Another Bridge Crossed

No matter how hard I try, I find it impossible to craft a positive post; or, as I often do, spin a note of hope or promise from what I write. I will return you to your previously scheduled, positive programming once I’m feeling a little better.

Truthfully, I’m feeling very sick: radiation poisoning, I suppose. It’s so bad that I’ve decided to restart the steroids (as my doctor gave me carte blanche to do) in hope that it will tame some of these symptoms.

This past Friday (August 16) was my last session of whole brain radiation (WBR) treatment. And surprisingly, it was the hardest.

At first glance, that seems illogical. I should have been relieved to put this behind me. I should have been glad that I no longer had to participate in such a self-destructive, daily activity. And for both of those things, I was (and still am) thankful. Yet that last day was more upsetting than any of the others.

Perhaps I was concerned whether or not I had enough radiation for it to be successful. Maybe I didn’t like the the pressure to ring the cancer center’s bell which would indicate I was done with treatment. (Clearly, I didn’t.)

But it wasn’t either of those.

This was the end of yet another treatment. Number six, to be exact. Here’s a refresher: 1) Xalkori (crizotinib), 2) Alimta/Carboplatin/Avastin (chemo), 3) Gemzar (chemo), 4) LDK378 (clinical trial), 5) CyberKnife radiation, and 6) whole brain radiation. The first four were to treat my lungs and the last two, my brain.

With each treatment, a clip of ammo is emptied, a bridge is crossed and burned. Slowly, I am being forced through a labyrinth which will result in the same dead end (pun intended) no matter which path I take. So completing a treatment is bound to be at least a little depressing, even when the treatment itself was terrible.

There is one exception to the above, and that is CyberKnife. This is a well I can visit one more time, according to my oncologists. In fact, that’s their master plan. For any brain tumors that continue to grow or sprout anew, I will receive this focused, high-dose radiation. And if my “brain lint” doesn’t respond to WBR, a chemotherapy drug specific to it is in the holster. (This assumes the brain is more aggressive than the lungs, and I don’t know if that is true.)

For now, we wait and see. In the best case scenario, my MRI in late September and PET scan shortly after will look great, and I will have a treatment-free Autumn!

There are no pro-active measures to take. Life is to be enjoyed as much (and as expeditiously) as possible. Now is not the time to hold back. Now is the time to live.

7 responses to “Another Bridge Crossed

  • Steve Wright

    I find this past quite inspiring. My brain mri is next week to see if the gamma knife worked, pet scan in for weeks… Life is to be enjoyed now, fully and expeditiously. Thank you for giving words to what I am feeling.

  • Craig

    I’m glad to see from your twitter sidebar that the sterioid was soon helping you feel better, Jessica, while you recover from the radiation series. It sounds like you weathered the storm and can now do a little low stress sailing. Savour good days; I hope that each battle you take on blesses you with more of them.

    Best hopes,

    Craig in PA

  • linnea11

    Jessica, I think you have done a fine job of keeping your chin up, and you are right, each day is to be enjoyed. Some years ago I read a quote from a woman (in reference to her diagnosis) that it was time to get the good china out. I thought that was a lovely sentiment.


  • kimmywink

    Living is a huge challenge when you feel like poo. Know this…the fog will lift in a few months. Life WILL be grand again! xoxo

  • Ed


    Here’s to you feeling better and being able to enjoy more good days! Thinking of you often. Your posts are inspirational in more ways that you can even imagine.


  • Patrick

    thank you thank you thank you for sharing both the medical and more important your feelings … recently swallowed by depression you have snapped me back to focus on outliving this damn DX

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