Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's a wrap!

I am now 8 hours PFC!!!  Where's my hair?  Just kidding, of course.  It will come, my head has a whole lot of stubble and fuzz.  My eyelashes are completely gone and my normal eyebrows have been replaced by a crop of colorless hair whose only purpose seems to be to give me a little clue where I should be attempting to add some color. 

My daughter Christine turned my chemo suite into a Paris bistro serving a continental breakfast - fruit, eclairs, French cheeses, baguettes, dark chocolate and sparkling cider!  There's a good reason why her in-laws named her the "Minister of Fun!"  We fed everyone in the place. All the staff stopped by for goodies including my oncologist and the PA, patients either stopped by or Christine delivered to them, and we made sure to include the first smiling faces we see every time we walk into the center - the patient registration gals. 
 My look for the Paparazzi!  Is it Jaclyn Smith or Sleeping Beauty behind those shades?  Or maybe Sally Field?
 A little mother/daughter posing.  Christine, don't worry about the weight - you've got three inches on me and you look fantastic! 
 My treatment team posing with me.  On the left is Summer, who greeted me each time, took my vitals and made me comfortable.  And on the right is chemo nurse Lisa, who took care of my every medical need and left  no question unanswered.  She was there for every single treatment - amazing!
This saint, also my namesake Michelle, is the Financial Advisor.  She spent countless hours on the phone with my insurance company trying to convince them that this location was a chemo infusion center and not the main hospital in Boston.  Her patience and perseverance knew no boundaries.

 Hooked up for the last time.  Yes, the LAST time!!!

 And Lisa detaching everything for the LAST time!!!
A well-deserved hug - she was just awesome! And oh, I had to take the wig off, it was getting very annoying about half way through the session. 
Christine, me and Joe getting ready to walk out of the center with Christine's phone playing Pomp and Circumstance. 

My labs were ok, not great.  I was hoping to avoid the Neulasta shot, but my WBC was only 5.  It's been going down at least 9 points so I'll go back tomorrow at 1 p.m. for one more stick.  I'll have some bone pain for a few days, probably starting on Saturday.  But it's not too bad - Tylenol has taken care of it so far.  My liver enzymes fell nicely into the normal range so the Tylenol won't be a problem.  But even better, I can safely enjoy a couple of umbrella drinks on the beach or by the pool when we go to Florida next month.  Yesssss!!!  And I am anemic and my protein level is low, so I'll continue to focus on proteins and other iron-rich foods. 

I will have to continue on all of my meds for a couple of months.  Neuropathy can still rear its ugly head, heartburn is still making itself known although pretty well controlled with the daily Pepcid and Prilosec.  I need to continue the generic Valtrex for at least six months as my body will continue to be stressed out for a while - further surgeries, radiation, etc.

So what's next, you ask?  Just a few specialists appointments:

Oct 5 - DIEP surgeon consultation at Faulkner Hospital and drop off radiation records at Brigham & Women's in Boston
Oct 11 - PET/CT scan at River's Edge - part of Eliot Hospital in Manchester, NH
Oct 14 - Radiation Oncology consultation at Brigham & Women's even though Dr. Harris is on staff at Dana Farber

And niece and nephew are coming for the weekend, and then...we are going to DelRay Beach in Florida for a week.  We need a rest!!!

Back in March, I couldn't even imagine the end of chemo without some dire side effects.  But the Dana Farber team listened to my every concern and made the necessary adjustments so that I would suffer as little as possible.  I really couldn't ask for more.

Chemo is a wrap!



  1. Michelle, I'm just so happy for you that the chemo is over!! These are wonderful photos filled with joy! Your team really loves you...I can see this in their smiles and hugs.

    You look fabulous! You'd never know you just had chemo! It must have been the good food and drinks! I actually think that head scarf wrap is pretty on you, too. I don't think I've seen that longer hair wig. Looks great!

    I'm glad to hear your hair is growing out now.
    I know you'll have a wonderful trip with your family with POOL DRINKS!

    Thank you for including us all on your journey.


  2. Glad this stage is all over and done with


  3. First of all, give that Christine of yours a huge hug from your friend in Minnesota! What a gal. She sure knows what fun is and what better way to celebrate such a huge milestone than bringing Paris to you in your chemo suite!

    Michelle, I am so happy for you that you have weathered the chemo and come out relatively unscathed. I can't think of any two people who deserve a vacation more than you and Rick.

    Blessings to you, my friend.


  4. Happy Dance! Happy Dance!

    I'm so glad you finished with flying colors. Now go enjoy the beach!

  5. Michelle - Great pictures! I am sure the staff loved the way you handled everything and I'm guessing you brought some sunshine to your fellow patients with your positive attitude. Christine deserves her "Minister of Fun" label. It's clear that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree.

    A vacation sounds perfect.


  6. Michelle, great pictures. You have a wonderful support team. You and they have made this entire process so up-beat. I'm certain that you and your family managed to brighten the days for others receiving treatment as well. You rock!