And now the calendar pages start flying from the wall. Flip-flip-flip-flip. Just like a movie.
Is it Friday already? Wow. In a matter of hours I’ll be back in that green easy chair doped out of my head and receiving treatment. Then, in a matter of a few more hours, I’ll be back home in my blue sheets with the pink roses, sleeping it all off.
I asked time to fly. It is flying. Maybe I should have asked time to just fast forward instead so that I don’t need to actually experience all this chemo, but can still reap the benefits.
Ok. No more moaning! It’s chemo day again! Treatment seven.
Yesterday Zsolt and I went in for my blood and consultation. This week our consultation was with the lead nurse – she’s the curly haired woman who arranged for my picc line. Definitely likeable. There’s a willingness to help that I feel more inclined to tap compared to the doctor team. For instance, my chemotherapy was meant to be at 9.30 am today. Maybe for the seasoned morning person that’s a good time. For me, it’s just . . . just . . . unimaginable. I’ve never been my best during the morning, and for something so BIG it’d simply be a train wreck.
Well, she fixed that problem in a second. Now my chemo is at 1.00 pm today.
And we talked about going home. “Okay, so how are your plans around going home?” Did she remember? Is it detailed in my chart? HOW do all these people know my story? (this blog is not advertised within the hospital for fear of offense)
I told her we still hadn’t decided and that I honestly felt quite torn. From there followed a chat about ideal vs. optimal treatment. She said that paxlitaxol is a very good drug for treating breast cancer, but also relatively new so it may be difficult to find studies that follow success rate in terms of number of treatments. So ideally I’d have all twelve treatments on schedule. That would be ‘best case’ scenario.
But don’t many people stop early? I asked.
Yes. People can stop at nine, ten, eleven treatments depending on their reaction. Apparently the tingling felt in the fingers and toes isn’t temporary – it’s permanent . . .like, lifelong. So, they carefully monitor how much sensation you feel in your fingers, whether you can pick things up, whether you stumble on the stairs, etc. If it’s gets too extreme they stop.
And here she mentioned something called ‘optimal treatment’, which is about 80-85% of treatment on schedule. At this moment, I’m still having optimal treatment despite my fever last week and my bad platlett count a while back. If you have optimal treatment then things are looking good.
But again – with this drug, there aren’t many (or any??) long term studies with hard(er) numbers.
So here is what Zsolt heard from this conversation:
You gotta do all twelve.
Here is what I heard from this conversation:
You only have to do 85%.
What was the real message? Probably this:
Decide for yourself, because I can’t tell you.
Next week I think we’ll make our final decision. The nurse is going to arrange for us to meet with the lead oncologist – the guy to which everyone refers – so we can have a direct conversation. Honestly, I can see now what he is going to say. But I want to have that talk. And next week, after that talk, I will make a decision and stick to it (for goodness freaking sakes already, Catherine!).
Here is a bit of really nice news: My fingers, so far, are fine. I haven’t had any tingling or weird reactions. I hope I don’t ever have that sensation. Every week I paint my fingernails a dark blue/purple. One of the nurses once mentioned that sometimes this helps with the tingling, so I’m hopeful!
Ok, that’s it for now. Yesterday while going to the hospital there was that familiar dread in the pit of my stomach. It sits there and begins to swell as I walk into the clinic. If only they could surgically remove the fear, this would all be fine. And today is also Zolodex day. Anyone care for a giant needle in the belly? Ugh. But it’s for the babies. The future babies.
I think a little meditation is required – so that’s what I’m going to go and do. Breath in, and out, and in, and out. Followed by a little punching and bombing and kicking around my bedroom.
See you on the other side, as always.