Back to Sunnybrook for my third and last chemo session. We go through the familiar routine of checking in, getting blood work done, then a visit with the triage nurse to review the results. We already knew from my second chemo session that I was not physically handling the side effects of chemo well, so we waited with anticipation (and a little trepidation) to see what today’s blood tests would reveal.
It was definitely not good. My blood results, in particular white blood count, magnesium and calcium, were so far off the norm that any hope for the third chemo session as scheduled would be dashed.
There could never be a third chemo session. By the time my blood work might return to within tolerances, the radiation would have been done. Chemo works with the radiation, so no radiation, then no chemo.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or not. I was dreading the nausea after how much I experienced it after the second session, and I knew this time would be even worse.
But even though my stomach was doing a little happy dance at not having to endure that again, my heart was aching. I wanted every possible weapon in my arsenal combatting the cancer even though I would experience worse side effects, and now I wouldn’t have the chance.
A meeting with the chemo Oncologist put my mind a little more at ease. He said that many patients don’t get the third treatment for reasons much like my own. He also explained that the first treatment is the most effective, the second treatment is somewhat effective, but by the time the third session rolls around the effectiveness of it is less than 1%.
Less than 1%.
He went on to explain that studies are now underway to determine if the third treatment is even necessary at all.
I felt a little better, but there was still that little niggle at the back of my mind, the “what if’s”. My angst was stubborn and hung on, but even though I didn’t have the last chemo session to help me in my fight, I was determined that I wasn’t going to give up. This battle might have been lost, but the war was still on.
After yet more transfusions as a result of the blood tests, I continued on my with my daily radiation session, wondering if “less than 1%” would have been just enough to make a difference in the success of this war, or not.
Next time: My last radiation treatment!