For the cancerous, the best reprieve is when your oncologist says, “The latest scan is negative.”
I’ve never heard that.
The second-best reprieve happened to me this week. I was girding myself for another three days of in-hospital chemotherapy. It’s more boring than anything else, as the nausea and other side-effects tend to arrive a few days later. Still, entering hospital for those three days does take a lot of stiff-upper-lipping. I bring photos of Robin and Will, to remind me why I submit to this.
However, this time, fate intervened. A routine MRI (yes, my life now includes “routine” brain scans) located a tiny tumour in the back of my skull. Like the three tumours found in the spring, this is not as dangerous as it sounds. It can be removed by a gamma knife — a non-invasive radiation treatment I’ve described in past blogs.
My gamma procedure is scheduled for Sept. 24. On Tuesday, my oncologist told me he wanted to remove any risk of chemo-radiation conflict in the weeks before and after the procedure. Radiation and chemotherapy work toward the same goal, but they don’t play well together, like Al Qaeda and ISIS, or the Oasis brothers.
So he cancelled this round of chemo, one day before it was scheduled to begin. Even better, my next round won’t start until late October.
I left the hospital with a lightness I haven’t known in months. Despite hosting a cranial tumour and postponing life-sustaining chemotherapy, I felt… happy! As Pharrell says, “Raise your hands if you feel like a room without doxorubicin or ifosfamide.”
That reaction revealed how much I dislike chemotherapy. For years, I have assured myself and others “It’s not so bad” and “I’m used to it now.” This week has made something very clear.
I hate chemo!
PS. I didn’t think anything could make me feel sympathy for Rob Ford, but I was wrong. I wish him well.