Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chemo cycle 8, part A - days 1-2

It's hard to believe that I'm nearly done with chemo. I've already received cycle 8, part A, and have just one more infusion (part B) next Tuesday and then the day after I'll get my final shot (either Neulasta or Neupogen) to boost WBC production and then I'll be done with chemo! Just before receiving #8A, Dr.B informed me that I'm even more anemic than last time and that if I go any lower when I go in for #8B next week then I will probably have to go to the hospital for a blood transfusion - he didn't want me to be surprised by it so he was letting me know now. ;/. They're working on getting insurance approval to give me another shot like I had once before for this but he said it's benefit is limited and it could take too long to take effect. So....if this happens my completion of this final chemo cycle could be delayed a bit. But I have faith that my body will do it's job...that my prayers and the prayers of so many of you for me will help me avoid a transfusion and delay. I also have faith that if I do end up needing a transfusion and getting delayed it will be what needs to happen as part of God's plan for me. So I'm not worried. When I went in for my shot this morning I joked with the nurses that I might just have to keep going in to talk to them even when I have no other reason to be there after chemo is finished. They said they won't mind at all seeing as I come bearing gifts every time I show my face there. The other day one of the nurses told me that some of the patients even come in asking "is Julie going to be here today?" :) That put a huge smile on my face. One of these patients was there yesterday during my chemo infusion and he and his wife conversed with me the entire time he was there. It was his final chemo yesterday and when they left (about halfway through my infusion), they handed me a paper with their name, email address and phone number and asked if I'd share mine with them so they could keep in touch. I was happy to do that. I have met some incredibly brave and wonderful people through this journey - many of whom I will always consider as part of my extended family now. Anyway, it's not like I won't be there plenty of times once chemo is over. I'll have plenty of blood draws, scans and exams, to be followed closely for the next few years, especially since the cancer was triple negative, making the first three years critical. And while the chemo chapter comes to a close, there is still lots of treatment left for me - most notably the radiation chapter which will have me in another doctor's office DAILY, M-F, for 2-3 months, beginning in February. Between Dec.16th and Jan. 14th the only appointments I'll have will likely be blood draws to evaluate my fitness for my next reconstructive surgery on 1/14, and consultations with both of my medical oncologists, the radiation oncologist, and the holistic M.D., to discuss my post-chemo path. It may sound like quite a lot in a month but really that's nothing compared with getting chemo 2 weeks of every month and daily visits for shots for the week following chemo infusions. I'm told by many of my friends who've gone before me that radiation isn't quite as difficult as chemo so that is nice to hear, although chemo wasn't too bad for me - praise God! So far, this cycle feels similar to the very first one. Today I woke with a burning sensation in my belly. Thankfully though, it didn't lead to the very unpleasant digestive symptoms that followed that feeling in the first cycle - at least not so far haha. I had a twinge of nausea that quickly went away once I took today's dose of Emend and Zofran in the morning and didn't need to take anything later in the day so that's good. My salivary glands are still not happy so I need to force myself to drink more water. I haven't mentioned this yet but for the past three weeks or so I've had some strange feeling in my pelvis area - not quite like period cramps, more like a twisting sensation that comes and goes. I mentioned it to Dr.B (my local medical oncologist) and told him I had an ob/gyn check up later this week and he suggested I get an ultrasound to have Dr.N (my ob/gyn) take a look at my ovaries and that region to be sure there isn't anything going on there - so I'm having an ultrasound on Friday to take a look. Dr.B said that chemo causes aches and pains all over and this could be just another location of that, but it never hurts to take a look and be sure. I love Dr.B. Many doctors would just assume it's one of those aches/pains but he knows this is not the time to assume anything - if there's something going on down there we need to know now. I trust that all is OK but I continue to pray and ask for prayers that is true. Thank you all for your continued support and prayers. I'm grateful beyond what any words can express.


  1. Yippee on chemo almost being done! I am so glad you have met so many great people along the way but it sucks you had to get cancer to meet them. Too many people (esp young ones) with cancer these days!!! Enjoy your break from all the doctor's visits and treatments. I hope Bob is home for Christmas or that you enjoy celebrating whenever he is home! I think of you often!

  2. good luck with the ultra sound tomorrow. You're on our minds. How many radiation treatments?
    Yes its great to be able to vary my diet albeit
    one small step at a time

  3. I cannot wait for the last chemo session to be over! I will do a dance for you on the east coast (much like I did with my husband and the nurse and the patient next door when the final beeps sounded on the IV pump that the treatment was over).

    I was thinking about you the other day and how absolutely upbeat you are throughout all of this. You are someone that I would like to be friends with because you are so upbeat.

    I just want to know what lesson we are supposed to learn from this and how we will grow from this experience. I told my husband that I think the wisdom will truly come when the treatments are finished and an anniversary of the procedures is behind us...I digress. I just cannot wait to hear when you are done and I am praying that the last treatment comes without any delays!!!

  4. Julie, I was just catching up reading your posts and read that you are having an ultrasound today. I'm praying that all turns out well at this appointment and that this pain will be gone. You have a God-given talent for communicating, informing, and advocating so very well! God bless, my friend, God bless.