Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm sure they missed me!

Well no visits to the ER for me last night. And thank goodness, because according to news reports they are filled with sick people and possible H1N1 victims. And that's the last thing Jim or I need!

So Jim and I went in yesterday morning and first met with Dr. Neubauer who I hadn't seen for several weeks. He reiterated that the scan they had done showed no cancer had spread and he used the term for what I have as "localized aggressive breast cancer". He said it is very black and white - either they cure the cancer now or I live with incurable cancer. But as he put it, I'm hitting the ceiling for opportunity to a cure and could very well live to be 80 and die of something else. He also said that the tumor appears to be shrinking. Always skeptical (or paranoid) I asked "really? Or are you just saying that to be nice to me?" He replied that although he is a nice guy, he is also honest, so that yes indeed, he believes the tumor is getting smaller. So very good news. That would keep us on track for one more chemo treatment in 2 weeks and then be scheduled for surgery.

The chemo treatment itself wasn't too bad. I had lots of "pre medications" to make me comfortable, so I practically slept through the whole thing. I think I get by pretty easy because including the premeds and the chemo drugs the whole treatment only lasts about an hour and a half. I just got off the phone with a friend who had 8 hours once a week. Ugh! So I'm very lucky indeed. I did start feeling pretty poorly last evening, but a after a nap, sprite and a few crackers felt much better and got a good nights sleep. Today, I just feel like a big loopy slug. Lots of couch sitting and snoozing.

I go in this afternoon for my follow up shot to increase my white blood cell count. I always get this shot the day after chemo treatments. The chemo treatments can really lower your white blood count and thus, make you much more susceptible to infection. Also, if your count goes too low that can cause a delay in getting your next chemo treatment which would be bad thing. Again, all this seems to be working because my counts are staying high.

Now if I can just keep the wind from blowing my wig off!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gearing up for #3

The sun is out, and I feel great this morning. It seems like I've been a little more sluggish since the last treatment, but who knows it could have been the torrents of rain and cold weather. Its been enough to depress anyone.

Tomorrow is my 3rd chemo treatment and after the last time, I'm dreading it a little. Because I got so sick from treatment #2, my team has a new medicine plan for me to prevent a repeat of my ER visit. I'll take my current meds 1st thing in the morning and then they have a new medicine which I'll take when I arrive at the infusion room (aka the IV Farm) and then take for a few days afterwards. They will also add an additional drug to the IV drip I get. Hopefully, all of this will prevent me from getting so sick again. I am thankful they are able to treat the nausea so aggressively now. I can only imagine how miserable chemo was when you got sick with every treatment.

I will also see my oncologist, Dr. Neubauer, tomorrow. I always get a little anxious when I see the docs because there is the possibility of getting bad news. When all of this first started, I was very scared they would just tell me to go home - that there was nothing they could do for me. Of course they didn't and have been very optimistic. But, there is always that lingering doubt. I'm hoping though he will have only good things to say!

By the way, I'm being treated at the Kansas City Cancer Center and it is a wonderful facility. Everyone from the folks on the front desk to the pharmacy have been phenomenal. The doctors and nurses are kind and very responsive. I really feel like everyone is devoted to making me well, and I'm not just a 15 minute appointment slot.

Hair Update: I still have some, but not a lot. Jim thought the initial short cut was cute, but now he says it looks more like a style you'd see in a prison camp. Luckily my head is feeling much better now. Before it was like someone was stabbing my head with a straw broom, especially when I wore anything on my head or had to lie down. I was shedding so much, I finally started using a lint brush to brush my hair. I realize this might sound odd, but it didn't hurt near as much as taking a hairbrush to my head and did a much better job!

Have a spectacular day!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Up to Date

Since I seem to be telling the same stories (and I'm really worried I'm telling the same stories to the same people), I thought I'd start a blog to keep all that are interested posted on my progress. This will also help prevent KG from sending out those secret emails about me! :)

I have now had 2 chemo treatments, and for this round I believe I have 2 more. The plan is then to do a mastectomy, more chemo and then end with a round of radiation. As scans and sonograms haven't shown that the cancer has spread, it is the hope that this will cure my cancer. The first chemo treatment went ok. I was very tired and just felt really lousy. Chemo is on a Thursday and I gradually felt better, until by the following Thursday I felt pretty darn good. I have treatments every other Thursday, so this gave me a week of feel good. I do get very tired and take frequent naps. The thought of food usually isn't very appetizing, but I am able to eat it and enjoy it in small amounts.

Then came my second treatment - not so good. I wound up in the ER Thursday night because I couldn't stop vomiting. Helpful hint though, throwing up in the triage nurses' office is a quick ticket to a bed. No waiting in chairs for me! They quickly got the IV's going, and I felt better and was good enough to go home after a couple of hours. I'm not sure how long it took Jim to recover though!

Right now my biggest discomfort is losing my hair. It kind of hurts and is very uncomfortable. I had it cut very short a week ago because the general wisdom is don't shave it off. Evidently, this can really be painful especially when wearing my wig and hats. I'm not sure how long it takes to totally fall out, but I hope it is soon and that my head feels better. I also feel empathy with the dogs on what its like to constantly be shedding your hair.

Thanks to everyone for all that you are doing! All of the food, the chauferring, gifts, good wishes, prayers, positive thoughts are really making this trip bearable and without you we'd have a much harder time!