Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Monday, August 30, 2010

Port Placement and First Chemo

I got to the hospital and got my port placed this morning. No problems with it. They used what they called "heavy sedation" which did not put me out completely. I felt almost nothing besides a couple of sharp pinches. Then it was off to the treatment center for that first round of adrimycin and cytoxin: the chemo cocktail that I'll be taking for the first 4 rounds, given every two weeks. That's going to be 2 months worth. Then I'll be switching to a cocktail of taxol and herceptin. The TH (as it's called) will be given once a week for 4 weeks, then we'll drop the T (taxol) and continue with the herceptin every 3 weeks for a year. Sometime after the end of the Taxol, I'll be doing the radiation 5 days a week for 5-6 weeks. Unless my radiology oncologist suggests otherwise, I'll be doing the herceptin in conjunction with the radiation. If she would rather that I stop it, we will during the course of the radiation, then we'll pick it right back up when I'm done. Either way, I'm looking at almost a year and a half of treatment, give or take a few weeks and assuming that there are no issues that come up which might delay the treatment. Lord willing, that won't be a problem!

Tomorrow morning I have to go back down to the treatment center to get a Neulasta shot. This is to help boost my cell counts since I'm going every 2 weeks and that isn't enough time to let them recover naturally. I'll be right in the middle of the cell count low point when I have to go in for the next course. So the Neulasta will boost those counts. Unfortunately, this means it also causes bone/joint aches and pains as it stimulates the bone marrow to make new cells. This is supposed to last only a few days, but I'm not looking forward to it! I don't know it the aching will start tomorrow or Wednesday, but I'm hoping it'll be lather rather than sooner, and that maybe it won't be really painful at all.

So far, the only hints of side effects I've seen was one small hint of nausea that was easily remedied with a Compazine, a lot of acid reflux, and a bit of an "off" taste in my mouth. Nothing too bad. Mark was eating some baby carrots with blue cheese dip earlier (something I usually love) but one bite was enough to let me know that I won't be eating any of that for a while. The carrots were fine, but that dip was crazy bitter to me. So, it's out until my taste returns to normal. :(

Anyway, things are going very well, I'd say. That Neulasta shot tomorrow might put a bit of a kink in things, but I"m going to just assume that it will go as well as the chemo has so far. I reckon I'll have a crash in a few days, maybe, but for now, I'm just grateful for what I have!

Blessings to all,

Jennifer

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Chemotherapy, Here I Come!!!

Well, it's finally almost here... chemo. Boy, do I hate to have to do this. Mark's not too excited about it either. In fact, I think he'd rather I didn't do it. He's having a lot of trouble with the illogical aspect of the whole thing. I have cancer... which will kill me if left unchecked, so what do the doctors want to do? Pump me full of POISON that just might kill me, too. There's the potential heart damage, which Mark had finally sort of come to terms with, and then my oncologist mentioned yesterday about how there's also a chance that somewhere down the line I could develop leukemia, too. I could see it on his face. He was ready to jump up, grab me and run for the hills! I was more than aware of the potential side effects, both the ones that can happen during the treatment and those that might not show up for years down the road. I'm not going into this thing with blinders on.

Funny thing is, I haven't ever even really considered not doing the chemo and radiation. It's not that I think the medical profession has all the answers. Not hardly. Hubby's right about the insanity of treating a deadly disease by poisoning the patient. But this is the best medical option at the moment, so it's the one I'm going to go with. What I've just realized is that I haven't really thought about skipping the chemo and rads and just trusting God to heal me and to keep it from ever coming back.

I am absolutely positive that He could do that. I've heard more than one person testify to it first hand. I've heard of people who were told they had months to live and who chose not to go the chemo route, yet who are still alive, and cancer free, years later. God does miracles every single day and I know that. Yet I've never once felt even an inkling of a hint of reservation that the chemo is the right choice for me. I'm not looking forward to it, obviously, but I'm not afraid of it either. God's in control and I guess I'm on the correct path here because He hasn't been warning me to turn around. At least I hope that's the case! I have been known to play deaf, dumb, and blind a few times when He was trying to tell me something important.

Seriously, though, I just think this is the right choice. I'm just praying that I get through it with as little difficulty as possible. I despise being nauseous, and that is an obvious side effect of all the chemos I'll be taking. (There will be 4 in total.) They've already prescribed 3 meds to help combat the nausea though, so Lord willing, that won't be a problem. And the hair loss is a given with this chemo. I've already gotten it all cut off. I hate it, but it's the way things work. In another couple of weeks I won't have any hair at all. [sigh]

As a note about what I think I'll be posting soon, a friend suggested I post some info about the things patients need to know. I'm not sure exactly what to post, yet, but I can tell you that one of the absolute best resources I've come across is the Cancer Survivors Network, which is part of the American Cancer Society. It is an AWESOME site. It is broken down into different boards for different kinds of cancer. Of course I spend all my time on the breast cancer board, but I can only assume all the others are just as great.

It's a place where new, current, and former cancer patients can get together to share tips and stories, to offer encouragement, laughter, and a whole passel of shoulders to lean on when the weight gets to be too much. I have learned so many wonderful and helpful things from them. It is directly because of them that I feel so ready for the chemo to begin. Whatever side effects I might face, I've learned about them all from the women who've been there before me. It makes this whole process so much easier to face!