As you can see, I am getting a little more comfortable with my current hairstyle. Hey, at least I can be showered and ready to go out the door in under 15 minutes. Now that's something. Once again, Tristan helped me out with some pictures, so now you can see the actual head shots. It was strange to get used to at first and I have to say it took me longer than it did for the kids to adjust. Most of the time I wear a bandanna or a hat, but I do have some fun wig choices too. And if I am just putzing around the house or out watering the garden, well then I go el natural. Well, my head does anyway. And would you check out the shape on that noggin!
Last week at our school, a young man showed up with a sling on his arm. Now this young man is an active, crazy, hilarious kind of a guy and I love his quick wit, but he always seems to be doing something to hurt himself. As he approached, I looked at his injured arm and asked in mock dismay "What is this? What did you do now?" He quickly raised the non gimpy arm, pointed to my head and said, "Well what is this? What did you do?" That is what I love about him and that is the perfect attitude to have with your bald chemo friends. Keep it coming! and I promise to have an endless supply of Otter Pops waiting for you.
I made it through the final round of the AC chemo drugs. It wasn't easy and I eagerly looked forward to feeling better, stronger, and more energetic. What "they" said was true. It takes longer to recover after each treatment. Then I found out because I was going back to having my chemo infusions on Monday, and Memorial Day was on a Monday, I would get an extra 5 days off. Boy do those extra days make a substantial difference in how I feel. I felt really good this week. It was great timing too. This was the kids end of school concert, recital, and drama performance week. It was so nice to be able to attend everything and feel almost normal. I realize that is a stretch especially for me but, it really was a great week.
I received another piece of really encouraging news this week. I had the follow up echo to see if there was any damage from the Adriamiacin. While this test is basically an ultrasound of the heart, which you think would be relatively painless, I assure you it's not. They have to maneuver the little device in and around and sometimes right on through your rib cage. Then, when they get the desired angle on your heart that they are looking for, they ask you to exhale all the air in your lungs and then HOLD it. Hold it? Hold what? There's nothing left to hold. I have to admit that a few times, I could hold it no longer and thought I would sneak a little hit of air. The tech nicely informed me that she could see when I was breathing and if I needed a break, just let her know. Dang it! Busted! Anyway, when all was said and done and my oncologist gave me the results, they said my heart looked great. No permanent damage. Thank you Lord. The next drug, Taxol, can cause temporary problems, but nothing permanent. I will have to have echo's every three months just to keep tabs on the ol pump.
Today begins the second phase of my chemo treatments and as odd as this may sound, I am a bit nervous. Once again I have to wait and see how my body responds to this new drug regimen. It will include Taxol and Hetrceptin. Taxol is the chemo portion that I will be getting weekly for the next 12 weeks. It brings with it some new potential side effects to add to all the others like hand and feet neuropathy, diarrhea, more chemo fog, (cause I haven't had enough of that yet,) continued fatigue, and more hair loss if that's even possible. As you can see I still have my eye brows and eye lashes. I am hoping I get to keep them, but who knows. Although there is potential for all of these, I am told I should fare quite well considering how I made it through the first batch.
During the first treatment, they load you up with Benadryl before they drip the chemo. They also keep a more watchful eye one you during the 3-4 hour infusion. They do this in case there is an allergic reaction to the drug. Really? We are trying to kill any stray cancer cells with highly toxic chemicals and their worried about allergic reactions? Bring on the Benadryl and keep it coming. Let's kill these suckers and be done with it! Just sayin.
Herceptin is a different drug that I will be getting since my cancer was HER2 positive. This will continue every 3 weeks for a year. Then I am looking at two more surgeries next summer. When I tell people this they are a little shocked at the length of this process and I have to admit it does seem like the road keeps on winding up ahead, but one of the things I am learning is to live more in the moment and to enjoy each day. While I do love to be spontaneous... when the house is clean, the dishes are done, the garden is weeded and the bills are paid..... I tend to be a planner. I look ahead and try to anticipate what's coming and plan accordingly. Now I realize there is a time for being prepared and that it can be very beneficial for many things, but I am also learning to take some things day by day. For Instance, it doesn't do any good to look at the year to come and be discouraged by what I can't control. Instead, I will go forward day by day, treatment by treatment and just take it as it comes. So far I have been pleasantly surprised by who and what God has brought along this walk way. I have learned many things, but that's another blog.