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Boring? What's Boring?

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You should never say that things are getting boring because sure enough, they'll change on you.

For 18 months of treatment for brain cancer, I've had the same routine of bimonthly lab work and monthly chemo with an MRI and visit with my oncologist every other month. The report is generally the same: the scans look good, you should walk more and eat less. But, you always know there's a chance that there will be different news the next time.

Last month I went so far as to say that this brain cancer business was getting boring and guess what happened ... suddenly, it wasn't so boring any more. At my doctor's appointment, I knew right off the bat that something was amiss because my blood pressure was low -- so low that they took it again on the other arm. Then, the report came that my blood counts were low, too.

After 30 years of high blood pressure, all of a sudden here was a doctor advising me to eat salt and cheese and red meat. No one has ever said that to me. I celebrated with potato chips! I paid for it with very swollen feet and, once again, high blood pressure.

The doc kept an eye on me with frequent blood draws and reports that things were going even lower. Last week I got the news that even after a month of waiting and lots of vitamins, my bone marrow was sending me a message -- time to go off the chemo. I had managed to take 16 of the recommended 24 rounds. Now I was being put on a maintenance program of Accutane.

Yes, Accutane -- the same medicine that many teens take for acne. My oncologist assured me that I would be taking a much higher dose than those teens. But the good news would be that, after suffering through extremely dry skin, I would eventually have skin like porcelain, the kind that everyone would want to touch -- no matter that I kinda thought my skin looked OK already. And, being over 60, I wasn't too excited about having people touch it, either.

I asked how long I would be taking the Accutane and my oncologist replied that he had patients who had been on it for more than a decade. A decade? I was counting on being finished with all of this by next April.

So, things aren't boring any more. I'll be meeting face-to-face with my oncologist soon to receive more information. Maybe I'll even be able to recommend a great brand of skin lotion to everyone.

But, mostly, my advice is to never get cocky and announce that your cancer treatment is boring. The fact is, it's necessary. If you're blessed with good reports, thank your lucky stars and the God who watches over you -- all while keeping your big mouth shut!

Read other post by Gail Goodwin


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