Considering I am rounding the corner and running to the finish line of my treatments, this week has been a pretty good week. I had a visit with my physician this morning, and I was happy to report to her no unusual new symptoms. Taxol can cause numbness and tingling in the extremities. I have had none. It can cause a lot of bone/joint pain. The only bothersome bone pain I have is from receiving those annoying and expensive, but helpful, neupogen injections. Really, the only weird symptom I have had with this chemo drug is a nose bleeding issue. My nose doesn't constantly have blood rushing out of it, but I am constantly blowing blood clots out of my nose. I also always notice a ring of dried blood on the edge of my nostrils. (Sorry if that was "tmi".) Truly, the only annoyance I have had with this treatment is the weakness/flu like feeling I get every afternoon and evening. But, that is completely normal when you are undergoing chemo, so it doesn't bother me. Also, it is no fun being constantly neutropenic, but that also happens with chemo. All in all, I am very happy about how my body has dealt with Taxol.
I mentioned in my post from last week that I was pretty bummed after visiting the breast surgeon last week. I was really expecting her to seem super-happy at the positive changes in my left breast as she both palpated the area and viewed it via ultrasound. But, my awesome oncologist, Dr. H., warned me prior to that appointment that surgeons never get as excited about results as we do. I was glad she warned me. Today was the first time I have seen Dr. H. since my surgeon appointments last week. She was SUPER excited about the results. Plus, she palpated the area again today and said she is just amazed at the results. She thinks the cancerous area is just completely broken up. Again, we won't know what is truly remaining until the surgery. The PET/CT will also give us some indication of the success of treatment.
We are going to wait until I am completely finished with the Taxol to schedule the PET/CT. The PET will show uptake of the contrast in any of the cancerous areas. She said she still expects to see some uptake in the left breast, due to all of the metabolic activity. Also, there could be tiny bits of cancer remaining throughout the breast. Nonetheless, I am pretty excited to see the results of it. I am still praying for it to show NO CANCER! :-) I would really appreciate the faithful prayer warriors who follow this blog to believe and pray along with me for complete healing. Wouldn't it be exciting for the breast surgeon to be blown away during surgery when she can't find cancer? Maybe then I would see excitement on her face!
Dr. H. agreed with waiting 2-3 weeks after my last chemo dosage to have my left breast mastectomy surgery. That should give my blood counts enough time to come back to normal levels. I will begin radiation a couple of weeks after surgery. I am going to be meeting my radiation oncologist very soon to discuss the details of radiation. I really have no idea what to expect with that other than I will be going every day for 6 weeks to have the radiation therapy. I understand the first appointment takes about an hour and a half. But, the subsequent treatments should only take about 15 minutes.
Apparently, the jury is still out on whether I will receive the two rounds of AC chemo that I missed. I thought indications were that we would not come back to it. But, I guess we are going to wait to make that decision until after my first surgery and review of the pathology report. My hair has really been growing back, so it would be a disappointing to lose all of the hair growth I am so excited about having.
Our family is doing well. Abbey seems to have recovered from the ear infection that afflicted her a few weeks ago. She is her happy, healthy, normal self who continues to make us smile. Her appetite has improved drastically since about a week after the ear infection began.
Luke is so much fun and also therapeutic for me (and Drew and Abbey for that matter). That kid has so much love to give. He is so sensitive to our feelings and needs. It's like he has a direct connection with our Heavenly Father who instructs him to say certain specific words and or give hugs/kisses exactly when needed. He tells me randomly, about 5 times per day, "Awwww... I love you mommy" and follows up those words with a big hug and kiss. It just melts my heart. And he is so much fun! He keeps me moving constantly and just wants to play and pretend every waking moment. I must admit though, I am so happy he still takes a 2+ hour afternoon nap daily. I definitely need the down time. :-) It is awesome when it works out where both kids are napping at the same time. Thankfully, it has been working out that way lately.
Drew is also doing well. We are really getting into a good schedule now and I am able to pick up some of the chores and things he picked up when I first began chemo. We are looking forward to a date together after the chemotherapy regimen is complete. We really crave a date (it has been a LONG time since we had a date together). This is just another reason I am looking forward to the end of chemo! :-) In the meantime, we are making the most of every moment together as a family. We are so blessed to have each other. Drew is so perfect for me and I am so thankful for him.
My blood count looks great today (ANC of 3 and total WBC of 4.1), so I am happy to tell you that I get to stay on schedule for the second week in a row! Hooray! I don't like the neupogen, but receiving the shot a day before my scheduled chemo day seems to really work to keep my on schedule. Yesterday, my ANC was only .6. So, here I am again, sipping my delicious, iced green tea and receiving my 10th infusion of Taxol. Only two more to go after today! Praise the Lord, GREAT things He has done!