Round 5 Update

It is soooooo nice to be able to cross number 5 off the list! Two more infusions actually feels manageable. Chemo went pretty smooth today. We had a difficult time getting a blood return on my port but the nurses at the infusion center are rockstars and managed to get it working. There’s medication that we could’ve used but it’s always my preference to leave the unnecessary meds out.

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The chemo has started to take a toll on my body. I notice the chemo effects are lingering longer and seem to hit me harder than they were a few months ago. However, my niece visited us on my “rest” week (no chemo week) and I felt great! We were able to get out and play in the sunshine every day!

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In other news, I finally had to chop the hair off. It’s super thin and looked like a nasty rat’s nest. I’m so grateful for my amazing hair stylist who came in on her day off to fix my hair. She is a freakin magician who made an ugly rat’s nest look amazing! It’s still coming out quickly. I’m pulling out all of my head coverings, investing in a few head wraps and might end up having to shave it. However, I’m not as upset by this as I was initially. By the time I have to shave it (if I do end up having to shave it) I’ll be close to being done with chemo and it’ll begin to grow back.  At this point I’m kindof interested in seeing what I’d look like with a shaved head. 😉

 

A few of you have asked what the next steps are after I finish chemo. As of right now, I won’t need to go south for a PET scan since my last one came back cancer free!!! I’ll need to do a CT scan to see what my lymphnodes look like, make a plan to get my port removed and check in with my oncologist every few months to keep an eye on things. There might be a few other tests and procedures since my oncologist and I are still working on our plan.

I’ll also be working out like a madwoman (need a walking/slow running partner? hit me up!!) as I try to lose the weight I gained while on my meds. I’m now up to my highest weight and am pretty sure it’ll continue to go up until I’m finished with this. I’m ready to get back into shape and maybe even running!!!!

 

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Round 4 down!

On Thursday I completed my 4th round of chemo. Yay! I have 2 more rounds (4 treatments left to go). Adam was my chemo buddy this week and I got foot massages!

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My white blood count has been higher since I returned from my birthday trip to Gig Harbor!

The down side of things is that my hair has been falling out like crazy and my weight keeps going up and up and up. People keep asking how much hair I’ve lost and they never quite believe me when I tell them.

IMG_0483 I lose about this much hair 1-2 times per day. If I don’t pull it up I find it coming out EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, I had a lot of hair to begin with.

In other news….I was invited to talk to a Girl Scout troup about cancer last week. They had some good questions and it was fun seeing some of the girls from my school again.

 

Good News!!!!

Yesterday I received the results of my PET scan and I am happy to announce that the nasty chemo drugs are doing their job!

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During a PET scan the cancerous areas light up and are referred to as “hot spots”. My first PET scan showed a lot of hot spots but my second scan is showing zero hot spots!

My Oncologist is taking out one of the chemo drugs called Bleomycin. Bleomycin is toxic to the lungs and it’s great to be getting rid of that.

Today was also my 3rd round (6th infusion) of chemo. I am officially halfway through this craziness. My friend Amy came to join me for this exciting chemo milestone 😉

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Overall I’ve been feeling pretty well. I’m usually a little fatigued right after my chemo sessions and it takes me about 4 or 5 days to start feeling like myself again. My mom has been a great walking buddy and I think that helps a lot. I’m losing my hair like crazy but I had so much of it to begin with that most people don’t notice much difference. Hopefully, I can hang on to it for 6 more infusions but if not then I’ll play with some funky wigs and wait for it to grow back.

 

Another chemo update

Today I started round 3a! I’m excited for 3b so I can say I’m half way there!!

My level of fatigue was pretty high last time and seemed to linger for a longer. It wasn’t until about a week later that I felt my energy level return to normal. After that I had a good week with lots of energy. I spent it catching up with friends, enjoying some of the good eats in downtown Juneau (Devil’s Club Brewery has an amazing grilled cheese sandwich with beer cheese for dipping, btw!) and lots of dog walks! Trying to make the most of my healthy days!

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My chemo day was pretty uneventful (which is exactly what you want when you’re pumping poison into your body!!). The woman next to me was having a bad reaction to her drugs and my heart went out to her. I’m so fortunate that I haven’t had any complications so far.

Today the hubby came with me for my treatment. Foot rubs and funny stories made the time pass quickly. I’m lucky to have such a great guy!

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Tuesday I head to Seattle for my second PET scan. My sister is meeting me there again and some friends have offered up their downtown timeshare (such a blessing!!!!). If the PET scan looks good we get to eliminate one of the chemo drugs that is pretty toxic to my lungs. Fingers crossed!!!!

Round #2 Down!!!

Today I completed the end of my second round (4th infusion). It was pretty uneventful (believe me, you want uneventful when the drugs they’re giving you are toxic to your other organs!!!) and full of laughter. My nurse is amazing and my dear friend, Erin, took a personal day to come with me. We caught up, shared stories and laughed at so many things. Having wonderful people around me while I get my infusions is always so helpful.

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My infusion nurse is wonderful. She makes me laugh and takes great care of me. She also knows I enjoy learning things about my chemo drugs or the infusion process. Today she told me that one of my drugs is made from the Periwinkle plant (so pretty!) and another drug has soil fungus in it (ewwwwww???!!!!!??).

Overall, I’ve been tolerating my treatment fairly well. The 3-4 days after chemo are uncomfortable but not nearly as debilitating as my first infusion. I’ve been losing my hair all over the place but I still seem to have a ton on my head. Yay!!!

Another Oncology Check-up

I meet with my Oncologist once a month to make sure everything is going ok, renew any meds I might need and make sure my body is tolerating the chemo as it should.

As I reported some of the effects I’ve been having I mentioned the copious amount of hair I’ve been losing lately. My 70 year old, very bald Oncolgoist looked at me and said, “you won’t find any sympathy from me!!!”

True, I guess it’s all about perspective. Even though my hair is thining rapidly, I still have it.

The rest of my appointment was uneventful. He’s happy with my vitals,  weight and the way I’ve tolerated the chemotherapy.  He’s sending me back to Seattle in two weeks for another PET scan. If I’m progressing as expected then we can remove one of the chemo drugs.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this PET scan after having 2 full rounds of chemo. I’m hopeful that my cancer is responding to the chemotherapy as it should and that we’re still only looking at 6 rounds of treatments.

I’m on to round #2

Today was another chemo day. I asked my friend, Stephenie, if she would come with me. Stephie’s the kind of friend I can share my crap moments with and somehow we still end up laughing and giggling.

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The infusion room was pretty empty today. One other gentleman stopped in for a quick treatment but other than that we had the place to ourselves. It was nice to catch up with my friend over tea without any major distractions.

I had a few jewelry orders that needed to be delivered today and I was hopeful I’d feel well enough to get this done. Thankfully, I didn’t feel too bad and Adam offered to drive me around to deliver all my orders. Take that, Cancer!!!!!

I’ve been thinking about all the amazing gifts and forms of support I’ve recieved from people. They’re so thoughtful and kind and I feel so loved during my treatments.

My friend, Kris, made me these amazing socks. I have always admired handmade socks but they look like a TON of work for something you’re going to put on your FEET!!!! I was super excited when she brought them over for me. I wore them for the first time during treatment today. They kept my toes toasty warm!!!

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After my next chemo session (end of round 2) my oncologist wants me to go back to Seattle for another PET scan. If we’re progressing like he expects then we can drop one of the chemo drugs. All of the chemo drugs do horrible damage to the internal organs so the idea of dropping one drug sounds really nice.