Peggy Luckey, or “not so…” – guest post

Recently I received an email from Peggy Luckey who is beginning a new phase of her stage IV colon cancer, a time of uncertainty and mixed feelings.  Below are a series of recent posts documenting her thought processes. She writes at Screw Cancer – I’m Peggy Luckey, Damn It!

April 4: If Easter 2010 isn’t a season for rejoicing, I don’t know what is.  One year ago today, I was about 2 weeks post-op from my cancer surgery, ileostomy placement and still reeling from the cancer diagnosis.  I think the girls went over to my Mom’s for Easter Dinner and Lee stayed back and watched me drool.
What a difference a year makes.

My Mom said yesterday “How do I even begin to thank God for what he’s done for you?”  That’s the $64,000 question.

For today, I praise all of you for your relentless, dedicated prayer and support.

April 7: This is what kept me up in the middle of the night:
I was given a gift, a huge, ginormous, monumental gift, am I allowed to pray for more? What are my expectations to be?  Since I am a recipient of a “biggie” do I dare ask God for more?  Like, “Dear God, please let things work out good for Colleen for college – choice, loans,financing, etc”.

Is that selfish?

April 8So, my Onc calls me back – I left her a message about re-starting chemo as per Dr. Fong, who did my liver resection a few weeks ago. He suggested 3-6 months, same chemo as I was on.
Onc states (once again) that I have her stumped – that there is NO STANDARD OF CARE after a liver resection. Can that be true??? the oncology field has not a recommended treatment plan after a successful liver resection?

One person at the American Cancer Society Message Board replied rather strongly:  “WHY would you continue to put toxic chemicals in your body as “insurance” if there is no indication that any cancer cells remain per current means of detection?”

She reached out to a few of her mentors, one says No treatment and another says to do a different cocktail of drugs than what I was on.

I am aghast. I asked her – “so Doc, have you not ever had a patient like me? Stage 4, still alive, liver resection?” And she said “No”.

At this point, no mets were detected anywhere but liver. Onc & I agree that I want to do chemo as some “insurance” against the microscopic cells lurking around. She will reach out for more opinions.

April 9: I need me some of this to get through a different hurdle in my lane.
Hebrew 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

April 15: I start chemo on Monday. Same drugs, same schedule- one week = long infusion of full cocktail, the next week, short infusion of Erbatux.  Scan in three months.  The one drug – Ironotecean, has some toxicity to liver, so Dr. Lo said she will maintain very low thresholds and numbers on bloodwork, to make sure not an issue.  If so, that drug will be taken off the list.

So, halting of hair growth – it’s the typical curly chemo hair.
Back to the nasty rash on my face- it’s been nice having clear skin the past few weeks.  I went to NY with a horrible rash and it cleared up about three weeks later.
Back to being hooked up to a pack full of chemo to lug around for 2 days.

I have mixed emotions at this moment – I am sure that I want to do this “insurance” chemo, in the hopes that any lurking cancer cells will be nuked.  But I am ready to be DONE with it all.  I don’t want to be around sick, dying people.  I don’t want to be in the Cancer Hospital every day feeling sad for those who may not have it as good as I do right now.

I’m not sure where I fit in right now.  It’s weird.  I don’t like it.

from: Screw Cancer – I’m Peggy Luckey, Damn It!


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.

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