Monday, September 2, 2013

Round Seven, Weeks One And Two

Week two of the last several rounds has been so uneventful that it just makes sense to combine both weeks into one post at this point.

Any of you who know me very well know that I'm a creature of schedule and habit. For the first six rounds, I got into the routine of going to the hospital the first week on Tuesday (doctor and blood work), Wednesday (chemo) and Thursday (Neulasta shot). So this time around, when my doctor appointment and blood work were scheduled for Monday, it threw my whole week out of kilter in some sense---and I didn't like it!  :)

On the other hand, the appointment with Dr. Cutler was a very good one, no matter what day it was on. We actually talked about what is going to happen AFTER chemo....we're close enough to the end to start talking about the next stages of things now. I've had days when I never thought we'd get here, so that was amazing.

The next step, of course, will be the surgery. I called the surgeon's office on Monday afternoon to schedule an appointment, and that will be on September 16th. I can hardly wait for that day to get here, as we should set an actual surgery date at that point, and we'll finally be back to where I thought we were going to be in May--for those who've forgotten, I had surgery scheduled for May 10th, till the MRI found enlarged lymph nodes in the chest, which led us down the chemo path.

After the surgery, I'll have to meet with the radiation oncologist and discuss whether or not radiation will be necessary. Until we do the surgery and find out what things look like on the inside, we don't have any idea on that one way or the other. However, Dr. Cutler is cautiously optimistic that it won't be necessary.

If it's not, the next step, aside from the reconstruction, will be to start hormone therapy, which I will be on for the next five to ten years. Because my cancer was determined to be ER/PR positive, which means that estrogen helped promote its growth, we need to block the effect of estrogen and lower my estrogen levels. The only thing I'm not looking forward to is that the meds will throw me back into all the menopausal symptoms which the chemo has managed to take away temporarily:  mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats. Just when I thought I'd gotten rid of them, darn it!

And while we were talking, Dr. Cutler also gave me a prescription for some heavy duty Motrin, for the leg pain I get during the second week. Hopefully that will at least make it easier to sleep for those three or four nights.

Wednesday it was back to the normal schedule, and spending the entire morning getting chemo. This time around the Benadryl really knocked me out, and I slept most of the time away, except for the couple of times I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. Good thing Barry always brings a book with him, because I was definitely NOT much company at all.  On the bright side, the Benadryl worked, and I had no rash on my forehead, upper lip or chest this time.

Thursday it was back again, for the Neulasta shot.  I know it serves a helpful purpose, in that it boosts the white blood cell production, but I also know that it causes pain and discomfort, which I dread.

Made it until Sunday before the pain really started to bother me this time around, which was a small blessing.  It lasted for about four days, and the Motrin DID help me get more sleep than usual. All of the second week contained yet another problem, however. My temperature decided that it was going to do weird things to me. I spiked a fever over 100.4 at least once a day every single day. It never STAYED that high, so I didn't ever have to go to the hospital, but it has been a concern, for sure.

So here I am, two days away from my LAST chemo....the light at the end of the tunnel! Then it will be time to move on to the next leg of the journey, which I will also document as fully as possible.

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