Yesterday was my fourth infusion of Taxol and Herceptin. I was super lucky and had a "chemo buddy" with me today, my friend Michelle. We'd planned this in advance but it turned out to be especially well-timed since Joe woke up with a sore throat. He stayed home to get better and Michelle and I went to the Lounge.
First they tested my white blood cells to see how the count was. Thanks to the booster on Sunday I wasn't worried. And the count came back high enough for treatment. I don't know if it would have been high enough without the booster -- they didn't check it before giving me the shot.
Next we met with Dr. Y. He was concerned that my body has been having a rough time with the Taxol (WBC count low so soon in the process, lots of fatigue last week, headaches, constipation). He isn't sure I can go the distance, the full 12 weeks prescribed. So, he said not to be surprised if he switches me from Taxol to a similar drug, Taxotere, in the coming weeks. Often people switch to Taxotere if they develop an allergy to Taxol, or have neuropathy (nerve damage to finders and toes -- I haven't had any symptoms of this yet). Taxotere and Taxol are from the same family of medicines, and have essentially the same side-effects. Just some people handle one better than the other.
If/when I switch drugs, I'll continue on the schedule of 12 doses, though maybe it'll end up being 6 weeks of Taxol and 6 weeks of Taxotere. (Then another 3 doses of a different drug cocktail before surgery.)
Another change is that I'll get my weekly Neupogen booster on Mondays instead of Sundays. Dr. Y wanted to move it off the weekend for my sake, and for the sake of the on-call doctor. Having it Monday might mean we can test my WBC before I get the booster, too. On Sundays, the machine isn't running. Then I'll have my chemo treatments two days later, on Wednesdays. For the time being at least. So far I've done treatments on Fridays, Thursdays and Tuesdays. :) What I've learned: The chemo crowd in the Lounge on Fridays and Thursdays is very talkative and friendly. Tuesdays, not so much. I'm happy to see what the Wednesday regulars are like.
And, finally: I've saved the best news for last. MY TUMOR IS RESPONDING TO THE TREATMENT AND SHRINKING! Snoopy dance!! No scientific ultrasound was performed, but through touch I'd noticed this morning it was much smaller, then Joe had trouble finding it right away, and then Dr. Y, too, had to ask me where it was supposed to be! This is amazing considering a few weeks ago it was making my left breast visibly larger than the right side! It's working, it's working, it's working!! All this icky chemo and my cancer-fighting diet and my kick-ass spirit and all your support are causing my cancer to tuck tail and run! Yea!