Thursday, February 28, 2013


The scan wasn't so hot.

Almost all of my little spots have grown just a tiny bit. They are still small, just centimters big, but it's the wrong direction. Damnitall, because this was supposed to be a really good, effective chemo. This is the first time something hasn't worked for me, and that fact has left me reeling a bit. Since diagnosis, we've always had this sucker more or less under control.

So, I met with the doc today to discuss options, and he is adding a new drug to the current chemo I'm taking. It's called Herbitux (sp?) and it makes the chemo work considerably better. I asked him if it makes the chemo work better, why wasn't I taking it before? He said, "Side effects." Oh great. I asked him what the side effects are. "Skin rash". What does that mean? "Severe acne, could be all over the face, or the body, too".  Oh, and "Diarrhea and water retention."


Thing is, I don't have a choice, do I. So, I get to spend the summer as a pizza face. With thin, lifeless hair. But that's all surface stuff, isn't it. I have to be the bigger, less vain person, and do what needs to be done. It just feels like after all I've been through, could you at least keep my looks intact? Please?

I'm still waiting to see what important life lessons I'm supposed to be learning from all this. None of this has changed my values, added perspective, or made me less of an asshole than I was in my former life. People have told me many times that that's what having cancer does for you. (Insert chuckles from Shelly here. They know EVERYTHING, don't they!) Ok, now I sound bitter. I'm not. Just sort of shaking my head over here.

I'll get scanned in two months and if this doesn't work, another option is to go back to the chemo I was on before, FOLFOX, because we don't know for sure that it stopped working (I had been on reduced doses due to surgery). Oh, and now I get to go in for chemo EVERY WEEK.



  1. I love you Shelly! I don't care if you have zits, look bloated or poop your pants...I'll still love you just as much if not more!!! Plus, now we'll be even more like twins! :-)

  2. I wish you could hire a surrogate to sub for a while!

  3. Thinking about you a lot this week. Damn things. You are a fighter. You will prevail.

  4. Damn it is right. So much love to you, Shelly. Thinking of you like crazy!

  5. I second all of the above comments. Love you!

  6. As everyone else has written, I know you'll overcome this too, and I'll bet your looks remain as enviable as always. :~)
    But I wouldn't blame you for feeling seriously angry at modern medicine right now.
    Lots and lots of love to you, Neil-y, Betty and Ro-Ro.

  7. Damndamndamn! I know you can deal with this setback, Shel, but I'm so disappointed. Hope the new side effects aren't too rough. Buffalo is cheering for you.

  8. Check out this post from Lisa Adams (do you know of her blog?) about the stupid things people say to people with cancer. May help --- for comic relief if anything. (link below)

    I struggle on what to say to friends and family with their bad news, though. Maybe bc I'm a doctor and the relationship with my friends and family and their illness is somewhat different? I dunno.

    Wanting to infuse energy and optimism but also wanting to be a realist and a transparent listener. Please tell me when I say something moronic to you....
    love you!!!

  9. p.s. Was my post inappropriate? I hope not. Though I certainly struggle with what to say--am I being too positive? too negative? too cavalier? too intense? too personal? too superficial?

    Sometimes I can't find the right words and say nothing; sometimes I conclude it's better to say something rather than nothing. Anyway, sorry for all past and future missteps. Love you Shel.

  10. Hi Shelly:

    I know I'm delayed responding to this. I shared this with my 13 year old stepson. (his mom had breast cancer and we all keep up to date on your blog) We talked about what it would be like to have different side effects (ones his mom didn't have) - like acne all over. He's got a bit of acne himself right now, which he likes picking tremendously. He said that if he got that side effect, he wouldn't like how it LOOKED, but he'd LOVE picking it. He was absolutely serious in his consideration of this. Make me laugh out loud that he was able to find an "up side" to this and that it is kinda gross to think about.

    Me? I'm just sending you my love and good thoughts.

    Jill Hoppenjans

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  12. Thanks, everyone. Including you, Erin. You have never written an inappropriate comment. So don't worry. I really do feel that it's better to say something than nothing. It helps me know someone is actually out there, reading, and caring. Because this can be a very lonely place!