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


Miriam Latour said...

Gretchy, I love these photos so much! You look so gorgeous an so do all those fabulous medical people. :)

Derek said...

Hi Gretchen - it's been quite the journey and while I've felt a little of it by reading along, I can't wait until I see you next to give you a big hug. :-)
All my love, Derek

LuvMnky said...

You are truly an inspriation to me, Gretchen! I'm so excited for you to have reached this milestone, and so proud of the way you have handled this particular moment of your life. I'm trying to be like you and sometimes feel that I am failing miserably, but if anything, I've learned from you that you just have to pick yourself back up and keep going. Which I'm trying to do. Thank you so much for choosing to go public with this journey. You have no idea the lives you have touched and the good you have done. Love you! :)

Anonymous said...

Gretchen, I continue to be completely overwhelmed by your strength.
Love, Rene'

Chuck & Kathy said...

Dear Gretchy,

I read an article fro President Eyring that he said that his great passion is to Teach, Lift and Strengthen. Thank you for doing the same with what Our Father has given you to experience. We have and continue to be blessed because of the example of our Savior Jesus Christ amd because your are a peaceable deciple. Thanks & Glory Be to our Father in Heaven who knows us all perfectly and has sent you angels to lift you and your family to make the impossibe; possible through lightening our understanding. Aunty Kathy