Happy: A Quest for Life After Death

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Younger, more beautiful-looking skin

Although MRI scans gave us something to cheer about a couple of weeks ago, real life has been a tad slower to follow.

Some rather embarrassing ... er ... digestive problems that have resulted from the side effects of chemotherapy have been plaguing Mat for a few weeks now. These have been painfully (and I do mean painfully) slow to resolve themselves, even with the help of yet another batch of prescriptions and a bunch of dietary changes.

That, plus chemotherapy side effects and cancer-related pain, kept us from breaking out the bottle of bubbly (sparkling cider!).

We'll keep the bottle in the fridge, though, because Mat finally feels like life may be catching up to the MRI. A Botox injection, of all things, seems to be helping with the digestive problems. (Mat reports that any shred of remaining pride is now long gone. I, on the other hand, was tempted to ask the colorectal surgeon if she could do something about my crow's feet while she had the syringe out, but I restrained myself.)

Even better, Mat has a strong suspicion that his tumors are starting to shrink. He's feeling a bit less back pain, and has more of an appetite, which are indications that the tumors pressing into his spine and stomach are smaller. Yay!

Now if Mat could just get past the chemo nausea and gain back about 20 pounds ... never mind. We'll take what we can get.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cautious Optimism

Results from the scan are in: Dr. Dave is "cautiously optimistic" that the Torisel is helping! The largest tumors in the liver and lymph nodes did not grow over the last two months. This is good news by itself, since there was a lot of growth in the months before that.

But EVEN BETTER, the tumor cells appear to be necrotizing. In English: they're dying! (How often can you say that gleefully?)

This is where the cautious optimism comes in: if the cells are dying, the tumors should be smaller by the next time Mat has a scan, probably in early December.

Knowing the Torisel is working made it a little easier for Mat to suit up for another round yesterday. If only it were making it a little easier for Mat to get out of bed today ...

The days between a scan and the results are usually a stress fest at our house. This time around, we skipped that party and went to Maine, where friends from our congregation kindly let us use their vacation house.

It was blissful. We watched lobstermen pull in their traps, petted a shark, played in the water at the beach, and ate transcendent lobster rolls.

We are now officially New Englanders.