I’m at University of Colorado’s massive Anschutz hospital campus right now, in the infusion center, hooked up to the IV, getting the pre-meds, and the chemotherapy of Doxil, Carbo, and Avastin.
My labs came back looking much as expected, generally. Blood counts are low, etc. And my CA-125 is down to 45. That is just outside the normal of 0-35. So this is good news, and this round of chemo should do it. A fourth is scheduled but I told my doc I didn’t want to do it if we’re that close to normal. This stuff is so toxic I don’t want any more than absolutely necessary.
So I’ll be hanging out here for a couple of hours, and then I’ll be heading to DIA, to catch my flight to Vancouver, in order to continue with other treatments.
This time I’ll be doing both local-regional as well as whole body hyperthermia. The latter is scheduled for Thursday. I’m, frankly, dreading it. So, if any of you feel like supporting me from afar with prayers, positive vibes, good energy, etc., I will gladly accept your help. It involves being heated up to a fever level and maintaining that for hours. The benefit is that cancer cells don’t like heat, and will die at a lower temperature than normal cells. Heat also does something to the outer protein shell of a cancer cell, puts up a flag, and makes it more visible to the immune system. The benefit of whole body hyperthermia in that case is that it will affect cancer cells anywhere in the body, which is an important way to treat potential metastasis. Other treatments I’ll be having while there include increasing doses of IV Mistletoe, as well as IV Vitamin C, and IV Artesunate.
Post Treatment NED and PARP Inhibitors
Hopefully, all these together will bring the CA-125 back down into normal range, which means no detectable active cancer. I’ll have a CT scan (or maybe a PET scan) in a month or so to presumably show NED, no evidence of disease, again, and I’ll go on from there.
Dr. G wants me to do a PARP inhibitor pill after this round of treatment to keep the risk of recurrence down. I’m going to have to do a little more research about it. The little I’ve done so far indicates that the point of it is that it prevents cancer cells from repairing themselves, and is very effective with someone like me who is HRD+. However, I’ve also read, that it could prevent normal cells from repairing themselves. And the side effect list sounds very much like chemo side effects, which I’m not keen to keep experiencing indefinitely. Ugh. So we’ll see.
That being said, the Wikipedia article on PARP inhibitors says that the reason it works is that
PARP inhibitors lead to trapping of PARP proteins on DNA in addition to blocking their catalytic action. This interferes with replication, causing cell death preferentially in cancer cells, which grow faster than non-cancerous cells.
Here it talks about HRD+ and PARP inhibitors. I’m not BRCA but I am HRD+. It’s a genetic thing. Which makes me think of the field of epigenetics, that genetics is not the end all be all, but that factors can influence the expression of these genes. These factors might be environmental, or psychological.
Environmental or Psychological Factors
So a part of me is tempted to not do PARP inhibitors, and to really be super disciplined about lifestyle things, all the Radical Remission 9 things + 1 (radically alter diet, take control, follow intuition, use herbs and supplements, release suppressed emotions, increase positive emotions, embrace social support, deepen spiritual connection, have strong reasons for living, + exercise). Taking very good care of myself physically and emotionally might alter the expression of these genes.
Grant and I really put my recurrence down to me getting all hyper and stressed out about money, worrying about long term disability insurance, whether, how, and when to go back to work, getting into fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode, sympathetic nervous system mode, and effectively pouring gasoline and throwing a match at the few remaining cancer cells in my system, lighting them up and using a billows to fan the flames. In the meantime, the long term disability insurance has continued, SSDI has been awarded, I’ve taken a step back from that kind of money/work panic. In fact, I just dropped the whole panicky ball, because it’s not worth recurrence! This article talks about the correlation between stress and ovarian cancer.
I visited a hypnotist specializing in a certain type of regression on Saturday with the aim of finding out more about why cancer has manifested in my life at this time. What else do I need to address to be healthy and well? It was a long session and the short of it was “Experience joy, follow your bliss, Be rather than constantly focusing on Do, take this opportunity to heal and rest, give serving others a break for awhile” as well as “Express and release anger, especially as related to mothering things and creativity things.” So I’ll be working to processing through all that. Generally this means to me, take care of me now, rather than others (can’t help if my cup is empty), and DO. MORE. ART! And relax into that. It feels good just writing that!
Today at Anschutz I had the benefit of a Reiki practitioner to work a bit of magic on me. Deep relaxation is healing, it is parasympathetic, rest and digest. More of that. Less of fight or flight. Except I’m also resting my digestion as I am again fasting before and through chemo day. So maybe tomorrow I can begin digesting again. Looking forward to that!
Okay, that’s probably enough for now. I’m now almost done with today’s infusions, and will be heading over in the direction of travel central (DIA) within the hour. Looking forward to seeing and experiencing more French in Canada, among other things.