When a pharmaceutical company tells you they "aspire to cure cancer", do you really believe them? Color me a cynic, but wouldn't that be the worst business model ever? You'll have to forgive my attitude. I feel like I'm bipolar today, going from disappointed and letdown to inspired and motivated to frustrated and scared, and then back again. I just learned that my mom may need to go through another transplant, and before Christmas too. This has NOT made me a happy camper. And while I realize that this is the case for many others, that doesn't change the fact that it completely fucking blows. To go through that procedure AGAIN!? How did this day go from hoping everything we've done would be enough to wash, rinse, **REPEAT**?! And to clarify on my previous post, I knew something was off with my mom's biopsy numbers... And now I know why. Her most recent biopsy before the last showed 16% and from that time to transplant, it went UP almost 10%! TEN!!!! I knew we should have tried more chemo before collection, but our doctors insisted that that wouldve damaged the stem cells. And I'm sure they were probably right, but I feel like something else could have been done... So now, our predicament now is whether or not to go with a transplant (time is of the essence) or continue with treatment. With Thalidomides new availability in Canada, I want to say treatment. But would that be best? Lost and Confused...
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
After a week of painstaking agony and stress, the results of the biopsy have finally come back. The percentage of myeloma cells now present in Mama Bear are about 12%. Definitely not what we were hoping for. I think I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say we were disappointed. After SUCH a huge procedure, our hopes were that it would be down to zero. So, that was definitely a letdown. I guess you could say we were hoping to get more bang for our buck. Apparently, however, my mom went into the transplant with about 24%. So, it was reduced by about half, which is great. But from my understanding, I thought doctors normally wouldn't proceed with a transplant unless you were 20% or below? Which leaves me a bit confused, as our information seems to be a bit contradictory... It's not that i'm not grateful or anything, because 50% is huge. But I was really really hoping that the transplant would have been the end of it. Seriously, I have never prayed so hard for anything in my life. To exert so much hope and trust into something, and then to have results come back with... not the best results, it puts you into a bit of a slump. Sometimes, on this journey, you grow weary of constantly trying to be grateful. Sometimes, you just want a damn break. Sometimes, you just want to have a bad day. Today would probably be one of those days... But i'm **trying** to look at the bright side, because 50% IS a lot. I'm trying to keep myself busy with school and everything, because I really don't have the time or energy to mope. So.. CHEERS to a significant reduction! Because the important thing is that the myeloma cells went down. That's all that matters. One woman we know, her biopsy showed only a 1% decrease post-transplant, which i'm sure, must have been devastating. But after a few additional rounds of treatment, she was able to get to a place where her myeloma was untraceable. I realize that getting down to 0% after a transplant, depending on where you start, is not that common (which actually makes me question the validity of this procedure...). And truthfully, at the back of my head, I had a feeling that we wouldn't get down to zero, just because of how high we started off at. Granted, the path of those impacted by cancer are filled with many highs and lows. And so far, our highs have outnumbered the lows. We have a lot to be thankful for, compared to many others. SO. We'll roll with the punches just continue to chip away, like we've been doing since January, until we get to where we need to be. If we can get through what we've gone through, then there's nothing that can bring us down.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
So tomorrow is the big day. Mama and Papa bear are going into the clinic to get a bone marrow biopsy done, which will basically tell us whether or not the stem cell transplant was effective. For those of you who aren't aware, this procedure is the best way of getting the most accurate image of "where you're at" because it gets a direct sample of the myeloma cells residing within the bone. Needless to say, i'm pretty sure I can speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we're a little nervous... Since my mom was discharged, we've been living in this magical land that goes by the name of ignorance. Ok well, maybe not ignorance, as we are not choosing to ignore anything here. But after a stem cell transplant has occurred, there is usually a period afterwards where you go medication-free and just focus on recovering, on healing. It's been absolutely amazing, almost as if nothing ever happened. As if our lives had returned back to normal, whatever that means anymore. But subtle hints, like my mother's lack of hair and an ever-present cloud hovering above my head (although small), show that reality exists, and gives this dreamscape away. Ignorance truly is bliss. The truth is terrifying. If I could stay in this moment of not knowing forever, I would be satisfied. But alas, the world does not work that way, and we all must come to face reality sooner or later. Whether that is a good or bad thing remains yet unseen. Sometimes, the truth is a hard thing to face. Yet we all manage to derive strength from within in order to do so. I will be honest, since the transplant, not a day has gone by where I do not think about the mortality of my mother. I have gotten better over time at ignoring or shunning these thoughts to the recesses of my mind, but that does not mean it isn't easy, that it doesn't cause me great pain. I don't think my brother, or even my father sometimes, realize to the full extent of what we have gone through and what may lay ahead. A blessing indeed, to not be burdened with such thoughts. Or maybe they do, and they just don't show it. I try my best not to. But there are times where I feel the lessons we've learned, such precious lessons, have already been forgotten among them. I hope not, because those are lessons that no one should have to re-learn. Since the transplant, I have literally prayed every.single.day for the same thing, hoping that they be heard by someone above. That this transplant, and all the treatments beforehand, be all that my mother needs in order to obtain a strong, sturdy, everlasting remission until a cure is found for her, that will work for her. Every day I have prayed for this, and the general well-being of those close to me. Every day. I have never prayed so much for anything in my entire life. And so now, here we are already, turning the page of a new chapter that will hopefully be filled with good health, hope, and happiness. Tomorrow is the day, and I am praying with everything i've got. Please pray for us.