I had chemo number three this week. It was much easier than the second (which was absolutely brutal) and I suspect that’s due to the nurse doing a slow titration, starting with a low concentration of the chemotherapy agent and gradually increasing it over time. The second one was fast and efficient — I was finished much earlier than normal — and this week meandered and went late. But the extra hour or two I lost on Wednesday was more than made up in the days that followed.
I am halfway through the six cycles of chemotherapy I’ve been booked for. Sometime in the next two or three weeks, I’ll go in for a mid-point CT scan. I’m not expecting much. I called my nurse today to ask about my tumor marker. The results weren’t ready on Monday by the time I left the oncologist’s office. After two cycles, it is up a bit. My nurse told me this and I said, okay, and she asked me if I was alright, and I said, yes, I’m okay, and she asked me again if I was alright. No, of course I’m not fucking alright. I have cancer and you just told me my tumor marker is moving in the opposite direction I want it to. Stop asking me if I’m alright.
That said, I’m trying not to blanket myself in anxiety. Tumor markers sometimes rise after chemo starts and don’t fall until after a few cycles are complete. Or maybe I’m resistant to these agents and will have to switch to something new. Nothing can be said about it either way right now. The nurse said, I bet you’ll see the number go down after your next visit now that you’ve done three cycles, which means nothing other than that she was trying to soothe me because she thought I was upset by the news. It’s certainly not something I would bet on.
Having recurrent ovarian cancer is like being at a party I don’t wish to attend, switching from dance partner to dance partner without knowing when I will be able to sit and rest, or when the night will end. And these shoes hurt my feet.
Please don’t offer condolences on the latest update. There will be a lot of ups and downs from here until eternity and I won’t be able to bear it if on every down you tell me how terrible you feel for me.