Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chemo Starts Next Week!

I saw wonderful  Dr. Haley today, my oncologist.  All tests results were good!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  No metastasis was shown in any of my x-rays or Ct scans!  Heart and lung function are good!  My score on the Oncotype test was in the low range - meaning a low chance of recurrence!  This was all done by extracting DNA from my cells - wow!  The three possible ranges are low, intermediate, and high.  So, I feel very blessed that my ole' body is in such good condition!!!

Chemotherapy will start next week.  I will receive 4 chemotherapy treatments spaced 3 weeks apart - so this will end the middle of December.  She said I won't start losing my hair until the second treatment.  So, by Thanksgiving I should be a bald turkey!  Don't worry I have 2 cute wigs!  My daughter, Monica, will be taking me to the first appointment next week.  We are trying to see if they can take me on Tuesday.  Still waiting to hear back on that.  Dr. Haley said the treatments will last about 2 hours each - not bad!

They gave me  a tour of the chemotherapy treatment room.  The room is private with a recliner for the patient and 2 chairs for possible friends or family.  There is a large flat screen TV mounted on the wall with a DVD player!  They also have a library of DVDs you can use.  There is a sink in each treatment room.  Wifi is available and a land line phone in each room just in case you need it.  There is a snack bar with drinks, etc., and a refrigerator if you bring your lunch.  There is also a cafeteria upstairs - with blue plate specials, pizza, salads, soups, sandwiches, cookies, pastries, beverages, and a coffee bar!  And, of course, there is valet parking at this facility!

Now to the nitty gritty.  She said because of my good test results, I will NOT have to take the chemo drug nicknamed "The Red Devil" - woohoo!  This is what I will be given during the chemo infusion:

Docetaxel (Taxotere is trade name):
This drug is a mitotic inhibitor, stopping the growth of cancer cells and causing them to die. 

Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar, CTS - trade names):
This drug is an alkylating agent, helping stop cancer cells from growing, causing them to die.

Both of these chemotherapy drugs have the following side effects: decreased white blood cell count with increased risk of infection; hair loss; nausea; loss of appetite; rash; numbness/tingling in hands/or feet; tiredness; muscle aches.

Dr. Haley has called in several prescriptions to my pharmacy to ward off the nausea, etc.  She said the nausea usually only lasts a couple of days after the treatment.  She also said I do not have to be a hermit and stay home - but not to be around people who have a cold or virus. 

So the way I see it, chemotherapy should end mid-December.  I will get 3-4 weeks off, then radiation will begin about the second week in January and last 6 1/2 weeks, which takes me to sometime in February.  After that, I can think about the reconstruction, which also involves a tummy-tuck!  Woohoo!  (I got all these possible dates wrong when I first posted this, these are the corrected time projections after looking at a calendar.)

I think there is a beach somewhere calling my name next summer!!!!!