Small Price...

I could spend about an hour rattling off the side effects that this damn drug (or combination of drugs) has afflicted me with. I could list the ones that they list on the websites - the common ones and the uncommon ones and whether or not I have experienced them and to what degree. I could list the ones they tell you about on the message boards that they don't tell you on the websites, and whether or not I have experienced them and to what degree. I could list the ones that I never read about, but seem to experience anyhow - but who knows to what degree. I could even list the ones that I probably haven't even TOLD anyone about, because at a certain point, it becomes either too much information, or falls into the "who really cares" category.

Sure, I could do that. It might even be morbidly fascinating.

Here's the thing.

I could make a list, check it twice, wrap it around the living room, puree it and feed it to the dogs, and the bottom line is that the immediate result is still the same. It's tedious. It's exhausting. It's frustrating. It seems endless. At times, it's just plain awful.

At the end of the day? It's a beautiful miracle of modern technology compared to the alternative.

More importantly, it's such a small price to pay for 50 happy years...

Laced up. Still going...


    On December 4, 2007 at 6:56 AM Misha said...

    "It's a beautiful miracle of modern technology..."
    Say what ? It's barbaric, mostly ineffective, cruel and primitive. Chemo nondiscriminately kills dividing cells and probably causes sufficient DNA damage that patients will end up with secondary cancers a few years down the road if they're lucky enough to survive the first incidence. In 100 years people will judge our attempts to treat cancer the same way we now regard bloodletting to treat the plague or swallowing huge doses of mercury to treat syphilis: as ignorant attempts to cure a problem whose nature we basically don't understand.
    Sorry, didn't mean to sound off like this but having witnessed several members of my family being subjected to this torture, I just couldn't resist.

    "...compared to the alternative" is what. Sorry, just not ready to die yet without trying everything I can to get rid of this ugly thing. The attempts to cure the problem we don't yet understand may at times be trial and error, but they are far from ignorant. While I am sorry you witnessed several family members going through treatment, and consequently have become bitter, you absolutely meant to sound off like this. Hey, whatever works. Me? I won't be around in 100 years, but right now, as bad as it gets, I'm thankful to have access to research and treatment that will allow me to be around as long as I can.

    On December 4, 2007 at 11:53 AM Alyson said...

    ya know what Misha? I would rather my friend fight with every bit of medicine we do have than wait for some better alternative to manifest itself. And the reality is... this is working for her. Sure it is killing "good cells"... but would you rather she sit still and let the cancer take over?

    and how do you think that "cure" 100 yrs from now comes to be? It comes from the trial and error and the work being done and the medicines being tried now. I have several friends and members of my family BEATING cancer with the treatments used today. And I firmly believe that with time and research and science and trial and error the future patients subjected to this disease will have an easier time. But for now? For now, I will take what we have to make my loved ones well.

    On December 4, 2007 at 1:10 PM Misha said...

    Alyson, nowhere in my post did I suggest that you should not seek treatment if you think it'll do you any good. I objected to the description of chemotherapy as a "miracle of modern technology". If it were such a miracle we wouldn't still be looking at such persistently high cancer mortality rates.

    The thing is, you conveniently missed the part following the 'miracle of modern technology' comment... COMPARED TO THE ALTERNATIVE. Misha, whoever you are, have you been reading this blog all along? Or just decided to comment when something rubbed you the wrong way? We're all entitled to our opinions, of course, but I don't understand your motives here. Cancer mortality rates are high, yes, but declining, and both survival rates and time to progression are declining the more research and development is done. For the record, the drugs I'm currently taking (assuming you have read nothing but my last post) were not even available 7 years ago when I was first diagnosed, and this combination of drugs has shown to be highly effective, as evidenced by my latest scan results. Besides, Alyson wasn't referring to HER seeking treatment, she was referring to ME seeking treatment. This *is* my blog, you see.

    I am here due to this "barbaric, mostly ineffective, cruel and primitive" treatment.

    Not only am I here.. alive and healthy, but so is my daughter who would not have been born had her mother chosen not to have her dividing cells "nondiscriminately killed"

    At this point my DNA seems to be about the same as it was before...

    Perhaps I was ignorantly treated in an "attempt to cure a problem whose nature we basically don't understand"

    but who the hell cares? I have been here for 10 more years of life. I have seen my infant daughter grow to be 10 years old.. I have brought another life into this world. I've gotten the chance to be a MOTHER to my children-- DNA damaged and all.

    Is the cure harsh? Yes.. but so is the disease. Until you have been in the position to make the decision as to pump your body with poison to gain another day, or to sit back and let cancer rot your body..

    don't pass judgement or even COMMENT on someone elses decision to do so.

    What I want to know is, who the hell is "Misha" and who cares what he/she says?? Obviously, this person has their head up their ass and
    Without the miracle of modern medicine, as barbaric as it may be, I wouldn't be here either, but I am and I would do every minute of the 10 months of treatment all over again to gain another 6 yrs of my life, in a heartbeat!

    On that note, I will just say that Jen, as awful as I very well know this is for you, it IS a miracle, a gift, a blessing and I know you know that and I hope it helps.

    In the end, the good will far outweigh the bad and pretty soon this will be just another *blip* on the radar of your life......

    I admire your strength to fight with all you have and allow us to follow along with you on this journey...
    To Misha, I too have lost someone to cancer-my father...Chemo allowed him to have more time with me, and for that I am thankful...No, it's not easy, it's chemo, not a picnic...Cancer research has come a long way in the past 7 years since he passed...Don't you dare judge someone for making a decision that affects THEIR life, not yours...Please, if you can't keep your ignorant comments to yourself, then please don't read her journal..
    I fully echo what Lisa said-"In the end, the good will far outweigh the bad and pretty soon this will be just another *blip* on the radar of your life"...Very well put, Lisa...Jen, you keep those pretty pink gloves laced up and fight!...xoxo

    On December 5, 2007 at 7:38 AM Misha said...

    Good grief ladies, what did I say that was so upsetting ? And what's with the foul language, Lisa ? I'd say that profanity is never an acceptable substitute for a rational argument. But that's just me. And nowhere, absolutely and positively nowhere, in my comments have I passed any kind of judgment on anyone getting chemo, Ali.
    And Rachel, as a genetcist I can tell you that I would not assume anyone's DNA is fine after chemo. Just google "Chemotherapy DNA damage" and take a look.
    AND, fact is that overall cancer mortality rates, once they are adjusted for changes in lifestyle (less smoking, for example) and for the fact that many cancers are caught much earlier because of better diagnostic tools (PET scans etc) have changed very little over the years. So modern technology has not made much of a dent into treatment of advanced cancers. Anectodal evidence not withstanding. Anyhow, Shawniemac, I am sincerely happy for you that your treatment is working and I wish you a long and happy life. And btw, congrats on Mt Whitney. Being a mountaineer myself I can certainly appreciate the achievement !

    The down side of Jen expressing her thoughts in this forum is that anyone with a GED and a computer can log on and voice their "expert" opinions.

    Misha, I want to thank you, as I now consider you THE authority on genetics, cancer, and all things chemo. I've learned so much--particularly that chemo's side effects are clearly contagious, as the poison injected into your relatives' veins is now obviously coursing through yours.

    Please advise us of your location and your availabilty for future consultations. We'll be on the next flight.

    On December 5, 2007 at 12:46 PM alyson said...

    I knew I loved my friends... and Greg and Lisa.... you made my day with these responses. :)

    how 'bout me? Do you love me even though I'm DNA damaged?

    I'm totally distraught..However, I guess it does explain some things.

    On December 5, 2007 at 2:07 PM alyson said...

    I would love you more, but that extra nose you are growing is so damn distracting... (oops there is that vulgar language again)... that shit (oops! dear me) makes it hard to look at your effing (damn, I mean Darn) face...


    Foul language? Profanity?



    Gee Whiz, I didn't mean to upset your delicate sensibilities there Misha. BTW, last I heard hell was a place the devil lives and an ass is both a body part and an animal.

    Profanity, my ass ( the body part)!

    Get a grip.

    Chemo is poison, but a poison that offers many a chance at a longer life, more time with their loved ones, and a chance to fight a disease that is poisoning their body.

    And I'm glad it's working for you, Jen, because that alternative? I don't want that for you.

    Hi Jen. I saw your post on YSC and want to welcome you. I am touched by your story especially because it could be mine in a few years. We are sisters you and I though we don't know one another. It seems you are in the middle of the worst part of your chemo. Remember it won't last forever - there will be good days again.

    A word to Misha - this is Jen's blog not yours. Please limit your posts to words of support for her. Better yet, post them to your own blog.