Before the month is over, I wanted to provide an update on life in Cancerland.
I’ve been struggling with the side effects of whole brain radiation (WBR) for over three months now. My wonderful medical oncologist, Dr. K., has been a godsend with his diligence in finding additional options for my non-stop nausea. After Zofran, Compazine, and Ativan failed to completely beat it down, he wrote me a prescription for what turned out to be my magic bullet – Zyprexa.
Given that the drug is classified as an antipsychotic and its primary, FDA-approved use is the treatment of schizophrenia, I was a little nervous taking it. But after doing a quick literature search (which felt good – I haven’t done that in…forever), my nerves were calmed. There is plenty of clinical evidence that Zyprexa is effective for radiation-induced nausea and vomiting. And the medication worked like a charm. I still have to take the other meds with it, but as long as I stay on track with taking them all the nausea stays away.
My hip and lower back have also started hurting since my last post. Sometimes I can’t even get out of a chair without assistance, and the heating pad has become my constant companion. I go in for scans tomorrow to see what’s brewing, if anything. I was supposed to go in last week but Cigna felt otherwise (translation: they denied the first request and it took a call from Dr. K to get approval). I’m not even guessing what the problem is until after the scans are done and read – it could be new metastases or it could just be soft tissue and muscle damage. Sad to be hoping it’s the latter, but I’d rather do physical therapy than more radiation.
I won’t even get into my failing short-term memory, but I’ve got a few stories that I’ll share once time has taken the sting out of them. And when I find my glasses. That I’ve lost three times in the past month.
To end on a happy note, I celebrated my 50th birthday earlier this month (St. Patrick’s Day). Before you think or say anything to the contrary, the big 5-0 is unrelated to the above paragraph. Tim and the kids took me to Boston, and I also had a lovely birthday lunch with my mom.