Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Done With AC #1

It's day 6 after my first AC infusion, and I'm finally feeling somewhat alive.

I don't remember a whole lot from Thursday, day 1.  I had 5 premeds in my IV, all of which had something to do with keeping nausea at bay, and a couple of them made me drowsy.  I nodded off during chemo and slept the rest of the day.  

I felt okay Friday, just sleepy and a little sick.  Saturday was a lot worse, and Sunday even worse than that.  I felt really sick.  I took Zofran around the clock as my MedOnc had instructed, but didn't feel any better until Tuesday, when I was able to skip a dose.  Jamie went back to work today - Wednesday, day 6 - and I took the kids to school.  And then went back to sleep for 4 hours.

On the bright side, I don't have to get the Neulasta injection to boost my white blood cells (WBC), so I don't have to deal with the horrific bone pain that is reported from it.  My infusions are 3 weeks apart, so my MedOnc is okay with waiting to see if my WBC will come up without the injection.  And the Zofran kept the nausea under control well enough that I just felt sick - I didn't actually get sick.

Now I have until May 3rd before my next infusion.  2 weeks to feel better and get my WBC back up!  



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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Holidays When Living With Breast Cancer

Today is Easter.  It has been a good day, filled with our usual traditions - a scavenger hunt for the kids' Easter baskets, an egg hunt in the backyard, a big breakfast and a yummy dinner. 

But breast cancer and chemo have necessitated some changes from previous years.  I had to take several breaks when filling the Easter baskets, because Taxol has left me very, very tired.  Breakfast was a thawed, previously baked pastry because I didn't have the energy/stamina to bake anything fresh, and Jamie made the bacon and eggs.  Dinner is being made mostly by Jamie, and the parts I contributed were done with me seated at the table.  I also had to skip church this morning because my neutrophils last week were at the lowest yet -  1.02 - and I can't risk getting sick.

The biggest change, though, is in my mindset.  It's subtle, but it's definitely there.  It's the faint whisper that there's a chance this could be my last Easter.  My last time to see the kids' excitement over Easter baskets and egg hunts.  My treatment is working - I know that from the ultrasound I had a few weeks ago.  But I also know that cancer is unpredictable and ruthless, and I will be living with this for the rest of my life, whether there is NED (No Evidence of Disease) at the end of this treatment or not.  For the rest of my life, I'll be getting checkups to see if the cancer has metastasized - spread - to other areas of my body.  I'll have to legitimately question every ache and pain in case it's a symptom of the breast cancer spreading to my bones/brain/liver/lungs.

There are so many stories of women who have gone through successful treatment and gone on to live long, healthy lives free of cancer.  And there are equally as many women who have had their cancer return months or years later, and have had their lives cut much too short.

I'm reminding myself every single day of 2 Corinthians 5:7 - "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  Whether this is my last Easter, or just the last one that I'll have to celebrate while undergoing chemo, I know God has a plan for my life.  And he has a plan to take care of Jamie and the kids whether I'm here to try to manage it for him or not.

Please pray that my neutrophils are above 1.0 on Thursday.  If they are, I'll be finishing Taxol Thursday and then hopefully starting AC - the "Red Devil" chemo - the following Thursday.  Here's to killing the cancer and making the most of every moment, month, and year I have left!       



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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Visit With Dr. Saleem

I only have 3 Taxol infusions left, so it was time for another visit with my MedOnc, Dr. Saleem.  

It was a good appointment!  We went over my ultrasound results from last week, and I learned that I've had an 80-83% response (so far) to chemo!  That is fantastic news!  She's really pleased with how my body is handling Taxol.  Most of her patients have the same achiness/pain/fatigue that I have, but earlier in the process.  I'm also still showing no signs at all of neuropathy in my hands or feet, which is unusual and really welcome news to us both.  If you have to go through this, I highly recommend using the ice mitts & socks, as they seem to be working for me.

Because my neutrophils were so low last week (1.05), Dr. Saleem had me do my bloodwork today so that I'd know whether or not I even needed to come in tomorrow for chemo.  I got a call about an hour after I left, and my nurse said that I'm a "walking antibiotic" - my neutrophils today were 1.5!  That's the highest they've been in weeks!  Still below the "standard" for a healthy immune system, but really good for me!  Chemo will proceed tomorrow as planned.  That leaves 3 Taxol infusions before I start 12 weeks of AC.

I was able to get out this morning before my appointment (coffee with a friend after school drop-off), then had my appointment and ran to the grocery store afterward.  I'm exhausted now (and still need to pick up the kids later), but it was nice to get out and feel semi-normal.

The face of a "walking antibiotic"

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