What do you do when you get unexpected news?
I’ve lived through hearing the news I wasn’t expecting more than once. If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that to be true.
This week I heard news again that was unexpected.
This time it was different.
This time it wasn’t bad news.
It wasn’t ” you have cancer.” It wasn’t “your husband has cancer.” It wasn’t your father, or your mother-in-law, or your father-in-law has cancer.
This time the news was good-ish.
I’m still processing the news, so forgive me if I seem confused.
First, let’s go back in time for just a minute. In May, I started Taxol. One of the main side effects we were concerned with was neuropathy.
As time progressed, the neuropathy in my feet was getting worse. Since walking is already challenging enough with a lift, the idea of the neuropathy getting worse, or even developing into drop-foot, was something we were anxious to prevent.
From May through September of this year, I had 19 Taxol treatments.
The last infusion was 9/26/23. Officially, the doctor and I decided together, on 10/18/23, that I would not continue with the Taxol due to the neuropathy.
This past Monday I had an appointment with my oncologist. I went into the appointment with the expectation of discussing “what’s next.”
I am starting my 14th year of riding this same roller coaster.
Sometimes there has been new construction, and new loops or twists have been added, but the roller coaster has had one constant: I was always on some kind of treatment.
Monday the conversation took a new turn.
After discussing the latest scans, which showed everything to be stable, the discussion turned to what’s next. We also recently had blood work done to determine if there are any genetic discrepancies that would suggest a “best option” treatment.
The report came back without any clear-cut suggestions for a new treatment.
Our conversation continued after discussing the results of the scans and the bloodwork. And while we both agreed the most ideal option would have been another pill, there are currently no new pill options available.
After some back and forth, my oncologist finally suggested we don’t do any treatment. For the next couple of months, I will go into the office monthly, get bloodwork, and see either the oncologist or the nurse practitioner.
If something feels off, I am supposed to call the oncologist. But at this point, I am officially off of treatment for the next few months.
I do not know how I feel about this. I have always said, “I will be on treatment until it doesn’t work and then we move to the next one.” This deliberate, no treatment break feels very odd.
While I am grateful. I am also very apprehensive.
The past year has been one of the hardest. Maybe because it is the most recent when I really think about some of the things I’ve gone through in 13 years.
Perhaps this unexpected news is a great opportunity for my body to recover. Perhaps the Taxol will continue to work for months to come.
Hopefully, I can shine and sparkle while I try to hold onto my unicorn status.
For now, I will charge forward. For only time will tell how this plays out.