The Journey Continues

It’s been a while since my last post and I have so much to say!

So, let me  start with the basics:  A week ago Monday I went in for an echo cardiogram.  I still have to have one done every 3 months while being treated with Herceptin.  The appointment is about an hour.  You undress from the waist up and it’s a lot like an ultrasound – for the ladies (and men) out there that understand that process.  Several days later I learned my heart remains strong.  Good news!  That Wednesday I was back to Georgia Cancer Specialists (my oncology group) for an appointment with my Oncologist and a Herceptin treatment.  It started as always in the lab.  The Tech accessed my port but for whatever reason had a difficult time getting blood for testing – which has happened the last couple of appointments.  Let’s just summarize it by saying after multiple attempts in a variety of different positions, blood was finally taken from my arm and not from my port.  The good news is I could still intake – so I was ready for my Herceptin treatment.

After the lab, I visited with the doctor.  We checked in on a number of items and worked through my list of questions.  Well, I am officially on Tamoxifen for the next 5 years (or maybe more depending on pending research).  As a quick lesson, Tamoxifen is a prescription medication that is a lot like estrogen.  In the breast, tamoxifen can block estrogen’s effects.  Because it does this, Tamoxifen may block the growth of breast cancers that need estrogen to grow (cancers that are estrogen or progesterone receptor positive).  It is used to lower my chance of breast cancer spreading to other parts of my body.  It’s a pill I will have to take every day for the next 5 years (or more).  The positive:  Tamoxifen does not work for every woman diagnosed with breast cancer, but it could for me.  You may recall, I was diagnosed with estrogen and progesterone positive breast cancer, which means that Tamoxifen is another “tool” to help keep breast cancer from spreading to other parts of my body.  The negatives:  (1) I have to take a pill everyday for a very, very long time.  (2) The side effects:  the most common one is hot flashes.  Yeah for me.  I won’t even begin to list the more serious side effects.  However, my Oncologist assures me they are rare.  We’ll see.

Following my visit with the Oncologist, I headed to the infusion (or chemo) room for my Herceptin treatment.  Oh the hustle and bustle of the infusion room.  Something I honestly will not miss!  I only have a few more treatments to go!

I have scheduled my next surgery for Monday, April 23rd.  It is an outpatient surgery where my plastic surgeon will remove the spacers, put in the implants, and “finish up” the reconstruction.  My Herceptin treatments will be complete by then which means he will also be able to remove my port.  That’s a big deal!  While in general it has not bothered me, lately I have noticed it more and more – and will be ready to see it go!  So, after surgery and some time in recovery, I will go home that day.  I honestly don’t know exactly what to expect as far as recovery time and will start talking with women that have gone through this to get the “real” scoop.  What I do know is it is supposed to be a much easier surgery than the bi-lateral mastectomy.  Makes sense to me.  And I do know there will be no drains.  Yeah!  But I am sure there will be some recovery time.  Not sure, but can’t imagine I will be back in the gym the next day.  We shall see.  I am just happy to have that on the books!  It’s a big milestone.

On another note, a friend and mom at Gracie’s school recently had a good friend diagnosed with breast cancer.  It is ridiculous the amount of women that are being diagnosed with breast cancer.  Really, it’s ridiculous.  Anyway, she asked me my thoughts on how to best support her friend.  I found it a great exercise to go through and will share some ideas in an upcoming post.  Just maybe it will help someone else out there going through this journey.

A lot of people are asking me “how are you doing?”  Just today I had a friend say, “I bet you are sick of people asking you that!”  Honestly, I am not and I really appreciate people continuing to check in.  I have a long, long road ahead.  I have good days and bad days.  When I completed radiation, the end of December, I had a number of people say, “Congratulations!  You are done!”  The truth is I am far from done.  Yes, chemo is done.  Yes, the double mastectomy is done.  And now, radiation is done.  But the breast cancer battle is not over.  In fact, it is far from over.  I will go into it in more detail in future posts, but I am truly entering a new phase of this journey.  I am learning how to deal with my “new normal” and I have a long way to go.

Ed got great feedback on his latest post.  Thank you to all of you that provided feedback.  He’s a great guest writer and provides a different perspective to this crazy journey.  I am thinking between the two of us we might have a book in our future.  Would you buy it?

 

Comments

  1. Jacque Maher says:

    Hi Meredith. Just read you last post. I am in constant awe of your courage and insight as well as Ed’s support and insight. You two are AMAZING! You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

    Maurice and I will be in Atlanta the end of February. We will only be there a week but I hope we will get to see you, Ed, and Miss Gracie.

    By the way, I would buy the book!!!

  2. Sandi Purinton says:

    I would buy your book, for sure!

  3. Mary Johnson says:

    Meredith,

    You have been so amazingly positive through each and every milestone! You continue to be a role model of strength, courage, and grace, for me and countless others as we go through this journey with you!!! I just want to encourage you to keep on keeping’ on! I can see you being a mentor to others embarking on this journey in the future! continuing daily prayers for you as always! So happy that you will have a few more milestones out of the way in April! Yay!!!

    I will be the first in line to buy an autographed copy of your book!

Speak Your Mind

*