I promised last night to write about how it came to be that I am finished with chemo! I can’t believe it…I am finished with chemo!!! It still seems a little bit surreal.
Before I get started, here’s a picture because this is gonna be long!
My little goofball!
This past Friday morning Brandon and I headed to Durham for our 7:15am appointment. I’d had an awful night on Thursday, with lots of pain that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
We checked in as usual, and it was way less crowded than it had been at my previous appointment (on which day, the schedulers told us that my clinic was scheduled for 180 appointments …180!!!! The waiting room was literally overflowing out into the hallways…).
Anyway, as we sat in the waiting room I posted a quick update on FB and was so overwhelmed by the immediate outpouring of support and encouragement for my treatment.
My friend Ruth wrote, “…I hope it goes better than we all dare hope…” — I was thinking the same thing, because I didn’t know how much more my body could handle.
Things moved along pretty quickly and I still thought it was just business as usual…weight (gained. boo), blood pressure (kinda high. boo), access the port (oww. boo), had to see a new nurse (we missed our favorite oncology nurse. boo).
Why do I feel discouraged, why do the shadows come…?
As we talked with my oncology team that morning, we discussed my ongoing side effects…namely the neuropathy and muscle weakness. We discussed the heavy dose of steroids and other medicines I was requiring just to maintain comfort after a treatment, and we discussed the fact that because of those side effects, I couldn’t walk without my knees buckling and I still had significant numbness in my hands and feet.
When Jesus is my portion, a constant friend is He…
Then they suggested it…suggested that maybe I didn’t need any more chemo! They hadn’t been able to feel the tumor for weeks now and said I had already had such a favorable response to the 6 chemo treatments that I didn’t need to have my last 2 treatments!
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!
I had not expected to hear such good news. I was a little scared. I had prepared myself for 8 treatments. I had it in my head that 8 treatments would be required to “kill the cancer” – ultimately though, the oncology team convinced me (in about 2 seconds 😉 ) that I really had had enough, and that surgery and radiation would take care of anything else.
They also warned that continued chemo may cause irreversible side effects and they really did not want to subject me to additional chemo that they didn’t feel was absolutely necessary.
Isn’t God merciful?!
I know He would have seen me through, but I can not imagine being any weaker than what I was. As it is, I’m 17 days post-treatment and still hobbling around like I’m 90 years old!! I trust that none of my current side effects are irreversible…just trying to be patient as I get stronger. Would you pray for complete healing (both from the cancer and side effects) from the chemo I have already received?
So what’s next? (One of Cadence’s favorite things to say!)
As if God had a hand in all of this or something, the surgeon was in the clinic and available to meet with Brandon and I about 10 minutes after the decision was made not to proceed with chemo! He confirmed our decision to stop the treatments and confirmed that he also could not feel the tumor. He also assured us that in his experience, genetic cancers did generally respond really well to chemo, and he felt like I had already had a full response. That was reassuring.
Then we had to talk about surgery. Not my favorite topic.
At any rate…all my worries about the timing and what not…I don’t know why I bothered worrying…He knows just what I need.
The surgery is scheduled for December 1 – after Thanksgiving, but long enough before Christmas that I can hopefully be “recovered” on some levels, and enjoy time with my family.
I will have one more appointment before my surgery, but I will not have to have any more MRIs or body scans right now. Basically the surgeon said they will be analyzing my breast tissue and lymph nodes very closely after the surgery in pathology and if they see any indication that there is more cancer, they we would discuss additional chemo at that time. But he feels like that is highly unlikely.
I think that about catches everybody up on what’s going on with my treatments.
As for how I’m feeling – better.every.day! I think I had a false-sense of well-being from the steroids on Friday afternoon into Saturday…I paid dearly for it on Sunday, but I think I am coming around. As I said, I am trusting that I will feel completely better at some point…it is just the when that I’m not sure about!
For now I’m just gonna try to get some beauty sleep and let these muscles rest!