The last two days have been spent preparing for my first chemo session tomorrow. This comes only 7 weeks to the day after finishing the treatment for my initial diagnosis.
Yesterday, I saw my oncologist who confirmed which delightful chemo cocktail she had concocted for me; I filled numerous vials of blood to check my tumour marker, white blood count and liver function; had a chest x-ray to provide a baseline for treatment; and had an echocardiogram to check whether my heart is healthy enough to withstand the treatments prescribed.
Today, I saw my wonderful breast surgeon for a breast exam of my healthy breast and the breast radiologist who mapped all of the infected lymph nodes that can be seen on an ultrasound so that, in a couple of weeks time, she can look at them again to see if the chemo is working.
You’d think that after having been there and done all of that numerous times before I’d be cool, calm and collected.
Not a chance!!
The first time round I had absolutely no idea what to expect and just rolled with the punches. This time round, things are a little different as I know exactly what’s coming and I think the reality of the whole situation has just hit home. I will admit to having had a few wobblies over the past two days.
For those of you who are interested, my treatment protocol is going to consist three cycles of two drugs, Abraxane (chemotherapy) and a targeted therapy drug called Avastin. Each cycle is four weeks. I have the Abraxane once a week for three weeks and the Avastin on the first and third week of each cycle. I have the fourth week is a week off. Whoop, whoop!! After three cycles I will have another PET-CT scan and if the drugs are working, we will continue for another five cycles. If the drugs are not being effective, the oncologist will change them and we’ll start again.
Side effects include nausea, fatigue, palpitations, neuropathy, mouth ulcers and blood noses to name but a few and, just because chemo is the gift that keeps on giving, I am likely lose my hair, eyelashes and eyebrows again and quite possibly my toenails (which have only just grown back). Such a joyful thought!!
But, despite all the side effects, I know that this is what I have to do to beat this beast and, tomorrow, I will put on my big girls panties, head off to City Hospital and have my first chemo cocktail. I also know that after tomorrow, things will likely be a little easier and I will then adopt the same one-day-at-a-time approach that got me through the last treatment.
See you all on the other side xx