Sleepless in OC

2 Jun

I can’t seem to figure this out, this sleep thing.  I am so tired, yet I can’t sleep.  Last night I slept about 3 hours.  Worked a full day, but was falling asleep at my computer and now? Well, you’d think I would be passed out. But, no, I am still awake.  It seems I either get to sleep before 11:00 pm or I don’t get to sleep until after 3 or 4 am and no matter when I go to sleep I seem to wake by 6 or 6:30 am. In case you haven’t noticed, this posting is a whining session.

My surgeon and my oncologist will be “letting me know” whether they think I should complete the remaining chemotherapy now and then have surgery afterwards (which is my preference) OR, whether they think I should have the surgery now and then complete the remaining chemo rounds after surgery.  I do not want to do the latter.  First of all, I have not yet figured out what kind of reconstruction to do.  So, there is no way that I can be ready to have surgery right away.  I have met with only one plastic surgeon and she recommended I see someone else so that I could consider a newer type of breast reconstruction (one that she does not herself perform).  I am still waiting to hear whether my insurance will approve that referral.  Either way, I intend to go back up to UCLA’s Revlon Breast Cancer Center to discuss options.

So therein lies the root of my sleep issues this week.  Got fantastic news on Friday, but now that news leads to another decision to be made and I am just not certain that the decision is going to be mine to make.  It ought to be, it IS after all MY body.  

But, I get the distinct impression that my oncologist (as good as he is) will attempt to railroad me into his way.  As long as his way is what I want, I am fine.  But, I get the impression that he is inclined to send me to surgery first.  If he does this, well, I am flat out going to refuse it until I get a second opinion from UCLA. So, in the meantime, will they let me continue onto my fourth chemo round (while I take the time to seek a second opinion)?  Or will they postpone the fourth chemo round until I get a second opinion?  I have no answer for this and it probably does me no good to even think this way.

But, I am consumed by it sometimes.  And when that happens, I simply don’t sleep.

I do like my oncologist, but he is just that – an oncologist.  He is a cancer doctor – not a breast cancer doctor, or a breast cancer surgical oncologist – but simply an oncologist.  So he sees all kinds of cancers.  And, don’t get me wrong, he is great. He has a great reputation, won specialist of the year at Hoag Hospital, has been known to make house calls to his patients homes on occasion.  So, he is definitely a very good doctor. But, he does not deal in just breast cancer nor does he deal in just my type of breast cancer.

The doctor I consulted with at UCLA for a second opinion before deciding on a treatment plan, is a breast cancer, surgical oncologist.  She does not recommend interrupting the chemo to do surgery.  She was very clear that I complete all six chemo rounds, then have a breast MRI and then have surgery.

So, I am not to keen on the fact that my doctors who deal with all types of cancer (both my surgeon and mycologist) are even entertaining the idea interrupting the chemo with surgery and then completing the the chemo after surgery.

I know that part of my oncologists thinking was that he would not want me to go to surgery completely wiped out. He said he doesn’t know how I will do, that I might we worn out after four chemos and if so, we should stop and do the surgery and then do the remaining chemos after I recover from the surgery.

But, I am tolerating the chemo really well – at least so far. And, I have no intention of being wiped out by the next three. So far my blood counts are all in normal range, like someone who is not going through chemo. And, maybe I am being naive, but, I fully intend to keep it that way. Diet, exercise and My CHOOSING to stay well and fit and up to the chemo are what I believe will keep me strong enough to handle each round and to recover from each round.  

That probably does sound a bit naive. But, I saw my red blood cell count going down with the first two chemo rounds. It scared me. So, I decided I would bring it back up. I visualized that happening. I also exercised more between the 2nd and 3rd chemo rounds.  And, it did go back up and it is now in a normal, healthy range. There’s no explanation for why I would not rebound (with respect to my red blood cell count) with my first two chemos, but then suddenly my red blood cells go back up to a normal range.

So I will just do my best to keep it up and to wrestle – if necessary – my oncologist.  Hopefully we will be on the same page.

One Response to “Sleepless in OC”

  1. Sandy June 3, 2009 at 5:42 AM #

    I think your visualizations and your attitude have a lot to do with your health. Keep it up! And if you need help wrestling your oncologist, I’m pretty sure we can get a posse together. I hope you rest well.

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