Monday, March 12, 2018

Taxol is Doing Its Job!

I've had 8 of my 12 Taxol treatments, and my MedOnc was pleased with my progress last time she saw me; she couldn't feel the tumor when doing a physical exam!  One area of concern, though, - to me, not her - is that I've had some pain in my ribs, near the initial tumor site.  I had an ultrasound this afternoon to check on that area, and to see what kind of progress I've made with chemo.

The Methodist Breast Center has the best waiting room music.  Among other songs, they played "Weird Science," "Come On, Eileen," "I Love Rock & Roll," and "It's Raining Men."  They were rocking some Bangles as I left.

Nothing in the pain area showed up on the ultrasound, so that's reassuring.  And in even better news, the ultrasound showed a "significant decrease" in the size of the largest affected lymph node, and my largest (of three) tumor and gone from 3.6cm - on ultrasound - to 1.2cm!  That's fantastic improvement for an ER (estrogen receptor) positive breast cancer on chemo, only 8 infusions in!  

Keep those prayers coming!

I realized in the waiting room that I had dressed in #chemochic - a beanie, button-down, leggings, and comfy boots.  My chemo fuzzy brain is now equating all medical appointments/procedures with chemo infusions.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Taxol 7/12

I'm over halfway done with my first chemo, Taxol!  I've done 7 of the 12 infusions, and my body is handling them well so far.  I saw my MedOnc earlier this week, and she's really pleased that I'm showing no signs of neuropathy thus far.  The ice gloves and ice socks, painful as they are, seem to be doing what they're supposed to.  I continue to have fatigue with each infusion, though usually that's better by the last couple days of the week.  I've had headaches and bone/joint pain, but the Tramadol prescription helps with that.  I've had some nausea and heartburn, but the Nexium and Zofran help with that.  And my hair has thinned terribly (and my eyebrows and lashes are starting to go), but the... nope - nothing can help with that!

I've had some pretty bad pain on my right side in my ribs, exactly where I had it when I was diagnosed, and I talked to my MedOnc about that, also.  She's not concerned, but is going to order an ultrasound to check on it.  She did an exam, and can no longer feel the tumors!  That's a great sign that the chemo is working and the tumors are shrinking.  Since the chemo is working, the cancer shouldn't be growing, which means I shouldn't have to worry about it metastasizing right now, so the rib pain shouldn't be bone mets.  It's probably just residual pain from the tumor(s) breaking down.

I'm continuing to lose a tiny bit of weight each week.  Not enough to really concern me, but frustrating all the same when I'm trying to keep my weight up right now.  I simply have had no appetite.  I have had a few cravings, but usually when I finally think of something that sounds good, it's not something that we have on hand.  It's no good craving cinnamon coffee cake when it's 10:30pm, or a chocolate layer cake when you don't have the ingredients on hand.  Sweets have sounded a lot better than anything savory, so you would think I'd be putting on weight, but nope.

Today is Saturday, and I'm exhausted.  I'm in that frustrating stage where I just want something to make me feel better - but nothing sounds good to eat, I'm too tired to do anything, somehow not sleepy, and feel too "sick" to want to do anything.  I'm no fun to be around right now.  But Jamie took the kids to the park and to run some errands, and he's bringing a latte back with him, so I'll be doing better soon.

Halfway done with my first chemo!

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

I Met My RadOnc

I had my first meeting with my Radiation Oncologist (RadOnc) last week.  Luckily, I really liked her, as I'll be seeing her a lot once radiation starts.

This was just an initial consultation, since radiation won't start until chemo and surgery (and possibly some physical therapy) are done.  That timeline probably puts the start of radiation around the end of August.  

I learned that I'll have 6 full weeks of radiation instead of the more standard 4.  I'll have weekends off to give my skin a break, but otherwise it'll be daily Monday through Friday.  Each treatment, other than the dressing/undressing/positioning, will take 10-15 minutes.  I'll be holding my breath for the treatments, 40 seconds at a time, to keep my lungs further from the radiated area. 

Also, Dr. Arzu wants me to be flat for radiation.  This means that after my mastectomy, I can't have expanders placed in preparation for reconstructive surgery.  My SurgOnc, Dr. Miggins, will need to make sure I'm completely flat to give the radiation team the best angle(s) to work with.  That will limit the options I have for reconstruction, but the focus needs to be on getting rid of the cancer at this point.  9-12 months after my skin has healed from radiation, the plastic surgeon who will handle my reconstructive surgery will use the best option available at the time - probably (hopefully) DIEP flap - to construct a new breast (or breasts) for me.

A lot of information to take in.  One more step to kill this cancer!  

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