Heuristic Rotating Header Image

Each step is forward

It’s over two weeks since I’ve poisoned or irradiated myself, and I feel as good as I’ve felt in 2014. It took a week and a half for the tiredness and digestive issues from the radiation to mostly fade, and as I understand it that’s pretty fast. My brain is even starting to work properly again. (Whew!)

I still haven’t much stamina, and my yoga practice reminds me daily that 28 doses of pelvic radiation does nothing good for your flexibility or muscle tone, even if you did yoga the whole time. My fingers and toes are still numb: they improved noticeably the first few days off of the Xeloda, but the rate of improvement trailed off over time. It’s still getting better, but frustratingly slowly. I wanted to do some longer walks and some jogging during my “free time,” but numb feet make that uncomfortable and even unsafe. (I’m still walking the boxer a mile or two a day, much to his delight.)

The medical appointment rounds started up again on Wednesday, with a very wet drive to Danville to meet with my colon surgeon. It was three and a half hours of driving (oh hi unexpected torrential downpour), and nearly an hour waiting around, for a fifteen-minute meeting in which I didn’t learn anything much.

The plans for my autumn are solidifying, though. My likely surgery date is September 23, much later than I’d hoped due to the insurance company screwing around, and late enough to jeopardize my World Fantasy attendance. Before then I have a follow-up with my medical oncologist, a follow-up with my radiation oncologist, an MRI, a CT scan, and the third colonoscopy of 2014 (there oughtta be a law!), plus a pre-surgery physical.

The only worrisome thing out of all that is the CT scan: if there are bad changes (tumor growth, or reappearance of the little lung spots that disappeared after chemo), I may get sent back to do more chemo before surgery, or even be declared a poor surgical candidate. So: scanxiety.

On the really good side, though, I had a CEA test this week, the first one since before the radiation.

10. That’s 1 0 – ten. TEN.

There aren’t enough exclamation points in the world for that number. Yes, the normal level is less than 3.5, but at diagnosis mine was 2200, and it spiked to nearly 4000 when I started chemo. It was 42 when I finished infusion chemo, so it’s less than 25% of my previous test. The science, it is working.

So I will continue forward under the assumption that I will have surgery, and it will remove the large tumors, and then I will probably have more chemo to mop up any lingering evil, and then I will be cancer-free and do ALL THE THINGS.


  1. I think with the 3rd colonoscopy you get free sprinkles with that or something. Ask the doctor if they have a customer appreciation program with frequent flyer mile rewards.

    1. Sarah says:

      I REALLY don’t want to think about where the sprinkles go.

  2. Laura says:

    Yay science! {{{hugs}}} Fingers crossed for optimal scheduling, and I can’t wait until you can do (and eat!) ALL THE THINGS!!!

  3. Carol Reed says:

    I am so glad to see this good news! Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with from over here. <<>>

  4. Dr. Phil says:

    Ah, the Dance of the Doctors, to the tune of Slow Play by The Insurance Companies. Learning it well.

    Dr. Phil

  5. Nora Echeverria says:

    That is wonderful news! i hope things work out so that you can get to World Fantasy, i’ll be there this year!

  6. Tamie says:


  7. Janiece says:

    ALL THE THINGS, indeed. I shall furiously hope for a fabulous CT scan. FURIOUSLY.