Thursday, May 30, 2013

Long Update

Been a while since the last post, but things are still moving along. I saw Doctor Cutler, the medical oncologist (chemo doctor) on the 22nd. We couldn't get me in to have the port implanted until the 28th, so that moved the first round of chemo to the 29th.  In the meantime, we finished our cross town move, and got internet service at the new house, which is why I'm just now getting around to blogging again.

Tuesday morning I had to be at the hospital, in radiology, by 8 am. After talking with the nurse and the doctor, I got my IV started, got settled in on the table, endured the lidocaine shots (OW!!!) and then spent the next hour or so chatting away with the folks in the room, as I had to be only partially sedated so that I could take deep breaths as needed during the implantation.

I was home before noon, and then spent most of the rest of the day drifting in and out of sleep. When I woke up around dinnertime, I realized the bandage over the implantation site was blood soaked, so it was off to the ER for me and hubby. By the time I was seen, the bleeding had stopped, so they replaced the dressing and sent me home. We also discovered I was allergic to the Tegaderm tape they had used on the dressing as well, which may have irritated the site and increased the oozing of the blood. I never did get dinner, and just went to bed early!

Yesterday was the first chemo treatment. Since the port just went in the day before, using it was a little painful, but we expected that, and also expect it not to be true in two weeks. I started out with a saline flush of the port, then a dose of five anti nausea pills, a bag of antibiotic IV, a bag of chemo drugs (cytoxan), an infusion of the second chemo drug (adriamycin)----then another saline flush, and a heparin flush.

This all took about 2 hours, during which time I was reading, watching television, and sipping on a bottle of water, while relaxing in a nice comfy recliner. Then we made a run to Walgreens for some fruit juice and some munchies, and after that I was home for the day.

I've been feeling nausea off and on ever since, but I've been able to fight it back with small meals/snacks and lots of liquids. This morning I took both of my regular nausea meds, and my first steroid (2 a day for three days after chemo)--which is supposed to give me the munchies, and which my daughter Amy already plans to blame for any moodiness ("roid rage").

This afternoon, I go back to the hospital for a shot of Neulasta, which is to stimulate white blood cell growth. That brings us up to date, and I'll try to post as often as possible.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Sorry I haven't written in a while--but did I mention that we're also moving this month? It's been crazy hectic around here, and it's gonna get worse as this week goes on, as we're finishing up and moving all our furniture on Friday and Saturday. THEN we have all the fun of unpacking and organizing the new place!

So, anyhow, here's where we are now. We received the MRI and PET scan results last week, which were mostly good news. None of the areas of concern actually showed any signs of cancer. All that was there was the original mass in the right breast, some lymph nodes in the right armpit, and some lymph nodes in the chest wall. That last part is the catch, though: because of where they are in the chest wall, my surgeon isn't confident that he would be able to remove them completely.

So, our new plan is to start chemotherapy next week. We're looking at eight treatments, every other week. After that, we'll do another scan, and then schedule the surgery.

A little later this morning, I have another appointment with Dr. Cutler, my chemo doctor, to work out all the details for next week, and to see about getting my port in before next Tuesday.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Bump In The Road

I expected to be in the hospital this evening, recuperating from my mastectomy. However, I got a call from my surgeon on Tuesday morning: last week's CT scan was troubling, so he wanted an MRI and a PET scan as soon as possible. If they show any spread of the cancer to other parts of the body, then we'll have to put off the surgery until after I have chemo (which means about six months).

Yesterday was the day I had both the MRI and the PET scan. I'd never had either one before, so it was a learning experience for me. Let's just say that it's a good thing I don't suffer from claustrophobia..I spent a lot of time enclosed in machines, not moving. If it hadn't been for all the noise, I probably would have been able to drift off to sleep---well, the noise and the hunger pains (since I didn't eat anything until 6 pm last night!)

Other news on the journey is encouraging, however. My estrogen and progesterone receptors are positive, which makes me a good candidate for hormone therapy if we have to go the chemo route. I'm still trying to stay positive, no matter what comes along, so I look for as many good things as I can.

Not much else to tell you until I see my doctor on Wednesday. Check back then!
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