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Chugging Along: 17 Months After Cancer Diagnosis

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Seventeen months ago I didn’t expect to be here now, but here I am! Even though I will be going in for Gemzar on Tuesday, the majority of my cancer treatment is symptom control at this point - fine tuning what meds and when will keep me as pain-free, nausea-free and alert as possible.

I spoke to the oncologist about Ibuprofen and its antiplatelet activity and wondering whether we should switch to another non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) but he didn’t think so. He feels all the NSAIDs cause poor quality platelets, which aggravates the poor quantity problem with the Gemzar so he says we’ll just watch it. If the Ibuprofen causes problems we’ll back off on it and add Tylenol and increase narcotics for a while.

Speaking of which, pain has been well-controlled on 20 milligrams of oxycontin twice a day with 5 milligrams of oxycodone as needed (usually once or twice a day) until I fell in the kids’ bathtub on Monday. We’re using that one because ours was leaking so it had to dry for a few days before being re-caulked.

The kids’ shower has no nonskid material on the floor and I took a good header. My right elbow is bruised but pain-free. My neck hurt immediately but then went back to its usual state, but my left hip and low back have been unhappy - not quite as bad today, so I think it’s muscular. I did tell the oncologist and we agreed to just watch things for now. I’m on Zofran during the day for nausea and Ativan at night and I seem to be holding my own. Oh, and there’s a new mat in the bathtub.

My nonclinical work has proven to be interesting and time-consuming. The entire policy manual for the institution has to be reviewed and revised every year and keeping up with Connecticut statutes is always fun. H1N1 flu continues to entertain everyone and running the quality improvement program for our medical staff is perennially like herding cats. It’s keeping me busy and distracted but is not too taxing, physically, so just right for my life as it is now.

That’s pretty much it for now. Send good thoughts for our shower to stop leaking and that the Gemzar is gentle on me. More next week.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.