Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Some News and a Bitchfest

I promised I would reveal what the next leg of my journey is going to be. I thought I would be doing it with a bit more levity, but right now, misery trumps everything.

I'm going to be taking part in an immunotherapy clinical trial starting in April. My medical oncologist apparently had me in mind early on, because my cancer fell within the parameters necessary for participation in this particular study. In a few weeks, I will begin receiving the drug, Herceptin, every three weeks for a year, along with a "vaccine" that is supposed to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer. The reason why I put quotes around the word "vaccine" is because it is a single-blind study, and I won't know if I am getting the actual vaccine, or a placebo.

I promise to have more information about the study when I'm not feeling quite so bitchy. I'll just say that I am very happy to take part in it. Maybe in some small measure, I will one day be responsible for saving a life. If I can prevent anyone from going through the hell that is chemotherapy and radiation, it will all be worth it.

Now, on to the bitchfest.

I'm miserable because my epidermal decline brought on during the last week of roasting still has me cursing like a longshoreman. There's no way to describe it other than to say, this shit fucking hurts. And it itches. And I subjected myself to a pre-study CT scan and cardiac ultrasound yesterday, which was a huge mistake. Drinking about 900 mL of berry-flavored barium suspension was rough, but it turned out to be nothing compared to the unrelenting pressure of an ultrasound probe pressing into my chest.

The ultrasound technician kept remarking that he was having a tough time getting the images, and I was lying there exasperated. When I asked why he was having so much difficulty, he said he couldn't explain it. Mind you, I had one of these back in August, about a week before I started chemo. The technician who performed that one uttered nary a complaint. Yesterday, I was in no mood. I almost went all Brooklyn on the poor guy because, "If you stuck that thing up my ass, would you have a better vantage point?" was on the tip of my tongue. Naturally, the words never crossed my lips, but I was ever so tempted.

So, here I am, 24-hours later, still sore, burning, achy, and cranky. To top it all off, I have a slight cold, which is adding to my misery. And, I got word this morning from a reliable source that Joan Lunden is writing a book about her breast cancer experience. Of course she is. I mean, why wouldn't she? She's Joan Lunden for fuck's sake. Who am I? Oh, just some random schmuck toiling in obscurity in my minuscule little corner of the Internet. 

I know; I know; I shouldn't say things like that. But come on... I have things to say that are just as relevant. And I really can write. There's no ghostwriter all up in here taking dictation from me; there is no interlocutor between brain and fingers. I think I stole a variation of that last line from a "Sopranos" episode.

I don't want to turn into one of those bitter writers who does nothing but lament about never getting published. I used to have a friend/colleague who would post all his rejection e-mails on Facebook. Not only did I unfriend him, I blocked him because I just couldn't take reading them anymore. Maybe karma is smacking me for that, but I don't care. I am trying to keep the faith that this will all work out. It has to. I will not take "no" for an answer. 


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