Sixty percent

I went for chemo this morning but after meeting with the nurses and doctors and sleeping on a chair for two hours, they sent me home without dosing. I lost too much weight this week (3.4 kilos) and I was too physically exhausted by the dilaudid withdrawal for them to want to push forward. This means I’ve only managed to complete 60 percent of this new treatment so far. Actually, less even, since I’ve had to drop one of the two trial drugs. All while on a trial that is supposed to cause less side effects than regular cytotoxic chemotherapy. Interesting note — cytotoxic drug trials and development is way down. In fact, I don’t think there are even cytotoxic drugs in development for ovarian cancer and triple-negative breast cancer (which behave more similarly to each other than triple-negative breast cancer acts like other breast cancer), outside of finding developing better delivery systems of existing drugs in an effort to reduce side effects. Cytotoxic therapy is the chemo we all think of when we hear “chemo” — it’s the stuff that kills the cancer cells and the healthy quick-dividing cells, like the stomach  lining and hair follicles, etc. Cytotoxic therapy is sort of a scorched-earth approach to cancer and it’s actually pretty effective for a lot of cancers, but not others like ovarian and triple negative. Ovarian manages to outsmart pretty much all the cytotoxic agents eventually, which is why it’s nearly impossible to cure after recurrence. Which is why all the drug development now is in targeted therapy, which works at turning on and off specific protein pathways in cells to prevent cancer cells from being able to divide while limiting and minimizing damage to other cells in the body. But you can still have bad reactions to these targeted therapies like I did with the temsirolimus, so they aren’t perfect.

All of that is to say that if I ever recover from being knocked down by that very first dose of temsirolimus, the AMG-386 should hopefully halt my progression without my feeling like shit. I’ve felt bad more days than good for so long now, it’s hard to imagine that time coming.

When my nurse sent me home, she said to work on eating and gaining some of the weight back. I told her I didn’t know about gaining it back, but I could try not to lose any more. It should be okay, I said, I mean, I was able to eat a grilled-cheese sandwich this morning. I looked in my bag. Okay, half a sandwich. But I drank a chocolate Ensure on my way up here this morning. My nurse kind of grinned and said, I noticed. I laughed. Yeah, I guess things are pretty bleak if I willingly turn to the Ensure. 

I gave the dog the other half of my sandwich when I came home, then crashed on the couch for three hours. When I woke up, I realized I didn’t get the needle taken out of my port before leaving the hospital. I’ll have to go back to get that done, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow.


About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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