I didn’t mark it on a social calendar and it didn’t make the six o’clock news, but I told myself that I’d be deceased, departed, by October 31, 2017. Why, you ask? Oh, it’s simple. You remember when I told you that my plastic surgeon gave me the news, back in the summer of 2016, that I had approximately four to six months left? Possibly a year to eighteen months, if I did treatment? I counted to the furthest point of time and it took me to my expiration date. Halloween, to be exact. I decided that I should give my life until the end of that month. Why not, I thought.
Put a Chemical in My Body? To Buy Some Time? Let’s Do it….
I opted to try chemo. My new oncologist said to me, “You never know what could or will happen”. Now, remember, I had already endured The Gift That Keeps on Giving. Radiation, that is. What did you think I was going to say? The one thing I must confess – I did not clue any of my family or friends in on the theory that I’d be a goner by Halloween. lest they surmise that I was off my rocker. I wasn’t truly convinced that these new chemo drugs would work. Three extremely powerful potions, but….
And the Fun Never Ends….
Over the next year or so, the chemotherapy did quit working and I was convinced to give immunotherapy a whirl. I was getting the sense that I was now a lab rat. I will never, as long as I live, begin to understand this chemical. Grateful, though, I am that it has thus far saved my life.
NOUN medicine immunotherapy (noun)
the prevention or treatment of disease with substances that stimulate the immune response
It’s a love/hate relationship that I have with this particular drug. I’m not a fan of the word “hate”, however…. Immunotherapies normally have fewer side effects than other treatments. Having said this – Normal, in my world? I’m not even sure what that means. It can be quite a useful tool, but in some instances it may suppress the immune system. This is my story – I began getting extremely ill approximately two months after my doctor declared that it was most likely appropriate to give my body a much needed “vacation” from my newest form of therapy. This was just before “all hell broke loose”.
Some of the Side Effects of Immunotherapy May Include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of appetite
- Lower immune response
Note to The Gulf of Mexico – Red is Not Your Color….
A red tide is a higher-than-normal concentration of a microscopic alga (plant-like organisms). In Florida, the species that causes most red tides is Karenia brevis (K. brevis). This organism produces a toxin that can affect the central nervous system of fish.
During this time, Scott and I decided to take a real vacation to Florida. Fort Myers Beach, to be exact. I needed a getaway. We both did, but soon, Scott and I were made aware that the red tide was in. We looked at each other and Scooter whispered, “cancel”? It was almost as if he didn’t want me to hear him say that word. At any rate, it came through loud and clear. My response was a simple, “absolutely not”. Moving on…. The trip went on as planned, but I couldn’t help noticing that I was becoming extremely fatigued. Was my poor health getting worse?
And the Tale Continues….
At first, we were under the impression that it was related to the “Red Tide”. This did not happen to be the case. After we returned home, a trip to the ER was inevitable. In my ongoing saga, I now had an infection on the inside of my mouth and down my digestive tract. The final resting point was my abdomen. Throw in a side of colitis and “Let The Good Times Roll”….
It’s Check in Time….
This is how my three month stay in September of 2018, at what I wickedly refer to as “Club Med”, began. As hospitals and nursing homes were becoming commonplace for me, I concluded that it was time to re-name these facilities due to my ever growing disdain for this – “The Abyss”.
In the End….
Let’s go back in time. November – What a cold month. Winter is coming, but my November of 2017 started out with a “Bang”. Now remember, I gave myself until October 31, 2017. Don’t worry – There won’t be a quiz. I was extremely frightened of going to sleep on Halloween of that year. The “Grim Reaper” was coming to take me away. I didn’t tell a single soul what was bouncing back and forth between my ears. Certain I was, that someone would have me hauled away. “Lock her up and throw away the key.” My eyes opened on a November morning and the flood gates opened. I went into the bathroom and quietly prayed while Scooter slept. “Thanks be to God, Thanks be to God”….