Then and now

First, thank you all for the positive thoughts for yesterday.  It was a full day at the hospital and I was nauseous for most of the time (Pavlov would be so proud)!  I got through the infusion without incident and am now wearing my chemo pump until Thursday.  The doc reduced the dosage of the Irinotecan chemo this time because of all the difficulty I had with it the first time around.  We’ll see how well it goes this time.

Last night I was able to take the kids to karate which was great.  Didn’t get a chance to see a whole lot of people, but the parents I saw were gracious with their concern and I had several good conversations.  My best friend Luis was there for a while and we sat and talked a bit.  I find that I get solace just being with Luis and that talking is not always necessary — maybe that’s because we are such good friends.  I am thankful for having his friendship.

As to the title of this post, as I lay awake last night I realized that I was much more flippant about my condition earlier in my journey than I seem to be now.  Part of that can be explained by my sudden disuse of my anti-depression medication.  (It was nothing conscious, but when I stopped taking the Xeloda, I stopped taking the other meds I had been taking in the morning.  I’ve fixed that – under threat of punishment from MB if I do it again.)  But anti-depressants not withstanding, I think another explanation comes from the disease itself.  It is easier to fight of an initial attack of pancreatic cacncer; it’s harder to do so when it comes back.

Earlier in my journey I said I was cautiously optimistic, but clearly I was more optimistic than anything else.  It is easy to talk about dying when you’ve had no new evidence of  cancer for years.  The thought is more abstract as you continue to successfully battle the disease.  When the cancer comes back, though, the thought of dying becomes more prevalent.  I cannot help but think about my friend who died within 6 months of recovering from surgery.  She went into the office for her first 2 month scan and they found new tumors (that was January).  Unfortunately, she passed in June.  Is that to be my fate?  I don’t know, but it’s harder to discount this time around than it was last time.

Quick update from TGen: they apparently got samples of my initial tumor and genetic testing suggests that the chemo I am on right now (Irinotecan) shows the most promise for my specific tumor type (presuming that my new tumor is similar in makeup as my initial tumor.  So I am on the right medication.  It’s just the meds kicked my butt after the first dose.  Let’s see how it does this time around (when the docs reduced the dosage to 75%).

As always thank you for your support, love, and caring.  They mean the world to me.


  1. Hi Merle,

    Thanks for the’s hoping the reduced chemo means less nausea. As always, love you! j

  2. I will keep praying for you– I am glad you got to go to the Karate class and see your friends. It is a nasty disease but some people do beat it.

    Much love,

  3. I suspect it’s also more difficult to retain optimism after years of struggle. This is no longer a sprint, but a marathon. Look for that second wind!

  4. Hi Merle,

    I just caught up – I was thinking about you a few days ago and thought I had better read the blog and see what is going on. Hoping the new regimes do the trick! Sending optimistic thoughts your way.
    - Paul

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