Episode XXVI: I will remember...
Gone - AC Chemotherapy
I was glad to finally make the first check off of my Cancer To Do List! I can now say I have completed my first round of AC treatment. Yay!!!
What a week or two! The last treatment hit me hard and took me down. The combined AC chemos and Neulasta shots over the past months just dropped on me like a bomb. To be honest, that first week after the treatment was a knock out, stay in bed, and hope that the drugs would do something to ease the side effects. Some drugs worked, some did not. I was popping all pills by my bedside table... officially a "legal druggie".
Overall the week was tough, but I was alive! Usually by Saturday I am mobile, or what I call mobile. Meaning, I can walk hunched over down the street. That did not happen, instead I was still pretty bedridden most of the second week. I have had multiple knee surgeries before and the pain in my knees lingered longer and was a reminder of pain long ago. The bone pain hung around in my lower torso and legs making mobility an issue. I also popped and cracked in all parts of my body which gave me an uneasy feeling. There's nothing like the sound of breaking from within!
So nothing really broke, it just sounded like it. I kids brought me lots of heating pads (the ones made with beans in them) so they could help out. They like to help, they felt they were making me better! And there was nothing better than when they were trying to be good and bring me items with sweet faces.
My littlest helpers... trying to make Mom feel better.
After I got over my first week, I realized that my recovery week had a holiday on it. I felt horrible, but knew the show must go on. While I had not been able to do my normal recovery routine (walking & stationary biking) I was not going to let the 4th of July go without spending time with the family. So I got myself out of bed, put on some patriotic colors, and went out for the night.
Probably not the best option as it was raining and our poncho covered family waited and then watched fireworks late into the night. I will admit I did have to ask to leave during the very end of the show due to discomfort. The kids were ready to get dry too! But since I walk so slow we actually got to see the whole thing as we were leaving. The finale was awesome! In the end, I walked more than I thought I could and I enjoyed watching the kids have fun playing at the Space Center and seeing the wonderful fireworks display. Another plus, the weather kept the crowds down and the people away.
Red, White, & Blue... Happy 4th of July!!!
I am still recovering and moving slower than I normally do, but it's getting better every day. The bone pain has been less severe. The fatigue has become a normal nuisance. The main issue has been trying get back on track after being laid out for so long. The times I got knocked down from chemo and the repeated exhaustion makes it hard to jump back into my normal routine, but I get there... eventually!
However, I get a longer break before I start chemotherapy again... I get next week off as well. A whole two weeks to get myself together - which I needed. Another bonus, the next chemo, Taxotere, should have less intense side effects because it will be broken into three treatments. Meaning I get 1/3 of a dose each week for 3 weeks and then 1 week off for 4 months. I do believe I will have to have a Neulasta shot after the last 1/3 dose, so once a month. Darn shot, I cannot escape you!
Genetic Testing Results
My genetic testing results came back - BRCA negative results. Good news! And right now I will take all the good news I can get! Basically that meant my cancer was not related to that specific genetic mutation. Since I do not have a strong family history of cancer they did not recommend additional testing. So, unless someone else in my family gets cancer we are going to assume I fall into the Sporadic category. And I do not want anyone else getting it!
They explained that the research and understanding of cancer has a long way to go or at least until they know more about cancer they have no additional answers for me. However, it was good news for those around me too - less need for family members to get testing or fear that they might have the genetic trait.
Here's a good chart that shows the difference between Sporadic and Genetic cancers...
Well, that nice chart essentially means my sporadic cancer was...
In my head...
It was definitely a memorable week and one I will remember. I was definitely tested. I hopefully learned something. Guess time will determine how much. Thank goodness for a twisted sense of humor... hopefully one I am passing on to my crazy two kids...
I am thrilled that AC chemotherapy was completed and I made it through with what I consider only minor issues. It definitely could have been worse! It felt good that a milestone has been completed. I survived!
There's more to come and more milestones to make, but for now I am just happy to enjoy the moment. Realizing that I have accomplished something and survived something was pretty big. I am also happy that next week I get to have a CT scan to see how the cancer handled AC chemo. As they say, keep moving forward. Hopefully with more good news to come!!
“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching,
and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.
I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
Episode Reference: I will remember you, Sarah McLachlan song