Red Rock 3, Radiation 0

red rock 3

The triple feature of this past week was a series of consecutive visits from three powerful and beautiful women, Red Rock friends for nearly fifty years.  First  a long and delicious catch-up heart-to-heart with Kathy (McDonald) Ball last Saturday and Sunday.  Kathy was in Ottawa to visit her aunt Marguerite, who is also negotiating with bone metastases (hers, from a yet-to-be-confirmed primary cancer).  She’s the one just to my left, above, in the white tank and pushed-back sunglasses. Next, the arrival of Gloria Nacinovic on Monday.  Gloria came expressly to look after us, and did so with gusto till Thursday; accompanying me to radiation sessions, feeding us delicious stuffed pasta, spanakopita, soup, and salad; taking me and Lafayette both out for daily walks (Laf made it further than me!); and also sitting with me for several heart-to-hearts.  Gloria’s in the front row, right, in the blue tank and big smile.  Last but not least, a visit yesterday from Caroline Kennedy and her partner Diane, in town to see nephews and nieces and on their way to ski and spa the Laurentians.  Caroline’s the redhead in red, unaccountably holding a wine glass (!) second from the left above.

There were also nice visits with Dayna and Morgan, from the office, and with Beth and Craig.  More people looking after us and feeding us so well.

These fabulous women, and other wonderful women and men, made this past week somewhat more tolerable.  I thought I had gone through the worst of the pain flares over the weekend of March 7-8, after the first two radiation treatments.  The pain flared a few more times Monday through Wednesday during the course of the latter three RTs.  Wednesday night was not good:  little sleep, a lot of pain, and 8 breakthrough pills taken.  Thursday morning, after five more breakthrough pain killers, gentle physio, and a drop-off of Gloria to the airport, the pain really took off.  I suppose it was the writhing, rocking back and forth, and moaning, that led Regis to insist that we go to Emergency.

I was concerned, because the pain medication had softened the pain in the radiation sites on my right hip, but I had a throbbing, spiking pain on my left side.  My initial worry was whether there was a new metastases, stones, or infection in my left kidney.  I feel quite protective of the remaining left kidney.   Thus, a two hour wait to be seen; subcutaneous pain injections; blood and urine test; and a further three hour wait for CT scan.

The good news:  nothing is wrong with my left kidney.  Nothing showed up there on the scan; my creatinine, calcium, and white blood cell levels are all good.  No infection, no stones, no inflammation.  whew.

The not-good news:  the right ilium metastasis has increases in size; the associated soft tissue mass as well.  [the radiology report, as usual, provides no numeric details – increase by 1 cm? 10?-hopefully, more info forthcoming].  I did understand that the purpose of radiation was to reduce pain, not necessarily ‘kill’ the metastasis, but hoped that it would also do so by halting its growth.  I also understood that response rate of bone metastases to Sutent is not guaranteed (the only study I found gave a RR of 48%), but again was hoping the one-two punch of radiation + Sutent since my last scan January 29 would have at least halted the growth of this dude.

So, a step down from grieving the goodbye to running, to gratitude that I am still able at this point to walk, albeit with the use of a walker.  I know at some point I may face the destruction of the hip/pelvic bone and resulting immobility.  It’s a wonderful thing, to be able to move around, sit up, visit with friends, eat good food.

Oh, and do radio!  Absent my usual co-host, it didn’t feel right to run the St Urho’s Day program.  Instead, a celebration of the imagination and creativity of Daevid Allen of Gong, whose lung cancer led him to depart this world this past Friday.  Here’s a link to the program, should you care to explore:

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5 Responses to Red Rock 3, Radiation 0

  1. Karin says:

    hi Mary, glad to hear you are surrounded by such love and warmth. wish there was some other comfort that could be offered in light of what sounds like such acute pain. have been thinking of you in my tonglen practice. hope to see your lovely face soon – will follow up about a visit by email. sending a big hug in the meantime.

  2. Len says:

    zero the hero/divided alien/php fans and followers; have a cup of tea! While spring breaks, so too does the news, with the sweet and sour of life. I enjoy good health, but learn each day of others who are fading, some who are distant like Dingo Virgin/Daevid Allen, whom I never met, yet there are others closer, who have impacted my life in various important ways. Some are prepared to go, others not so. Some who know, with age it it is time, other’s who are taken, one way or another, without a moments bother. It all makes me wonder, of the fleetingness of this mortal coil, and while I maintain my personal atheistic POV, it does send me reeling down the corridor of eternity’s hallway, looking for a doorway. Am I an exit-tentialist? There is no way out of this conondrum I have painted myself into, or out of, depending on your POV! I have found a nice tea room here locally though. International House of Tea on Algoma St. Some very nice vibes, and great, if somewhat pricey, tea. LM

  3. Linda says:

    Mary, its wonderful that you have so many great friends to support you. Ken had a similar lesion, quite large at approx. 8x8cm in his left iliac, that he had treated with cryoablation and then cementoplasty. Is this something that you could ask your Onc about? It’s done by an interventional radiologist. The difference it made was pretty incredible. Because the lesion was so large they told us right off the top that they wouldn’t be able to get all of it but they did manage to get enough to improve his quality of life when it came to pain and mobility. I hope the pain flairs have settled down by now and the increase that you seen in the scan was just the result of some inflammation from the radiation. Please take care and know that you are in my thoughts.

  4. len says:

    This spark of life will always endure, whether through ourselves, or those we encounter, or our own offspring, bringing forward our own hopes, fears and values once more into the unknowngness of the future.

  5. len says:

    RE; Last comment, no reply needed, just riffing, milton acorn I am not. BTW google milton maki and you may get a catch in the US!. catch you later.

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