After today’s chemotherapy treatment, it’s 12 down, 36 to go. That’s the best estimate I’ve got at this point.
No one really knows, of course. Because it all depends. It depends on how quickly the Big Ugly Monster is wiped out of my body by the chemotherapy drugs and the power of prayer. Forty-eight treatments is a generous estimate, so I’m hoping that we’ll lick this thing far short of that.
After today, I could very well be a quarter of the way there — or even better than a quarter. That’s, of course, what I’m hoping for. What we’re all hoping for.
I need big-time prayers for Monday, as the first CT Scan of my chest has been scheduled for 2:30 p.m. I don’t expect to have results right away. The images will be sent to my doctors to be read. I hope for some clue as to how close we are to winning this war by week’s end, maybe sooner. Rest assured that as soon as I hear something, I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, I’m off to chemotherapy in a little while. I’m not feeling so brave this morning. In fact, I feel pretty awful, physically and mentally.
When I was at the hospital getting my treatment on Tuesday, the Clinical Trials nurse, Robin, went over my blood panel results with me. My white blood cell counts are way down. Something needs to be done about that. And that something comes in the form of a big shot called Neulasta, which I loathe, because it makes my bones ache for 24 hours afterwards.
But when Robin laid out the options — one Neulasta, or five Neupogen, OR, if I pick up an infection, a hospital stay because I have nothing with which to fight it, well, you can see why I chose the single Neulasta shot today, even if it is the size of a Cuban missile.
When my white blood counts are down, I feel yucky all around. Don said he can tell even before the lab results are in. I don’t rebound as quickly. I’m tired. I have constant nausea. I think I want to eat something, then after I make it or order it, I find that I don’t want it afterall.
So, the bright side is, after I have the Neulasta shot and wait out the aches and pains that accompany it, I ought to start feeling a lot better. And, there’s a lot to look forward to, as next week is my week “off” chemo.
But I still have to get through today. My friend Sandy Sherman Sarlund — we grew up in the same neighborhood and go all the way back to elementary school — will be here in a few minutes. I’m really looking forward to that. She’s bringing breakfast for now and dinner for later, and we’ll hang out a bit and chat over coffee. Then my friend Diane Baldwin will pick me up and take me to my chemo appointment.
I’m only getting one infusion today — the PARP Inhibitor — yet still, I’m feeling grumpy about it. I get so tired of the poking and prodding sometimes. I try to counter those feelings with, “Well, at least they can do something for me. At least there is a treatment and I’m getting it. At least they didn’t tell me at diagnosis, ‘You need to get your affairs in order.'” It could be worse.
Yet, somehow, today, even the “it could be worse” scenario is only brushing the surface. I want to get today’s treatment over with asap so I can come home and be with my family.
What do I dread most about the actual treatments themselves? A couple of things. The flushing of my port, for one.
My port needs to be flushed both before and after every infusion. As soon as that liquid enters my port, my mouth fills with a horrible, metallic taste. Blech.
And then there’s the insertion of the needle into my port itself. I do have a prescription for a lidocaine cream that numbs the area that I apply before leaving for the hospital. I only forgot to do that once. Believe me, you forget to do it once, and you’ll never forget again.
So, I don’t feel pain upon insertion. What I do feel is this weird pressure that I can only compare to the sensation of plugging something into an outlet — only my chest is the outlet.
I can’t wait til I’m back to life as usual, unplugged.
Note: Yesterday, I was having some technical difficulties with my blog site, so I’m not sure that yesterday’s blog entry went out via email to my subscribers. If you didn’t get a notice in your email box yesterday regarding a new post, know that there was indeed a new one — It’s called Lose Yourself.
Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson