Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Four Down....Twelve to go!

So it seems I've raced up to and over the "big round 4" milestone! I have a few days - maybe a week of feeling relatively shitty but all in all, I have made it through what we know as the toughest of my chemotherapy treatments. Phew! (She says with great hesitancy for what’s about to commence: 12 straight weeks of chemo.)  

The team had the routine of this circus down by the time round 4 appeared. Get to the oncologist’s office, sign in. Tell the front desk that I'm headed back to the "chemo room" to get my blood drawn and the testing underway (since this takes about 20 minutes) and then go in to see the doc where she'll poke around and listen to my questions and apprehensions. She's a good listener. Liz and I try and make a list ahead of time of questions to ask about what's going on with me plus any questions about next steps, etc. Back to the "chemo room", where the IV is inserted into my mediport and the games begin. Two and a half hours later, I’ve watched a couple of episodes of “The Americans”, and I’m all pumped up with those lovely poisons that are saving my life and we head home.

A routine. But not a routine I wish to get too comfortable with. I still long for the day my hair begins to grow back, the nausea is in the rear view mirror, and my energy returns. I keep focused on the calendar and the countdown to when this nightmare is over for me. For the rest of my life I will be a “cancer survivor”. Always a bit more worried and conscious of cancer than the “normal” gal. Always concerned Congress and the Administration will get rid of the "pre-existing conditions" safety net as they fuck with the ACA. Oh, how I hate that. But this is what life dealt me. And like everyone else, I’m gonna attempt to fly through the bumpy parts as quickly and smoothly as possible – albeit a bit more bumpy than I would have chosen for myself.

This milestone also marked my return to the surgeon for another ultrasound and glimpse of whether all this shit is making any difference on my tumor. I’ve talked in high regard for my surgeon in past posts. Still feel this way about her. She’s self-assured, ex-Army surgeon, a bit on the quirky side, and absolutely confident cancer will be eradicated from my body. She’s also the one who will cut off my boobs and forever change this one and only body I possess, so having confidence in her is kinda key!

Sitting with her can make your head spin a bit. She talks fast, works fast, and yet has the patience to ensure I’ve asked every single question Liz and I have written down. As she’s performing the ultrasound she asks me what I think. I tell her that I’m not going to “jinx” it by saying anything out loud.  But personally, deep down I feel its working.

The result of the ultrasound is quite encouraging. Again, I’m not sure how “excited” to be about all this, but it is encouraging. My tumor has reacted quite positively to the chemo and for now, that’s wonderful news. It could have been the opposite – no reaction what so ever - so I’ll take whatever “positive” news is handed to me.

But we continue on….I now gear up for the final 12 weeks of weekly chemo. Different drug, different side effects, hopefully more of the same positive result. It was great to have my dear friend, Christina, out from Denver for the week. She pampered me with daily acupuncture, mediation music, and her calming presence. Please keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming! They are working on my psyche and working on my cancer!

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