side effects have been reported

So I finally did see the doctor.  As usual, my procrastination and fear of bad news bit me in the ass, and I’m back here to say that more changes are ahead.

The fulvestrant hasn’t been working for the last few months.  Initially, it was working very well, and then in September the bloodwork figures started creeping back up.  The situation was not helped by my oncologist leaving last fall, nor by our vacation.  The result was a one-month break from treatment and a lot of lost ground and some considerable fat off my body.

My appetite has been bad.  My anniversary ring is threatening to slide off my finger and I no longer have pants that fit.  Most women would be thrilled at this development, but all I can do is gaze at food and wish that I wanted to eat it.  I have a coconut cream pie in the fridge right now and I’m hoping to eat it later, if I don’t fall asleep too early.

I’m not doing well emotionally, and I don’t like sharing that.  I feel like I’m supposed to be a beacon of hope and good vibes to people who read this blog, but right now, I’m a little lost.  Especially because I felt good and thought things were okay.  I chalked my weight loss up to my activity at work without really noticing that I barely ate most days.

When I finally reached my doctor on the phone, he sounded shaken to the core.  I can’t figure out if it’s because he’s young (he’s my age) or if the situation is really that bad.  I remember the day I was diagnosed and the sound of my then-doctor’s voice.  It was the same.

I’ll be getting a new chemo drug in pill form. My doctor says that the side effects are minimal and that it’s been effective.  Sounds simple.  Too good to be true?

February and March have been crappy months for me the last few years.  The anniversary of Mom’s passing is coming up.

Grief never really ends.

World Turned Upside Down

After getting the news that my prognosis had changed, Ryan told me that he would do his best to allow us to check as many items off my bucket list as we could.  We went to New York City two years ago, and this year we elected to do a kind of American Revolution tour.  We’d visit Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., stopping in New York again briefly to catch Hamilton.

We had a great time, but the best discovery was that I just love traveling with Ryan.  He has a knack for plotting visits and making plans.  When I’m feeling worn down, he doesn’t mind taking it easy.  He gets just as excited about things as I do.

We flew into Boston but did a quick turn around to Washington.  We spent a whole day at the Smithsonian museums and didn’t even scratch the surface.  We ran into a demonstration across from the White House.  Washington, at first glance, is hip and younger than I anticipated.  I also didn’t expect as much city, weirdly. We stayed at this hotel called the Pod, which boasts small rooms and fewer bells and whistles.  It turned out to be just what we needed.

After that, we were off to Philadelphia.  We took Amtrak, which I had never done before, believe it or not.  It had been a long time since I’d seen that part of the country and seeing it in the autumn, with all the bare trees and signs of winter coming on, was lovely.  In Philadelphia, we did the Liberty Bell (which was quite small, actually) and the tour of the historical buildings.  Ryan had managed to snag not only tickets to Hamilton in New York, but also to the last show in Philly.  We caught the show and headed straight to the train for New York.

I really fell in love with New York.  Alas, we were there just long enough to see the show and then got on the train to Boston.

Boston was my favorite. Our stay was cut a little short because of the detour to New York, but that’s okay.  We were in town long enough to do the Freedom Trail and a great dinner on the North End.  Boston is incredibly beautiful.  I remember very little of Massachusetts from my childhood.

I’m hoping that for our 25th anniversary, we can go to England. It’s been my #1 bucket list item since I was a child.




Life is continuing.

I’m glad you’re still reading.  I like writing and sharing but sometimes it’s hard to open up about my illness.  I’ve said that before but now that my cancer is metastatic, I feel sometimes like I’m being pursued by something horrible with claws and talking about it wakes it up.  I feel like if I ignore things, it’ll go away, which I know is very unhealthy.

Today all the stuff I usually sweep under the rug came crawling out, rushing toward me in a big way, and I started crying at breakfast, convinced I was having an emotional breakdown.  A song playing on the restaurant’s PA reminded me of the day I had the biopsy, and I was also reminded that it’s coming up on the second anniversary of losing my mom, and I just started blubbering.

So I’m here, hoping to gain some clarity.

I miss my mom like crazy.  She was my confidante and my conscience, letting me know when I was being ridiculous.  She loved me exactly for who I was, never judging.  Nobody will ever love me like she did.  It hurts so much when I realize that I can’t call or text her.

I so need to see my doctor.  Isn’t it crazy how someone could be afraid to see someone who is trying to help her?  I’m not even having a particularly hard time with the treatments.  I’m getting a new treatment, basically a shot in each hip once a month.  There are some signs of progression in my bones, but not much.  The bloodwork has been improving overall.  I just had a rough patch last summer when I was experiencing pain.  I’m also on Ibrance.

Sometimes, the kids will all end up in the room while I’m relaxing or reading or whatever and we’ll all sit around and talk about nothing in particular and laugh.  Those are the times I live for.  I feel thankful that I still have them.  They are doing so well.  Kate is graduating from college and Zac from high school.  I know they all love me.

I’m still working.

I like work.  It keeps me going.  I’ve met great people.  My best days at work are when I’ve truly helped someone.  I had a customer the other day ask for a hug after I’d helped her.  She was a young woman, trying to patch a hole in a wall, and I had a suspicion about how it got there, but I didn’t ask, and her relief told me a lot of things.

Every single person I know at work makes things better.  I am friends with all of my coworkers.

Except for one.

When I know that I’ll be working with this particular person, I literally feel sick to my stomach.  This person makes me feel like at best, like a naughty third grader, and at worst, like gum on the bottom of a shoe.  I realize that there are horrible people at every workplace, but this person has the power to not only get under my skin, but also ruin everything for me.

I’m good at my job. I kick ass. I work with good people at a good company. I know I shouldn’t let one person ruin a good thing but the dread I feel on the days this person works is so visceral.

I’ve gone to HR about this person. Many others have cited this person in their exit interviews. I know this person drives turnover in an already tight job market.

I guess this is the downside for a company that’s loyal to all of its employees.