So, here is the new and improved, especially-designed-for-Heather treatment plan:
- Continue with the weekly Taxol infusions. Only 6 more weekly doses to go after today.
- On 1/8/13, I have an appointment with my surgeon. She has an ultrasound machine in her office and will take a look at the cancerous breast and nearby lymph nodes to see the progress. I am excited to see her reaction!
- After I complete the 12 rounds of Taxol, I will have additional imaging studies. Likely, I will have a PET exam and maybe even a breast MRI. This will hopefully show more clearly what is remaining in the left breast--whether it is simply scar tissue or cancer.
- Then, I will probably have surgery after my blood counts have some time to get back up into normal range and I am physically well. The surgery will include removal of my left breast and any cancerous lymph nodes.
- The pathology from surgery will show us what is truly remaining in the area. We are praying for miraculous results and NO CANCER! :-)
- If there is cancer remaining, we may come back to more chemo (AC). Either way, I will be receiving radiation therapy as well.
- After Chemo, Surgery and Radiation, I will be taking the anti-estrogen drug, Tamoxifen, for "at least ten years". Recent studies have shown that there is a lower chance of recurrence for pre-menopausal women if they take the drug for at least ten years.
- After Radiation, I will have reconstruction surgery for the left breast and a mastectomy of the right breast, along with reconstruction of it. Hopefully, all in one surgery.
So, that is that! I really hope I don't have to have any more of that AC. I don't like that stuff. The Taxol isn't too bad; that is, considering it is chemotherapy, it is not too bad. I am noticing though that the side effects continue to build from week to week.
I was at the chemo infusion room every day last week except for Friday, in hopes of receiving chemo. I received neupogen injections on Monday through Wednesday and my wbc finally shot up on Thursday so I could receive chemo. On Thursday, they reduced my dosage of Taxol, so it wouldn't be so hard on my immune system. I came in yesterday for labs, assuming my wbc would be low. My ANC was at .8 yesterday (needed to be 1.5 to get chemo), so I received a neupogen injection. Today, it was 12.7!!! Normal range is 1.5-6.5, so we jumped to the other side of the scale today. We are beginning to figure me out. Hopefully this reduced dosage of Taxol, along with coming in a day early for labs and neupogen, will continue to help keep me on schedule. So much to be thankful for! Thank you Lord!