Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chemo #7 is history and I'll be done in two weeks!

This point looked so far away last April when I knew I'd have to undergo chemo, there was no escaping it, and I realized it would be a rough road.  But here I am, almost exactly six months after receiving the call that my cancer was back, and the chemo finish line is two weeks away.  And I'm still standing!  Thanks to an oncologist who really listens to me, a fabulous chemo nurse, and the rest of the staff at the Dana Farber satellite clinic in Londonderry, NH, my side effects have been manageable, my experiences have been relatively painless, and the end of my chemo journey will end T minus 14 days and counting!

My labs were better today.  My blood counts were all acceptable although I am anemic and that explains the fatigue.  There was good improvement in my metabolic panel numbers, including the liver enzymes.  I met with the PA today and he told me I could enjoy an occasional adult beverage without worry, and I can take Tylenol for any bone pain I might experience.  I had some pain after the last treatment and rode it out because I didn't think I should take Tylenol.  But he told me not to worry, that I'd have to take a whole lot for a long time before any damage would occur.  The pain gets a little tiring and interrupts my sleep, so I'll take it as needed.

We talked about genetic testing and he was surprised that no one had yet talked to me about genetic counseling.  So at my last treatment, they will draw blood for the BRCA test (BRCA Genetic Testing Explanation) and we will meet with the DF Genetic Counselor on 11/30.  As far as I know, I have just one great-aunt who had breast cancer.  The good news is that she lived to be 102, outliving her 8 other siblings!  There may or may not have been others, our families were not very close so I wouldn't have heard about any other cancer.  My girls need to know if I carry the gene.  I may as well have this test performed this year, while I am still in the "deductible fulfilled" status!  Who knows what changes will come to our insurance plans in 2012. 

Christine accompanied me to treatment today.  We had grandiose plans to make popcorn right there in the chemo lounge, then pass out popcorn to the staff and patients.  But we did ask first if it would be OK, and we were told that 1) permission from the electrician would be required to use a popcorn popper; and 2) the smell of cooking popcorn might be nauseating to some of the patients.  We had talked about that last night and thought maybe we could make it in a downstairs breakroom area.  But the floor nurse supervisor was not in favor.  But Christine would not be denied; she took everything back to our house, made popcorn, put it in movie-theater-style cups, and then drove back.  It was mission accomplished!  We handed out popcorn and candy while we watched "The Waitress" which was a very nice light romantic comedy, perfect for the two of us.  Rick stopped by with lunch for Christine and hung out for a while then headed back to his home office. 

We've decided that they don't quite know what to make of us...we are a lively group and trying to have some fun while being "stuck" literally for up to seven hours.  Today we arrived at 8:30 and we left about 3:15 so it's a long, long process.  It seems like we spend much time waiting for the next step, so we definitely have time to kill.  Having some company, planning something fun makes the time go by a little faster, and we usually make people smile.  

Wait until they see what we "cook up" for that last treatment!  They "ain't seen nothin' yet!"



  1. I think what helps Michelle is that you have people with you. Some can't have that due to people that need to be at work. I would think it would be hard.

    Glad things went well and you are home


  2. Michelle, it is wonderful to have such a great support system. I must say that, in addition to that, you have the most amazing positive attitude. I really believe that has gone a long way toward getting you through this so well.

  3. Have fun, laugh and smile a lot.


  4. Michelle, Linda is right...the support system you have set up is WONDERFUL! It makes such a difference. The thing is that people WANT to be around you. Enjoy yourself in every situation! Sometimes you "just" have to break the rules a little.

  5. I am so glad to hear you only have 2 more weeks and then you are done. I am so glad you have a great support team with you and behind you - it does make a difference.

    I pray that you can get the tummy tuck soon, then you can have new boobies as well, that does sound good. I can not wait to see what you have up your sleeve for you last treatment of chemo. Love ya lots Deb