Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Is it worth it?"...

Her back was painful yesterday, and she noticeably winced when I was parking the car at the treatment center and bumped the curb (not that hard mind you) and the car jolted a bit. She had taken some ibuprofen just before we left home and it hadn't kicked in yet. She then asked when the radiation was supposed to reduce the spinal tumor so it wasn't impinging on the nerve. I thought the doctor had said about three weeks but wasn't sure.

She went right in for treatment when we arrived and while she was in, Dr. Landis came out to the waiting area and I had a chance to ask him, after mentioning she was still feeling it in the back. He said it usually was around three weeks that shrinkage happens - but he can't tell if it's actually happening. Even though the Tomo Therapy radiation uses real time CT scanning to position the patient, it can't make out the tumor as well as an MRI. So we will have to wait until she gets her MRI - usually about a month after treatment conclusion - to see if it's working.

I told her this on the way home and she sorta broke down, and asked the question - "is it worth it?". She has been pretty frustrated of late and I think this was a general, emotional reaction to all the treatments and surgeries and medications she has had to endure, and resulting insults.  I instantly told her "of course it's worth it", and talked about buying time with good quality of ife and reminded her that the pain is usually manageable with ibuprofen, but she had taken it late yesterday. She is on anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications and took those late also.

We agreed she would start taking those right away in the morning when she gets up, before her 9am anti-seizure and steroid medications, so that they have a chance to work and have her feel able to cope. We recently upped her dose after consulting with Dr. Kaplan, as she has been pretty sad and teary for the last couple weeks. With the proper dose and right timing she will be able to cope better.

Hopefully then she will realize it is worth it. But it does point out how grueling (mentally and physically and emotionally) a debilitating, life ending disease can be. I think she has handled it quite remarkably given the circumstances; far better than I could have handled it. If she needs a few meds to help smooth out the rough spots - no problem. As she has said, it's not that they make the sadness or emotion go away - it just makes it a bit easier to deal with them.

I suspect at our dinner last night to celebrate Casey's twentieth birthday, which was quite enjoyable for lots of reasons - including sparkling conversation - she would have definitely said all the treatments were worth it.

No comments:

Post a Comment