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I saw the oncologist yesterday and wound up having a good cry in the office. That happened when he mentioned the possibility of trying the Navelbine again and then got a call that he had to leave the room to take. It actually gave me the time to collect my thoughts and be able to explain to him that, while I don’t get deathly ill and wind up in the hospital with side effects of Navelbine and other chemo regimens, I do feel just awful.

For five of seven days in a Navelbine week I simply can’t get comfortable - not in any position, not even for five minutes. Off chemo if I manage my pain meds and my meals just right I can sit and talk or sit in the car or sit at my desk for unlimited periods of time. I can interact with family and friends. I can work on a quilt. I can enjoy a movie. I can laugh. So when he came back in the room I explained that to him. I explained that I would deal with the Navelbine if there were a REASONABLE chance of a SIGNIFICANT response and SIGNIFICANT increase in survival.

That’s not what Navelbine offers, though, so I’m done with it. The only drug approved for my cancer that we haven’t tried is Gemzar (gemcitabine). The most prominent side effect is low platelets. The usual schedule is weekly for three and then off one, but the oncologist says that counts are usually too low to give the chemo on the third week so that, in this case, he recommends every other week treatment.

Infusion is about an hour. Some people get a flu-like syndrome a few hours after leaving the doctor and, if this includes fever, no more Gemzar. I told him I’m willing to try anything once - so we’re scheduled for this August 18. If it doesn’t find some way to make me miserable it would be every two weeks until whenever. Meanwhile, I continue on Zometa to try to help with the bone pain and prevent fractures.

My insurance is confused about hospice and right now is saying they won’t cover it while I’m on treatment. I really don’t need any of their specific services right now, so I’m OK with whatever happens with that.

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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.

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