Before I begin chemotherapy treatment tomorrow, I find myself playing "catch up"...so much to do and so little time! I guess I'll be like The Sound of Music, and start at the very beginning...
Monday morning, I reported to Coliseum's Day Hospital for my insertion of my "Power Port". Our time to report was at 5:45 a.m., but I don't think my surgery actually began until after 8 a.m. New and old Jones County friends helped to make my experience as comfortable as possible during outpatient surgery. I say it was an answer to prayers. After a while, it was quite humorous about all of the Jones County folks that were taking care of me in the hospital. I saw it as just blessings from God.
|A new tag for my key ring|
The actual surgery wasn't too bad. I have an incision on my left chest area, approximately two inches wide. The Power Port is placed under the skin, and then connected to a main vein. There is still some swelling, but all in all, just a bit discomfort. The incision is closed with surgical glue. I now have a medical card to show security personnel if I beep, in addition to a key tag (guess I'll put that right between the Ingles and Kroger tags!). There's also a rubber bracelet that I can wear, to let everyone know that I have a Power Port installed. One of my co-workers has suggested that we "bling it up"! (I'll let her keep working on how to do that!)
I found out Tuesday that after three tests, my HER2 test results are not-amplified. Praise God! That means my chemotherapy treatment will be over in 5-6 months, as opposed to 12 months of treatment. You can only imagine how excited I am to know that chemo will be over in January. God is good!
Thursday is the big day...the day I begin my next battle phase. My oncologist has prescribed the chemotherapy combination of TAC, which is a combination of the drugs Taxotere, Adriamycin and Cytoxan. The treatments will be administered every 21 days, for a total of six treatments. 24 hours after chemotherapy, I will be administered a Neulasta injection. Neulasta is a white blood cell booster that will help reduce the risk of infection during treatment. I began taking a required oral steroid today, that also doubles as nausea medication. Two doses today, two doses tomorrow and one dose on Friday morning. Lots of additional pre-treatment medications will be administered tomorrow, but I am not exactly sure what. Extra fluids, anti-nausea meds, benadryl and more are given prior to the administration of medications. Sometimes, up to two hours is allocated just for pre-meds.
I will meet with a nurse practitioner after labs, and then will begin infusions. The treatment should take approximately four hours for actual drips, but there will be additional time required for monitoring after treatment is administered. I'm hoping that we will make it home by 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night.
The side effects for my chemo combination are quite frightening, but I'm trying hard not to read / research too much. My provider has assured me that they will do everything possible to keep me comfortable, and manage my side effects, but it is imperative that I share them with the doctor.
Just like Scarlett O'Hara says...."Tomorrow is another day". In my world, tomorrow is the beginning of another phase in my battle with breast cancer. All of my life, I've been told not to play with poisons, but yet tomorrow, I will be willingly hooked up to poison...the things we do to save our lives!
The Jones County School system begins Fall Break tomorrow. My children and co-workers won't report to work. At my house, I'm jokingly referring to it as my "Chemo Break". My Nook and laptop are charging. Headphones are packed. Silly romantic comedies have been rented from Redbox. Snacks are packed, and my journal is ready. At this point, only God knows how the day will unfold, but one this is for certain...I am a survivor!