Sorry for the delay in updating...it’s been a rough few days. I had my first chemo treatment on Monday, and other than the GYNORMOUS needle they shoved in my port, it really wasn't too bad. You know those big push pins that they sell at Wal-Mart...that's about what this sucker looked like! It wasn't very long, just really fat, and it has these wing lookin' things on the end that makes it look like a butterfly. Or at least that's what I've lovingly named it. I figured if I have to have that thing shoved in me every few weeks then I at least need to have a little bit happier thoughts than "big gynormous pushpin". So, "pretty yellow butterfly" it is! :o)
I was there about 6 hours, but the actual chemo part only took about 2 hours. We had to wait quite a while because Dr. Burt wanted to see me before I went in for treatment (more on that later) and then I had to get my labs done to make sure my white blood count was OK, then pre-meds (the no-barfies), then finally the chemo. My white blood count was OK, but my platelet count was down even more than it was a few weeks ago. The recommended minimum is 150,000 and mine was at 147,000 when they did my original blood work and Monday it was at 135,000. They didn't seem to be too concerned; they just said I needed to be careful with my bleeding. So I guess working on my knife throwing skills is out for a while! :o)
The reason Dr. Burt wanted to meet with me is because she got the results back from my genetic test. My tests came back positive for the BRCA 2 mutation. As far as my prognosis is concerned, this doesn’t change anything. The only main difference is that I will now be at a much greater risk for developing ovarian cancer or having my breast cancer come back later in life. Because of this, they will go ahead and do a double mastectomy and remove my ovaries as well. We aren’t sure if I will have to have a full hysterectomy or if they will just take out my ovaries; that will be a discussion for later. She said there isn’t a huge rush to remove my ovaries, as long as I have it done within the next few years I will be OK. That will give me time to get the cancer dealt with, my reconstructive surgery done, and maybe a little time to be “normal” before I have another surgery…or at least a little time for my body to heal before I plunge it into another state of turmoil.
But, enough of that downer-talk! Now that we know my cancer is genetic, we have a baseline to go off of, and they will be able to keep track of it thru regular PET scans throughout my life and hopefully detect any abnormalities before they get to the point they got to this time. The same will be true for Alex and my sisters. They will all need to get tested for the mutation (however the doctor recommends that they don’t have it done until they are in their twenties), and God forbid any of them come back positive, at least then they will know how to equip themselves to prepare for the future. They will be able to get PET scans themselves and kill anything suspicious way before it turns into a tumor or something bad.
Yesterday and today haven’t been as bad as I expected with the chemo after-effects, but they haven’t really been a bed of roses either. Mostly, I feel completely and utterly exhausted. I will fold a load of laundry and feel like I just ran a 6-mile marathon! It’s really hard for me, because I’m not a “sitter”; I like to be doing something all the time. Maybe this is God’s way of trying to teach me patience! :o) I haven’t barfed, but I pretty much teeter on the edge of it all the time. Today was worse than yesterday, but I doubled up on my medicine and that has seemed to help. I’m hoping that in a few days that part of it will be gone…at least until the next round! Speaking of…I can’t remember if I put it in my last post or not, but Dr. Burt and the “tumor board” (that still makes me giggle) decided that they felt it was in my best interest to go ahead with the “dose dense” version of my chemo. This means I will be getting a treatment every 14 days instead of the standard 21. By doing this, I will go back in the day after my treatments and get a shot in my stomach to help my body reproduce bone marrow. The effects will be harder on my body and harder to get over, BUT, it shortens the length of time I have to have chemo overall. I’ll still do 4 treatments, but I’ll be done by the first of November. This hopefully means that by Thanksgiving I’ll be hungry and ready to EAT!! :o)
As my treatments go on, it may be harder for me to update my blog as often as I have been, but I promise I will still keep it up to date. It may be less frequent, or I may have my mom log on and update for me…although she’s not NEAR as exciting of a story teller as I am! LOL! Just kidding mom! The fact that so many people have told me how much my blog helps them really means a lot to me. If nothing else, maybe my story will touch others and help them to appreciate the things they take for granted or even give a guy an excuse to feel-up his wife just to make sure her breasts are healthy! If I can save one life, then I think my blog is well worth the time and effort! As I said before, please feel free to pass it along to anyone who may have use for it or who just wants an update.
I love you all! -T