Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ok, Here's the Plan

I'm glad (I think) to get the treatment plan moving again. We saw the oncologist on Thursday and he's ready to start chemo. This time I'll be taking Taxol. Dr. Neubauer said this go round should be much easier than last time. Some possible side affects he mentioned are joint pain, tingling in your finger tips and of course, hair loss. It is also not as likely to make me as nauseous as what I took last time. The treatments will be every 2 weeks for a total of 4, and I'll take the Neulasta (keeps your white blood cell count up) shot the day after treatment. He had mentioned before that I might be on a 3 week schedule and wouldn't have to take the Neulasta shot , but evidently changed his mind. He said there has been some indication that it is more effective taking it more frequently. The Taxol also has to be administered more slowly, so each treatment will take 3 to 4 hours - ugh! And now for an interesting Taxol fact - it is made from the Yew plant. Going natural!

Dr. Neubauer did say that everything is going well and these last chemo and radition treatments are like "throwing the kitchen sink" at me to try to insure that they kill any cancer that might be lurking about and keep it from coming back. And that is what I want. I can handle all of the side affects, so I certainly want to do everything necessary to get rid of the C once and for all.

As anxious as I'm to get started, so I can get this over with, I am also kind of dreading getting back on the chemo wagon. I just keep telling myself, its not going to be as bad and it will soon be over. We've started thinking about our annual summer vacation to give me something to look forward to. I think I mentioned Michael broke his arm a week after we got home last summer and then with my mom and the cancer, it was just downhill from there. We went to the Blackhills and Yellowstone and just had a wonderful time, so I can't wait until we can get away from the doctors and all the other day to day stuff and just enjoy being together.

I know everyone is just dieing to know what the latest hair update is. It is still quite short, maybe a 1/4 of an inch. I had a woman tell me today what a beautiful color it is, and I was like are you crazy? Mainly because it is just hard for me to see it very well. She claims it is strawberry blonde. I got worried a couple of days ago when I noticed dark brown in my eyebrows. They have always been either a very light red or blond. Jim said he does see some darker hair coming in on my head. Who knows maybe I'll just be a calico! Of course, Miles tells me it is just gray and to quit worrying about it. Yeah, right!

And I continue to get better from the surgery. While I still don't quite have all of my range of motion back, I can pretty much reach everything if I take it slowly. And we are down to a very small spot left for the skin graft to heal. I'll go for my weekly checkup with Dr. Sclar this afternoon and I'm hoping we can get rid of the last bandage. Of course, I'm almost back to the point where I need to start exercising again and that brings me back to Yoga! Oh well, I really will get started this time! :)

Gotta run to the library and pick up my lastest book supply. I finished Gate to the Stairs and though I liked it, it won't make my top 20 list. The writing though was wonderful. I also just knocked off The Help. This was very good and if you haven't read it, I would suggest it.

Take care!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Life in the Slow Lane

Ok, I admit I don't have a lot of patience when it comes to being sick, so its been a little frustrating recovering from my mastectomy. The first 4 weeks were oh so painful, but over the last week it is finally getting better. And even though it has seemed very slow to me, the recovery has gone remarkably well, so I have been very fortunate. My range of motion is much better, and although I am still sore, it gets easier to do things everyday. And most importantly, I can now make my own coffee!

Dr. Sclar has said I'm ready for chemo and so I'm meeting with Dr. Neubauer (my oncologist) Thursday morning to see what he says. I'm really ready to get moving again on this treatment regime. I'm optimistic that this time around it won't be so bad. I figure my euphoric outlook will keep me going through at least 2 rounds and by the time I might start feeling bad I'll be almost through. I guess some might say I have my head in the sand (who in their right might would look forward to starting chemo!), but I've found this approach has worked pretty well for me. I try to keep my eye on getting back to a somewhat normal life this summer. I keep thinking about all of the things I love about summer - playing tennis, summer swim team, the LF 4th of July and our family vacation. Plus Jim and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary in July. So I've just got to get through the next couple months!

Since I haven't been able to do much else, I've been reading about a book a day. Mostly I've been reading several crime series. Maybe not the best writing, but easy to get through! I did read A Friend of the Family which was very good. I started Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs last night and was immediately taken in by her prose. Kind of like living on junk food for several weeks and then getting a carefully crafted gourmet meal. You realize what you've been missing when you finally get back to the good stuff!

And best of all, I made it to the boys' swim meet last weekend. I hadn't seen them swim since October when I last went to one of their practices. I think the hot temps and chlorine smell at the pool just didn't mix well with chemo. Anyway, my friend and tennis partner took me down so I could watch a couple of their events. Both did very well and improved their times in each of their events, and it was so fun to watch them.

So all in all, I'm getting better and life is going well - and maybe slow isn't so bad after all!

Take care!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Brrrr. . . . .

Is everyone else thawing out? On the one hand I hate having cancer and recovering from a mastectomy, but on the other, at least I didn't have to get out much last week.

Everything is continuing to mend, thank goodness. We did have to go to the doctor every other day last week, just so Dr. Sclar could monitor the skin graft. I am still on no activity, but he did finally add 1 exercise on Friday. I feel like this is my first step toward preparing for tennis this spring. I can start moving my arm upwards, but only in front. I'm still can't move it out to the side. He said he would probably add more exercises this week. I go back tomorrow.

I am still not sure when I'll start chemo again. Right now this is totally up to Dr. Sclar and when he thinks I'm sufficiently recovered. At the beginning, Dr. Neubauer and Dr. Sclar said it would be a minimum of 4 weeks, but as we are 3 weeks out from my surgery, I bet it will be more like 5 or 6 weeks. There were 2 very small patches where the skin graft didn't take and I think he wants these to heal over before releasing me. According to Jim, these spots are healing quickly.

Speaking of Jim, he has just been phenomenal through this whole thing. He has taken such good care of me, including having to change my bandages 2 and 3 times a day. He is always "up" for me and never ever complains or evens acts like taking care of me is a bother. When I'm feeling down at not being able to do much, he always reminds me my only job right now is to get well. Mom always used to tell me how lucky I was to have him, and she was oh so right.

One of the bright spots in the last week or so has been my hair is coming back in. My head is now covered with new fuzz and for some reason that really makes me feel good. Although, everyone said it would grow back, I would always panic that I would be the first where it didn't. Silly, I know.

The other good piece is Dr. Sclar said as part of my reconstruction surgery, I would get a free tummy tuck. I can't even imagine what it would be like to have a flat stomach again. Although right now, I sometimes wonder if I really want to go through another surgery. I just don't have much patience for the recovery process. But I'm sure by the time that rolls around, I'll be ready.

Have a Wonderful Day!