Thursday, September 15, 2016

AC is done!

I met with my breast surgeon last week & my tumor has SHRUNK! While I can't remember the exact size now he said it was probably 75% smaller than it was when we began. It makes taking this chemo much easier when you can see that it is actually doing something. I had this idea in my mind that if my tumor was shrinking then it meant that it was probably shrinking & killing all the teeny tiny cancer that was other places so I was glad to see that. He & my oncologist seem to be very happy with how I'm doing & how things are working. We are moving right along!

I head in tomorrow for my first round of Taxol chemo. It is not supposed to be nearly as exhausting as the AC is & he said most women find it much easier. I had my fourth & last round of AC on Sept. 2nd & it was, by far, the worst of the four. Sunday was the worst I think I have ever felt in my life. Tired...exhausted...weak...I can't find the word to explain how drained I was. I went to bed at a normal time on Sat. night & did not get out of bed on Sunday until between 4 & 5pm. Even then it was all I could do to get to the table to get some food in me & then back to the couch. I was back in bed by 11pm. I also missed my first day of work through all this. I was still so weak on Monday that I knew there was no way I would be able to make it to work. I sat on the floor in front of the fan with tears streaming down my face & told my husband I didn't think I could work & he agreed. It took me nearly a full day longer to recover this time & I'm so glad it is over. I also shook really bad this time. It started right after I got done with chemo & continued for days. That has been the strangest thing so far & I still catch my hands shaking every once in a while.

While I think my side effects may be mild compared to some so far the big ones, aside from exhaustion, have been heart burn, some mental "fogginess", and I am constantly hot - but just from the neck up. The rest of me feels normal but my head feels like someone is constantly standing behind me with a heater! I sit at work with a jacket on & a fan blowing on my head. The first week after chemo it has gotten bad enough to make me feel like I'm overheating & getting sick. It fades a bit but never completely goes away & that is my biggest consistent complaint so far. I'm so tired of feeling hot!

I should meet with a plastic surgeon sometime in the next week or so to determine what my best options are for reconstruction. The hope is that I will make it through 12 more rounds of chemo, have a break through Dec., and then have surgery in Jan. Getting through this Taxol all depends on me though & how my body does. The main side effect of this drug is neuropathy - numbness in my hands and feet - and it can be permanent. If I get to the point where I can't do things at work or have trouble buttoning buttons or something we have to stop. He said I have to decide if I can deal with how my hands feel for the rest of my life when deciding whether to keep going on not. There can also be some changes in my nails & skin but I'm more concerned about the numbness - the other changes aren't permanent.

People continue to amaze me with the love & support they have shown us. People from church have shown up every two weeks with meals when I'm too weak to do it. I continue to get cards & text messages from people to just let me know they are thinking about me. That means so much & I thank everyone who has reached out in any way.

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