Based on CT scan results from last week, which showed stability and slight shrinkage, my onc and I have decided I'll take a chemo break for 2 - 3 months.  We discussed the advisability of this, considering I just started erbitux a few months ago.  I don't want to lose the ground we've gained from adding erbitux.  We talked about possibly dropping everything but the 5fu.  The onc's comment was that because I'm moving next month, let's give my body a chance to get some energy back, and let me adapt to the life changes without the stress of chemo.  He really is considering quality of life for me, not just 'death to cancer'. 

I admit I'm nervous about this break. I'd rather take a break after seeing mega-shrinkage of the tumors. At this point, though, it's been a year since I've had a break, and my body is really tired. So is my spirit. I requested still doing CEA every month, just to know what it's doing. (It has been a clear marker for me since 2007, 2 years post-diagnosis.)  Also, when the cancer grows, or progresses, or whatever you want to call it, I tend to get symptoms.  These have included back pain (tumor pressing on nerves in my back), and stomach issues (tumors re-growing in my colon causing partial blockage).  The CCA conference is in Oct, the tail end of this planned break. So I'm worried that I"ll be back on chemo before the conference, which just makes travel that much harder on the body.  

We'll plan the next scan for Oct, and that's my next appt with the onc. Several months break from bloodwork, appointments, chemo, and immediate side effects.  Sounds pretty nice.  I'll spend that time creating my next home - living with my daughter and her wife, 3 dogs not just 1, a built-in chef (my daughter), and extra help for me at home.  I'm letting go of the responsibilities of home ownership, and it feels great. 

I just really need this break.  So chemo for this week is cancelled.  And I'll just be the diligent patient that I am, and be attuned to my body.  I'm looking forward to feeling better, and having more energy.  Wow - I can schedule weekly activities for a few months!

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Tags: break, chemo, erbitux, moving

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Comment by Don MacLeod on July 30, 2013 at 11:07am

Hey Jeanne

Breaks are important. If only for quality of life. I figure we produce countless cancer cells each day. Most will self destruct under the weight the genetic garbage they carry. My thinking is that if you over use chemo you're just rushing to a point where the only cancer cells left are the robust chemo immune hardcore survivors. So taking a break from chemo & letting hardcore cells compete for resources with the critically flawed junk cancer cells might actually slow overall progression. Who knows, without a chemo crutch perhaps one day our suppressed immune system will wake up to the fact that there is something wrong with CR cells being so far from the colon & rectum and our symbiotic/parasitic cancer cells will lose their protective cloak.

Hold Fast
Don MacLeod

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