. Terry told me a very small percentage of small cell lung cancer patients get to the brain radiation treatment stage. Most people don't respond to chemotherapy and lung radiation as well as I have, so brain radiation is of no benefit to them. I'm down on my knees thanking God and all of you who have prayed for me and have held me up. This gives me so much hope.
August 3, 2007: I'm nauseated most of the time. Nothing tastes good. I've finally been able to get some tapioca pudding down, and a little milk. Keeping something in my stomach helps. My blood needs protein to rebuild the cells, so somehow I must force myself to eat meat. I have some protein bars but they sound even worse. The leg and hand cramps I've been having off and on disappeared for awhile, but are back now so I know my potassium level is low again. Bananas don't sound too bad. I'll get some and start munching on them.
A cancer evaluation scan is coming up on Monday, August 6. I'm getting nervous!
This next message comes from Michelle, another moderator at the About.com Smoking Cessation forum and close friend to Gaylene. It was posted to the forum community because everyone was closely following Gay's progress through her lung cancer treatments.
- "Hello friends -- It is with a lump in my throat and so much gratitude in my heart that I can tell you all that Gaylene had a great evaluation today!
"I spoke with Gay a little while ago, and her tests showed just the tiniest bit of cancer remaining. Her doctor said that the chemotherapy drugs that are already in her system will take care of it!
"Gaylene has 6 more radiation sessions to finish, and will have to be tested every three months thereafter because small cell lung cancer has a significant return rate and can show up anywhere in the body. That aside, this is absolutely the BEST possible news! Her blood work was also excellent. She is still nauseous from the radiation treatments, but hopefully that will pass soon."
Dr. Cobb was beaming when he came in. He grabbed me in a great big bear hug and thanked me for making him look good (chuckle) and for letting him have the chance to impart GOOD NEWS to a small cell lung cancer patient. The first thing I did was look up and say "Thank you God". Then I got all teary, laughing and thanking him and everyone. In fact the tears are flowing again right now...I need to pause in writing this for a minute.
I've been told that I'm at a high risk for the cancer to return anywhere in my body, so I'll have to get a scan every three months. This is a scary thought. I have a cystic lesion on my liver and also one on a kidney. They aren't changing, but will be watched. I also found out that I have a kidney stone. Kidney stones do seem to run in my family.
I'm still nauseous to the extent that I feel on the verge of upchucking most of the time. There are a lot of foods I can't eat comfortably now, too. Meat is the worst. And the inside of my left ear is extremely tender. It hurts to lie on that side of my head, which is, of course, the side I sleep best on! The end of my nose is one big scab. I was thinking it was a cold sore, but I'm told it could be blistered from radiation treatments. Anyway, it's a real beauty!
My hair started to fall out again today. Just when I was starting to get some real ones again instead of the white rabbit fur hair I've been growing lately. But you know what? I don't care. I have every chance of living now. That's what I care about. The hair loss has never been a big issue. It'll come back someday and when it does, I'll appreciate it like I never did before.
These past few days my emotions have been off the charts. I've literally been crying with gratitude; kneeling to thank God and everyone who has prayed for me, held me up and surrounded me, keeping me safe. I think I'm now familiar with every emotion known to mankind.
I'm getting ready to set out on a new endeavor. My career as a hairdresser is over because my lungs can no longer tolerate the chemicals involved in that business. So, I've sold my salon...and my home. Next month I'll be moving to the western part of the state to be closer to family. Both of my parents are now in a nursing home there. My brother and I can care for them together. Up until just over a month ago I'd been doing that here by myself.
I have to admit I'm nervous about finding a new way to make a living in a new place. Especially at my tender age (smile). But, no matter -- it's just one more challenge. We need challenges in life to keep it interesting, right?!
Page 10 - The Aftermath of Lung Cancer Treatments