I’ve been struggling to put on my brave face lately. Partly it’s the fatigue, which has gotten worse with every chemo cycle. I’m now on my fifth round of carboplatin/taxol; neither of these are easy drugs to tolerate, and together, they’re a kick in the gut. When I’m tired, I’m more emotional. It’s just harder to plow through this shitty existence with a smile on my face when I don’t have any energy.

But it’s not just that. I had another brain MRI a few weeks back, and there were three more spots on it. Too tiny to say for sure that they’re more mets, but that’s what I’m expecting the follow-up MRI will show early next month. Which means more gamma knife surgery, more chemo, more treatment. When I got the news about the MRI, I got drunk, and I emailed my oncologist and said “It all just feels so fucking futile.”

I think there is still a part of me, buried deep down, that hopes that I’ll live long enough for a cure to be found, or at least, for some treatment to come along that will make metastatic breast cancer truly chronic. Because, if I could stay alive that long, then all this suffering I’m doing wouldn’t be futile. It’d be a means to an end: staying alive long enough for a better treatment to come along. One that adds more than few months to my lifespan, and one that doesn’t come with the cost of spending days on end lying in bed because I’m too tired to do anything.

But then I have yet another scan that shows yet more progression, and it’s like that tiny little bit of hope gets punched in the gut, and it hurts. It really fucking hurts. And I wish it wasn’t there anymore. I wish I could just accept that this is my fate: to keep being tortured for another year, maybe two, and then to die. Maybe if that little bit of hope wasn’t still in there, it wouldn’t hurt so much every time I see more dots growing on my brain.

But that is the reality of how I’m living with my disease: to live with that tiny bit of hope, to never fully accept that this is all there is for me, and to keep getting punched in the gut over and over again as death inches closer. It’s not just the treatments that are brutal and exhausting. 

Luckily this is my last cycle of carbo/taxol for a while. After this, we’re switching to Xeloda, which is milder and hopefully won’t bottom me out so badly. I really hope so, because when I’m not so tired, hopefully I’ll be better able to pick up the pieces emotionally and keep pushing through this shitty thing I call a life. Because there’s another scan to face in a couple of weeks, and I need to brace myself for another punch in the gut.

13 thoughts on “Futility

  1. 🙁 I think I had heard Xeloda might cross blood brain barrier? Maybe I am hearing things. It does feel like an exercise in futility, but we roll over or we keep taking the punches. I wish I could take all of the sadness and stress away. (((more hugs)))
    Mandi recently posted…A Trip of a LifetimeMy Profile

  2. Oh sweetheart, I know how you feel. I am a walking taking met farm. First targeted med stopped working after 15months just in time next gen was approved, and third gen is in trial. I am living in stage four hoping the progression doesn’t outpace the researchers.
    Living your exact headspace – hope it helps to know you aren’t alone. I know this tragic kinship has been great support for me.

  3. Beth, I am feeling for you. Scans next week including brain mri to see if wbr did any sort of job. I am so sorry. Xeloda is not bad. I am doing it now. Hell of a lot easier than carbo and taxol, hopefully for you as well as me. Sending a lot of hugs and I hope for some relief for your horrible fatigue. It SUCKS.

  4. I relate. I am on xeloda and it is very tolerable. I know someone with bc who has been on it for about 18 months with great tolerability and effectiveness. Sending my Best wishes for a good day.

  5. Beth, you will live. I’m on the carbo/Taxol now and I totally get what you’re going through. But if I can keep taking what they’ve thrown at me for 13 years, and keep dancing around it, I know you can do the same.
    Jill Cohen recently posted…Insomnia againMy Profile

  6. Thinking of you, Beth. Anything I have to say seems pointless in light of this enraging and unjust cancer bullshit, but I wanted you to know that I read your posts. I hear you and I think of you all the time. Your struggle may seem futile, I get it and it seems impossibly infuriating, but YOU are not futile. Your existence, your voice, your thoughts, your presence matter. And I think anyone who knows and loves you agrees. Keep on writing and fighting this fight against this fucking awful disease and for awareness, for a cure, for hope, for yourself and for others. It all matters. Hugs.

  7. I’m so sorry you feel so bad. I know that doesn’t help you at all but know that I read everything you post, you have taught me a lot and I think of you often. I hope that you start to feel better very soon and you get positive news from the next round of tests. Much love.

  8. Hugs from another MBCer… It probably doesn’t help you feel better, but I do enjoy your posts (this one made me sad, just want to send hugs your way).

  9. Dear Beth, I am so sorry that things are so shitty right now for you. I understand what you are saying. It’s so hard to know that what is up ahead isn’t easy. I don’t know anything to say that makes it easier or better. I was on carbo and taxotere and it sucked. Maybe the new regime will be easier on you. I think of you often and I feel so lucky to have met you in Philadelphia.

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