Stage IV: cancers have often metastasized, or spread to other organs or throughout the body.
Wednesday next (14 Nov), I’m having a “port” installed. That’s a semi-permanent intravenous inlet, in my upper right chest, to avoid the difficulty of weekly IV insertions into the arm, etc., and the gradual hardening of the tissue around such sites (which would eventually necessitate a port, anyway). After a week’s healing and a follow-up exam, I begin chemotherapy, cycling a cocktail of three drugs through a tri-weekly schedule.
The following day (15 Nov, tentative at time of writing, to be confirmed Monday), I’ll receive micro-targeted radiation to the metastasis on my brain. So far, this is planned as a single treatment. Subsequent scans will evaluate success.
Waiting rooms in cancer centers offer a number of free publications (many published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a.k.a. the US CDC) containing advice for patients. It appears that emphasis in the discussion of cancer treatment has evolved toward “quality of life” rather than “cure” (prevention and cure are still, of course, the thrusts of research). The point is: Don’t rely on the chemicals — your quality of life is yours to control, not the medicine’s. The three suggestions I find to be most important are:
EAT — I weigh approximately 10 pounds (5 kg) less than the optimum weight of my slightly younger years — and 25 lbs below the most I’ve ever weighed — and it continues to decline. The oncologist told me, “everything that a cardiologist will tell you to avoid, oncologists want you to indulge in.”
EXERCISE — which I do almost none of, exercising my brain instead through hours spent in front of computer screens at work and at home.
EXPRESS — Cancer counselors encourage their patients to keep a diary or journal, or a blog; that, at least, I’ve got down already. As said before, most of the people who I know, admire, respect, and care about are, themselves, expressions of personalities I have never met face to face (and likely never will)… The way to reach them, and for them to reach me, is through this blog, and Twitter. It has worked marvelously so far, and I cann0t ever be grateful enough for the support received. <3
Thus: the evolution of “Like it Is” to include more of the organic me, while trying to maintain the connection to the virtual worlds I know you all from. It will, by necessity, remain pseudonymous — the most important person on the planet reads it; she is not also an avatar, she knows the name in my wallet, yet she, too, calls me “Lalo” :)
I hope, soon, to be reporting from the pixel side — for instance, Inara Pey blogged about “The Garden”, an immersive game-space sim in Second Life (created mainly by Salome Strangelove) which has me so intrigued that I may, for the first time ever, indulge in such a pastime. Also, Alizarin Goldflake has a new art installation, “The Niagara River”, opening soon in InWorldz; everything Ali does is a must-see.
And of course, I’ll continue to update my physical news as it happens.