Almost Done with Chemo

One chemo treatment to go!  Yeah!  You have no idea how excited I am to say that.  There were moments I thought we would never get here.

It’s been a while since I have written.  So, I have a lot to update you all on…

My Oncologist was on vacation the week of the 4th of July which pushed out my normally scheduled appointment.  Ed and I went back in the Tuesday after the 4th for my lab work and oncologist visit.  My lab work was good and my oncologist visit was uneventful.  I keep expecting more detail – more specifics – but keep getting a lot of “grey .”  Don’t get me wrong, it was a positive appointment.  The chemo is working and the tumor is shrinking.  That’s good news.  But, I keep hoping for and wanting more specifics.  How much has the tumor shrunk?  Centimeters or a percentage that it has decreased?  We definitely know it is smaller than it was when we I was diagnosed, but really don’t have specific numbers.  It’s frustrating and a tough situation for someone that needs data.  But, I am starting to learn that I better get used to this grey area.  Just seems to be a part of it.

I had my first plastic surgeon consultation about a week ago.  I was really dreading it and expecting the worst.  I am not sure why, I just was.  Ed and I both agree that it was a good first appointment.  We equipped ourselves with some research and had our list of questions ready.  We learned a lot.  It’s really quite fascinating.  I wish I personally didn’t have to deal with it, but the process is interesting.  We talked about my situation and specific reconstruction options for me.  I was interested to find out that according to this surgeon, I am not a candidate for the procedure where they take the fat from your stomach and use it to reconstruct your breasts.  She says I don’t have enough fat.  I’m flattered, but was surprised.  We have two more plastic surgeon consultations set up in the next couple of weeks.  I am anxious to see how those go and what they recommend.  It should be interesting.  I am hopeful we can make a decision from these three doctors and get the surgery on the books.

Ed, Gracie, and I were in Pensacola last week.  We are trying to take advantage of the weeks that I am free of doctors appointments and I feel “normal.”  I have a few stories to share from Florida:

Gracie and I had to make a quick trip to Home Depot for light bulbs.  We didn’t have a lot of time so I quickly searched for assistance.  The short version of the story is I was looking for CFL or LED bulbs that are dimmable for a dining room fixture.  Easy, right?  After going through a couple of employees that could not help me, another Home Depot employee walked up to attempt.  After much chatter much of which I couldn’t follow, I was told that CFL bulbs that are supposedly dimmable – don’t really work.  I would have to use LED bulbs, which by the way are very expensive when you need five or six.  But he cautioned me that research shows that LED bulbs cause breast cancer.  What?  Really?  Now, I am bald and have a scarf on my head.  I am wearing a pink shirt with a two breast cancer bracelets.  I laugh and reply, “Well, it’s a little late for that!”  It was actually a really funny moment.  Poor guy.  Needless to say, I walked out without anything new and decided to stick with the good old fashioned 40 watt bulbs.

Gracie and I were shopping one day and were walking out of a store.  A man was walking out right behind us.  He asks me, “Are you doing the chemo thing?”  I respond that I am.  The scarf on my head must have been the giveaway!  He goes on to tell me that he also is going through chemo, but not for cancer.  He has MS.  I had no idea that chemo was used to treat MS.  Interesting.  I learned something new.  We talked briefly, wished each other lots of luck, and went our separate ways.

One night the three of us went to dinner and Gallery Night in downtown Pensacola.  We were wrapping up dinner and this attractive, older woman stops and asks me, “Are you going through treatment?”  I told her I was and she goes on to tell me that she is a 17 year survivor. We high five, she reaches out and gives me a hug, and tells me to , “keep a sense of humor and to surround yourself with good friends.”  Great advice.

I love these stories because everywhere I go I find people are so supportive (except for the Home Depot guy although I think he really meant well) and it is clear to me that I am now a part of a new club.

This week is filled with doctor’s appointments.  This morning I had an echo cardiogram.  I was reminded that I have to do an echo every 3 months while on Herceptin.  Apparently, Herceptin has a slight risk of interfering with the pumping action of the heart.  Great.  So they want to monitor my heart closely during my treatment.  I expect nothing but positive results but we shall see.  Tomorrow (Tuesday) I am back to the Breast Surgeon for an ultrasound and more discussion around surgery.  Wednesday is the 6th and FINAL chemo treatment and a meeting with the Oncologist.  And then Thursday I am back for the Neulasta shot.  It makes me tired just thinking about the week.  But the good news is we are getting close to the end of this phase of this journey.  Yippee!

 

Comments

  1. Mary Johnson says:

    Wow, so glad this last treatment is finally here!!!! Love the stories!!!! Soon this chapter will behind you — YAY!!!!!! As always, many prayers being said daily! Hope this one is the easiest one yet!!!!!!

    Love,
    M.

  2. I am so excited that this is your last treatment session. Prayers are with you!!
    I know everything happens for a reason. Now, I know why I have gained 20 pounds over the last year. My stomach fat is all yours!! 🙂

  3. If you need fat, please consider using mine! I am so proud of you! See you Friday. MOM

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