Today was the changing of the guard in our house. Nick's mom who was here for the past 9 days headed back East- thank you soooooo much for everything Virginia!!!- and Nick's sister Wendy joined us last night. Like Nick's mom, Wendy is fun, funny, wicked smart and great with the kids so I know we'll have a memorable week. Our first stop this am was scary westside Phoenix for a PETscan. I kept saying that I wanted a fish and Nick said he wanted a kitten, but I guess it wasn't that kind of place. This procedure is done at this point to evaluate my body for any evidence of cancer metastasizing in other areas. It's similar to an MRI in that they put you in a tube like thing and xray every inch of you. I was definitely freaking out about this one. Bad enough that I have breast cancer, but to learn that cancer might be in other places too? I just couldn't bear it. Especially since I have the 8 cancer infected lymph nodes, it wouldn't be out of the question. But here's the best news of the day... in the words of my sweet oncologist Dr. Wendt, "there is no metabolic activity to suggest metastatic disease". Meaning, the cancer has not spread beyond the lymph nodes that were removed during last week's surgery. YIPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
He then went on to describe, in detail, and I swear 85% of it was in some wild alien language, my planned 16 week regimen of chemotherapy, 6 weeks of radiation and then many years of hormone pill popping to keep things at bay. Thank God Wendy is a trained journalist and took copious notes and asked every right question to help us semi-understand what the doctor was saying. Here's the nutshell: I had "highly aggressive and high-grade" tumors which were removed during surgery, but what keeps them from coming back is the chemo, radiation and hormone therapy. Here's my schedule, get this, STARTING THIS MONDAY MAY 10TH, (holy shit!!!) I have chemo every two weeks for a total of 8 weeks (that means 4 infusions) of drugs called adriamycin and cytoxin. Seriously powerful stuff- they are throwing the big guns at me. Then the second round of chemo, again every two weeks for a total of 8 weeks (4 infusions) I get a drug called taxol. After those 16 total weeks, I do radiation for 6 weeks, which is 5 days a week, but only lasts for a few minutes each time. I hear radiation is like a walk in the park after chemo- let's hope so.
Now let's talk side effects. I can expect to lose my hair about 12-17 days after starting chemo. That puts us around May 23rd, crap. We stole the hysterical catalog from the oncologist's office of all the horrible wigs, scarves, hats and my personal favorite, the terry-cloth turbin with velcro front closure. I'm not quite sure what I'll be donning, but I'm guessing cute hats and scarves. Wigs in AZ summer heat? Shut up. Then there's the nausea, vomiting, head aches, mouth sores and all that other fun that will also ensue, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. We'll have plenty of time for that roller coaster. Good news is that there are serious medications now available to help control the sick-feeling side effects and I'll be into those like Jenny-Jane on a pickle. Let's just say you should buy stock in Claussen NOW!
I have no appointments tomorrow (thursday) and just an easy ecocardiogram on Friday, so things are good in the hood. I plan on doing lots of laughing and trying not to freak out about chemo on Monday. We considered today a victory and I think that's a great place to end. :)