The on-going, first-hand tale of a journey through medical oncology... and what happens after.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Last week, after that unscheduled delay to allow my white blood cells/neutrophils a little extra time to recover, we commuted our way back to chemo-world. And it's taken me a little less than a week to recognize that I am not sure I like that commute. Let's be clear, now, I have had my fill of commuting (to high school, then to college, to work, etc.) having grown up in greater Seattle. And I think I tolerated (even enjoyed) those commutes pretty well. Nothing like having some time alone, in your car, with the music/radio of your choice... traveling at 65 mph, bumper-to-bumper with 20,000 other commuters across the Evergreen Point Bridge on your way to a volleyball practice for the fourth time in a week.

But this last time commuting up to the clinic felt different. To be sure, I am actually volunteering to drive 75 minutes each way (always in traffic, it seems) in order to (a) get the highest quality treatment for colon cancer that I can and (b) to help with a clinical trial determining the additional benefit that a monoclonal antibody (cetuximab) might have over the current gold standard treatment. I do not regret this decision in the least. But I now realize that I am not looking forward to that 75 minute commute, and last week's commute did not feel good to me. I no longer feel completely confident that my body is capable of supporting the treatment each time, though I know that my team of physicians and nurses are carefully watching over my health. I am recovering from the treatments far more slowly than before, and find the tiredness to be unrelenting. And I know that each trip to the clinic is the beginning of another round of fatigue, and interesting GI behavior, and crankiness.

I know that this, too, shall pass. The next five treatments will eventually be over, and I will (slowly?) return to something akin to a normal life. Commuting will only seem to be a hassle again, and something that I am happy to be able to choose to avoid in my life. And eventually our little family may forget how long (and short) this treatment regimen was. But in the meantime, there are those five commutes to endure...

No comments: