Here I am, first day of chemo school. I might not have even had the Taxol going into my vein at this point. It may have only been Benadryl and Pepcid but whatever -- the show was getting on the road! It felt really good to be doing something proactive finally, instead of all the scans. Sure, I was feeling nervous and unsure of how my body would react to the drugs, but mostly I wanted to get to the fighting part.
Here is me a little while later. Thanks, Benadryl.
Don't worry, the whole time I was dozzing I was thinking this:
Once they started the Taxol, they gave me another steroid so I was up again and feeling less tired. This treatment yesterday lasted about 3 hours, and then I go in today for another 3 hours for the second drug, the Herceptin. These first two are longer because they want to be really careful I don't have an allergic reaction to any of it (hence the Benadryl).
Going forward, I'll do a combo treatment of pacilitaxel (Taxol) and Herceptin for 12 weeks, once a week. It'll be a long day, probably 5 hours in the clinic. Then, it sounds like the steroid will keep me amped for a couple of days and then things will start to wear off and the fatigue will kick in along with the "flu-like symptoms.") I have a prescription for the nausea plus ginger chews and I also picked up some papaya enzyme tabs that I recall working wonders when I was pregnant.
They also gave me a prescription for an anti-anxiety medicine that I took last night when I found I was going a little bonkers with the steroid. I was tired, but my mind was going a million miles an hour -- and not in good places. So I took that and it knocked me right now, only to have the steroid wake me up at 5:30a. Oh well. At least the unwanted thoughts are at bay.
A good surprise we learned yesterday was that I might not loose my hair in this first round of chemo. I'm not sure what cocktail is coming down the road that will do that, but for now I get to at least continue to look like myself. I like the idea of starting to battle looking normal (minus the mascara -- a no-no for folks with low immune systems). (Though one side effect of the Taxol according to the books is hair loss, so I won't be too surprised if it does sneak up on me.)
Wednesday we took a few pre-chemo pictures at the park with Nia. We haven't told her everything about what's coming, but she knows I'm now taking the "big" medicine, the chemo. She uses words like cancer and tumor. She often asks how the lump got in there and when they'll take it out. She frequently looks through the dog eared copy of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book at all the pictures of lumps, biopsies, surgeries, milk duct diagrams with rapt interest. Maybe she'll grow up to be a kick-ass oncologist and help rid our planet of this horrible disease!
Here are a couple pictures Nia took of Joe & I:
It is tricky keeping things normal for Nia. Doctor appointments have completely taken over my life these past two weeks. Don't believe me? I took a picture of the calendar:
(Don't worry, the vet appointment on the 13th wasn't for me!)
But we're kind of figuring out how to live with cancer. With a three old, living isn't lying on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. Sometimes it is taking a time out alone but other times it is pushing it all aside and heading out to the park. This is where friends come in handy too. It is nice that we have some many wonderful friends who are willing to take Nia for an hour or two here and there and keep her days fun and engaging. I don't want this to be her Lost Year, too. And so, life goes on as close to normally as possible. With maybe a few fun-ish perks thrown in, like Nia is now in charge of taking my temperature every day and coloring it on a chart (I have to be careful to watch it because if it goes to 100.5, I could land in the ER.) Paging Dr. Nia...
(Making chamomile tea for us.)
I know I'm a chemo newbie and this thing will probably have me in bed a few days a week, but on the other days I still want to be Nia's fun, silly, adverturesome mama. I want to be Joe's funny, playful, sarcastic life partner. And help from friends and family will help us through, I know. Thank you for all the love, support, and encouragement!