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An update to my spine met fiasco


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First a short synopsis of events to date….diagnosed at Stage 3b in Sept 2007, received radiation and chemotherapy and had NED results in March 2008. Suffered from back pain for months after that and finally, after PET scan I requested…guess what…spine mets in May 2008. I was devastated and only thought I had bounced back into fighting mode after digesting that piece of news. Then I had an appointment with a radiation oncologist that was really bad and left me with very little hope that these spine mets could actually be effectively dealt with. So I have been down for a bit and really struggled with my frame of mind and how I was going to approach life from here on in…not a place you need to be when you need to be in fight mode. But we all have those times and probably need to go through that process to move on. Thank goodness there are members on this site to help you get through that (you know who you are and I thank you.) Boy, it is amazing what a mind job a bad doctor can do on you. I am honestly getting tired of having to give constructive feedback to these people…I have got enough on my plate!

The plan for me now is 2 big (and I mean really big!) radiation blasts. I received my first one this afternoon and will get the 2nd one on Friday. I was told today, by a much more compassionate doctor that this radiation has a pretty good chance of that killing the beast. And radiation worked for me before, against some pretty big odds, so no reason why it can’t work again. I have been in such pain for so long and I am so hopeful that this radiation will do the trick. I am told the pain will likely get worse before it gets better. But maybe it won’t get worse, can’t always listen to those doctors…I am a pretty tough girl (most days!).

And the 2nd line chemo of choice will be Alitma that I will start in a few weeks time. Apparently it is important to allow a few weeks time between the radiation and start of chemo. Chemo could assist with a flare up from radiation which you want to avoid.

After my ups and downs after receiving the spine mets news I have decided that this journey with cancer is more likened to racecar driving. You are speeding along and winning races, pedal to the medal and you get the big NED trophy. You just can’t lose after that. And then…you get into a really bad crash (spine mets in my case) that messes up you and your car up pretty badly (your mind and your body). It takes you awhile to recover from that, but with the help of some really good mechanics and doctors, you put your helmet back on and are in the mood for some more racing. Right behind you is the evil black car and driver (the cancer beast), he cheats, plays dirty and is really such a pest. You are determined not to let that black car catch up with you. You have just got to keep gassing up, make required repairs and corrections, and keep your pedal to the medal. And of course, after being at your bedside helping you get better after your crash, your family, friends, fellow LC survivors and doctors are now screaming wildly for you to win.

Thank goodness this LC crap can’t beat the spirit out of us feisty survivors.

PS I am actually a terrible driver but do seem to get where I need to after a few wrong turns. And I just love a bit of speed!

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Sandra, Loved the race car analogy but I'm with you on those ups and downs girl. I'm bouncing back from that little dip you and others helped me through recently so I'm offering you nothing but good wishes for this next line of treatment. Hope the zaps today and Friday aren't too tough on you.

Been wanting to tell you how much I appreciate the "When the going gets tough..." and the waterproof mascara at the end of your signature. That was one of the worst things for me, loosing my eyelashes. Without hair, eyelashes and eyebrows, I saw a shadow of myself in the mirror. Vanity at my age (64) is almost absurd but we need to look at the funny stuff to get through this. You're more than hanging in there.

Judy in Key West

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Hi, Sandra, happy to hear you've launched into an aggressive campaign against those spine mets. Looking for great results from the radiation and Alimta.

I enjoyed your race car story. Last year some of us got rather creative using the roller-coaster analogy to describe our ups and downs. Maybe I can find it.



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Sandra sorry to hear about your diagnosis. That must have really been a shocker. We've been there so I know that.

Good luck with the radiation zapping and the altima. If it did the trick before I know it will again.

Everything crossed for you to make it work!


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I had to laugh, just picturing you speeding along in your racecar! You put the pedal to the metal and while you are at it, can you knock that black car into the wall? Spin him out with one of those big fiery crashes and we will all be cheering from the stands.

I'm rooting for you!


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You know I am sending huge hugs and prayers your way!! I know you can win this race!!!! You will be standing in the winner's circle before you know it!!!

Keep up your GREAT attitude!! You have helped me so much and you know I will always be there to help you, my crazy cancer sister!!! :lol::lol:

Hugs - Patti B.

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Tom and I certainly got a kick out of your racecar analogy. I'm Praying that the radiation blasts those mets right into the wall so they crash and burn.



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my sister and I used to have a funny race car analogy/joke when my poor dad caught bad "brake" after bad "brake" post stage IV diagnosis (bad pun intended). You see, it was about that same time that my sister started corresponding with a woman (call her Jessie) whose mother was diagnosed stage IV NSCLC at roughly the same time. Only her mother was a big time responder. Chemo worked great, Tarceva even brought her to NED (!!!).

We used to joke that it felt like we were a pit crew for a race car that was failing badly: our car was in the pit, steering wheel popping off in the drivers hands, one guy spraying gasoline all over the place, smoke everywhere---meanwhile Jessie's car was zooming around the race track, honking at us thumbs up, as we got lapped again.

gallows humor, but it made us laugh at the time. :)

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You are right Judy...no need to go down that path again, although it was somewhat amusing. Carole, I usually rely on my kids to set me on the right path, but if they are not there and I don't work it out then I will eventually stop and ask directions...but I have a very stubborn streak, a trait that can be quite nicely exhibited by both sexes!

keep on having fun ladies...

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