Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Houston, We Have Lift Off!

That is lift off from the Chemo IV! Tuesday, March 10th marked my last of eight chemo treatments...and I am thrilled to have reached this milestone! This last treatment so far, has been the easiest of them all, as I didn't need to get the really expensive and painful Nulasta shot...which really contributed to the muscle/bone aches.

What next? Radiation therapy. I will meet with my radiation oncologist, Dr, Gaffney next Wednesday, and will most likely get "tatooed", so that the computer knows where to shoot the radiation beams. Probably a week after that I will start the 5 weeks of treatment, which means I go in every day M-F for about 10-15 mins and get zapped.

I also met with Dr. Agarwal, the plastic surgeon and reviewed my options, and he confirmed that it we wait at least 6 weeks before considering any reconstruction, the skin simply has to have time to heal. Dr Buys also took me off the bone-strengthening drug, as my ankle seems to have really flared up since I have been on it. I may start that up again, but I am taking a couple weeks off to see if it makes any difference. Speaking of which, I may try to get the foot/ankle worked on after radiation, the Docs all agreed that it would be a good time frame.

As I pass from phase II to III of the journey, my doctors gave me a little heads up that many patients feel that they are not doing enough to fight the cancer once they complete chemo, and so become a little distressed. While it is hard to say preemtively how I will feel, I have always viewed this as a process, and that one day it will come to completion and that I will go on with my life. It will never be quite the same; hopefully I will have experienced some growth (and no...not just the growth happening by design!) but that I will be a little more filled with faith, compassion and understanding. I hope not to live with a fear of metastasis, but just a calm and careful watchfulness tempered by peace.

While I will continue to meet periodically with the doctors and nurses at Huntsman, my goodbyes on Tuesday were a little bitter-sweet. I have come to love and adore each of my care givers, and while I didn't look forward to treatment, I always eagerly anticipated meeting with them. I don't know if there is a better group of folks fighting cancer than those at Huntsman! Following are some pictures of these fabulous people:

Dr Buys

Janet Bloch-NP

Nurse Vicki

Port Access Nurses Michelle and Majda

The nurses in infusion

With the port accessed