You don’t really realize what a break the weekend is until you not only have off work but also have two full days without diagnostic tests, blood draws, consultations, echocardiograms (forgot to tell you guys about that one from last Friday…it was pretty cool to watch…no results, yet, but I’m assuming my ticker is a-ok), CT scans, biopsies, ultrasounds, etc. Man, I feel so free and uninhibited! And on top of all that, the swelling in my boob from the biopsy is almost nonexistent and the hematoma(s) much reduced (lymph node biopsy has some bruising, but no hematoma or noticeable swelling…whew!), so the girls feel free and uninhibited, too (they got their first taste of not being tamed by a compression bra in weeks…woo hoo!). The boob pain wasn’t debilitating or anything, it was mostly just a constant, annoying reminder that there is a tumor there. Even the slightest postural adjustment and it would scream at me, “Cancer, remember? CANCER here!” Thanks, I had forgotten for, like, almost 30 seconds… It helped going into the weekend with my spirits buoyed from Friday night after a convo with a friend who went through almost exactly what I’m going through…down to the type of cancer, treatment regimen, clinics and/or doctors, etc. (we even have the same first name, but I don’t want to single her out any more than that in case she prefers anonymity). She’s a survivor, and more than just from beating this bullshit cancer business – an amazing, strong woman and mentor with similar thoughts and priorities about how to continue to LIVE during and after BC enters the picture. I’ma be leaning on her (hope she’s ready for it!).
Anticipating a relatively ‘cancer lite’ week to come. Some lab work Monday or Tuesday, another breast biopsy on Wednesday afternoon (this one because the clinical trial I am going on requires fresh tumor tissue…not looking forward to another 3 weeks with a sore, swollen, inflamed, and angry boob, but it’s the cost of going on the study I suppose), and then an appointment with the plastic surgeon (Dr. Poore) on Friday afternoon. Everyone keeps telling me he’s the best so, if nothing else, I’m going to be walking out of this crappy situation with some boss (though significantly smaller) new knockers! Also this week, we should get results from genetic testing, echo/EKG, and CT scan (fingers crossed!).
It’s looking like chemo will start Tuesday, Jan 19. The initial phase of chemo will consist of a cocktail with Taxol (paclitaxel) and, depending on which study group I’m in for the clinical trial (double blind study, so neither the oncologist nor I know what I’m getting up front): carboplatin (a nasty booger, if I receive this one it will cause a rapid and significant drop in blood cell counts (white, red, and platelets) and we’ll know through blood tests that I’m on it, double blind or not!), OR carboplatin and the protein inhibiting drug they are testing, veliparib. They’ve had success with the combo in Phase II trials, now they are testing a few more parameters. Dr. O’Regan assures us that if I am not responding to the chemo (and/or responding too much, like if the carboplatin is wreaking havoc), we’ll stop the trial and reevaluate. I won’t likely have enough time to get a port implanted before the first treatment, but I’ll have that in place for IV administration in subsequent sessions. After the first round of chemo with the Taxol cocktail (up to 12 weeks), I’ll move to the next group of drugs: doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (referred to as ‘AC’, these are the standard chemo drugs that have been in the cancer fighting arsenal forever and ever, amen). Up to 20 weeks of chemo total, taking us to early June, then I get a couple/three weeks break before the mastectomy. Which means a potential happy boobless birthday to meeeeeeee!
Chemo came up quicker than anticipated, which means I’m crunched for time in terms of cranking out a few chemo caps. Lots of options for knitting and crocheting (I’ve dabbled, just not my wheelhouse…) but I really wish there were more sewing patterns out there so that I could make my own stylin’ hats, darn it (pun intended, OMG I’m hilarious!). The vast majority of the patterns for fabric are more turban-like than I would prefer and have the ‘cancer tails’ (nothing says chemo like those swaths of material hanging down…some of them are cute but if I want people to know I have cancer I’ll just take my hat off!). I hope to find a pattern or two to make by spring so that I can not stand out like a sore thumb wearing a winter cap everywhere. First world problems, I know, but I feel somewhat entitled to a few piss-n-moan sessions about relatively insignificant things…
Peace and love-