There’s a popular saying among knitters: “I knit so I don’t kill people.” Over the past two months I’ve been saying “I knit so I don’t kill myself.”
This paincation has been brutal–thus my prolonged absence from the blogosphere. When that nerve block failed to work in the beginning of May and my back pain began to increase, I knew that something wasn’t right. I found out, ultimately, that the tumor in L4 had progressed in size. The MRI revealed it to look like fungus growing on a tree stump. And a far cry from what it looked like in August of 2012 when I first learned that the cancer had metastasized. And the pain from this cluster fuck of cancer mishegoss? Sixty one days of hell. And counting.
The Tamoxifen stopped working and this lytic lesion was the bell weather. A PET/CT confirmed progression and I had to take a new approach. But you know how it goes, you start a new regime and you have to wait to see if it’s actually working. I got my Lupron shot and started Letrozole in May. In the process of waiting to see if this is working, the tumor is going to continue to grow. It’s eating me alive.
The nerve ablation that I had just under two weeks ago was successful in that I no longer feel like someone has hit my shins with a bat, but the pain is still in my lower back from the lesion itself. So the story is far from over. The next chapter will include targeted radiation to the tumor to finally kill the fucker. I don’t have a choice as this thing has the potential to cause permanent nerve damage, if it hasn’t already. In addition to killing the tumor it should also eliminate the pain.
Even though there was still localized bone pain, I was able to return to the office this Monday. Wheeee! I went home about two hours early, but I was still happy. After all, it was my first day back in two months, I could cut myself a little slack. And I loved being back in the office.
I got hugs from my wonderful and amazing staff and enjoyed making contact with colleagues. Tuesday I was adequate, but as the day progressed I began to feel wonky. I had a follow up with my pain specialist and told him about my increasing discomfort. We both knew that this was from the lesion itself and it was time to nudge the radiation oncologist to get things moving. My doc gave me a new prescription for Oxycodone and I hobbled around the corner to the office of the radiation oncologist. The office receptionist was very kind and took my message and even followed my instructions to underline pain five times and end the sentence with five exclamation points. He hand delivered it to the doc.
I hailed a taxi on 5th Avenue and couldn’t wait to get home and grab something for pain. When I arrived home I added 5mg to the 10mg I was already taking (from a prescription last October–I had one pill left) and barely nothing. I ultimately fell asleep, but woke often to find myself moaning audibly. It was an awful night; all compounded by an urgent call to the pain service that was never returned. Fuckers. (My doc wasn’t on call.)
Among other things my doc told me to double my dose of Oxycodone to 20 mg until we meet again in two days. So far it hasn’t worked very well at all, but I have learned two things as a result: 1) When it comes to Oxycodone, I can’t knit under the influence of anything over 10 mg and 2) I don’t need fireworks this Independence Day because I’m already seeing stars.