Monday, July 9, 2007

Questions for the doc

I brought up the issue of last week’s near-fainting incidents with my program coordinator nurse this morning. “Is this what the doctor meant when she said I’d crash?”

“Not at all. You’re the first to report such symptoms. It sounds more like a hypoglycemic episode. Make sure to eat, especially in the morning, especially in this heat.”

(I love food, but morning and heat spells are not my favorite times to eat!)

“And speaking of eating, are there any guidelines? I hear some say eat soy, others say to avoid it.”

“Nutrition is nutrition. Just eat well. And stay away from raw foods that may be contaminated, like sushi.”

(Bummer! I love sushi. It’s a small price to pay, though, to improve my chances of getting well.)

“What about alcohol? Is that allowed with chemo?”

“A glass of wine or beer with dinner is okay.”

(Sigh… so much moderation… so many things to consider.)

I’m two weeks into my first cycle of treatment and still learning the ropes of what to expect and how to react. One thought keeps surfacing in conversation and in my quiet moments: Apart from the bad luck of having cancer, aside from the devastating connotations of terms like “metastasized” and “stage 4”, I feel fortunate. The doctors found my cancer because they were looking for it, because they were monitoring me. If I hadn’t been scanned every year since my initial melanoma surgery, I could easily have turned up a year or two from now with raging symptoms and uncontrollable tumors throughout my body – not a pretty thought, but it does happen. In fact, most of the deadliest cancers do their dirty work in the dark silence of internal organs, frequently announcing their presence only when it’s too late to root them out.

In addition to early detection, I’m also fortunate to have a dedicated, world-class medical team available to me. Melanoma is not something to toy with. It’s vicious and sneaky and insidious and lethal. I can count on spending the rest of my life being vigilant about smoking it out of hiding.

Every day's an adventure....

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