Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

Is it In Me?

We received the results of my scan last week and the data was mixed. The tumor has partially responded to the chemo I have been on for the last 6 weeks. The doctors have seen some progress but not as much as they had hoped. So, both Dr. Maki and Dr. Singer are adjusting their course of action. The good news is that they have another protocol that they believe will work better. It is similar to the regimen I was on when I started my first course of chemo 4+ years ago. This treatment requires me to be in the hospital for 3 days at a time every 3 weeks. I had the option of trying to receive the treatment from the out-patient clinic but we decided since the protocol lasts about 9 hours a day, the back and forth travel would actually be more tiring than Just "sucking it up" and staying at Spa Memorial for a few days at a time. As many of you know, by now I know my way around there and it's not that bad. Foot massages, music therapy, wi-fi and Netflix on demand make it a fairly cushy stay! So, after a few days of mental regrouping and changing my calendar around, I entered the hospital this past Monday for Round 1. It makes sense that this round began the day after my 39th birthday. For some reason, my cancer milestones always seem to coincide with holidays. My first surgery was right on New Year's eve, my chemo regimens have fallen on Memorial Day, Labor day, Christmas and least this time I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunny day for my birthday before I started. I went to the gym the morning before I came into the hospital and had a great workout and got pumped up to crush this tumor for once and for all. The last song I listened to on my ipod before I left the gym had the lyrics "I'm letting you go, I"m saying goodbye", so I took that as a good omen. The words that have kept on flashing through my mind these past days have been the Gatorade Tagline, "Is it In You?" Do I really have the energy and strength to go through another round of such aggressive chemotherapy? In preparation, I pulled out the copious notes I had recorded during August-December 2005 when I last received this type of treatment. I was such an eager beaver! I had written down the specific symptoms and side effects I had experienced through all 21 days of each cycle. I even recorded with wonder, zeal and a bit of disgust that due to the major steroids I had been given, I was prone to "3 cheeseburger meals" and having a 4th meal quite often sometimes between 2-4AM when I had insomnia and couldn't sleep. Oh, wonderful! Part of me looked back on my history with a sense of admiration. Here I was, such a "newbie" in the process and I approached this chemo with 100% determination. I don't remember the side effects to have been that major but when I read what was in my journal, the memories flooded back and I realized that I had actually gone through a lot. I was so positive and so focused that I had minimized the side effects in my mind. The goal was quite simple...get through this protocol and be done! My spirit could not be deterred. These past few days I kept on thinking, "Do I have it in me" to do this again with the same level of courage and determination as I did 4 years ago? Should I 'throw out' my past journals and enter this chemo with the same naivete and wonder that I had 4 years ago or should I use that data to "plan" for what I will likely experience over the next few months? I realized that sometimes ignorance can be bliss! Knowing too much can create a "self fulfilling prophecy" of symptoms when I may feel very different this time around (hopefully even better). After some consideration, I've decided to live this round with one foot in the past one foot in the future. I will use the knowledge I gained from 4 years ago to be prepared for any symptom I might get. My family and I have already loaded up on the creams, the nausea pills and the cheeseburgers to make sure I am ready if I experience any of the past symptoms or urges. And I have also very much embraced this round as a "newbie", really hoping that I will wake up each day and depending on how I feel, I will plan accordingly. I will only let my past knowledge act as an will not deter me from bringing 100% determination and courage to this battle as well. I will write again after I get out of the hospital later this week.