I am finally to the point where I feel well enough to update this blog. It has been 11 days since my last treatment. And when I say last, I mean the last one! 8 in all. Hip, Hip Hooray! It is a great feeling to be finished with chemo.
Overall I am doing fine. I didn't realize how much chemo has really taken a toll on my body emotionally. The physical pain is always apparent but the emotional pains didn't seem to come to the surface until this last treatment. I think my body has finally said enough!! I have cried more this last treatment than any other time. I think it was a let down of the last 8 months of an emotional rollercoaster. My sweet kids, especially my little Maddie, have all learned to comfort their mommy and wipe her tears. They love to curl up next to me and just cuddle. I realize now just how much this has probably affected them as well. They have a lot to celebrate also. They may finally get their mom back.
As far as the actual treatment I wonder if they didn't give me a double dose of Taxotere because my physical symptoms were the worst ever. I have neuropathy in my hands and feet. The tingles are constant and my fingers feel like they have been smashed. I have a hard time holding onto things especially with my right hand. My fingernails feel like they are falling off. I hear this eventually goes away. I pray that is the case. My body aches were again severe. I had to resort to taking Lortab along with Ibuprofen 800. I was even a little nauseated this time as well. Thank goodness for pain meds. And for those of you that have seen me while taking them, please don't hold me accountable for anything I may have said. I even caught myself slurring my words at one point. Scary! There were several days this time that I physically could not get out of bed. And then with the neuropathy in my feet, it was a little tricky to walk. My eyes constantly water (not from all the crying). Most likely the chemo has done something to my tear ducts. I shouldn't even put make up on anymore because I just end up wiping it off. I have sores all over in my mouth and all over my tongue. Food just doesn't taste the same. I have acid reflux like crazy. But even with all of these yucky symptoms they eventually go away and then I feel fine.
My surgery plans have changed. We will no longer be traveling to New Orleans for the surgery, for now. I think this has also played a part in the overwhelming emotion of sadness. I was really looking forward to having an immediate reconstruction. The change of plans was mostly due to the fact that my insurance company wanted me to pay $20,000 out of pocket, plus my out of network deductibles of $4000.00, plus the cost to travel and stay in New Orleans for 10 days. I am still working on them to see it my way, but it takes time to appeal. Time that I don't have since my oncologist gave me 3-4 weeks from my last treatment to get this cancer out of my body. If we wait too long to do surgery the cancer will start growing back. So for now a double mastectomy along with the axillary node dissection is scheduled for next week, August 5th. Dr. Alder at McKay Dee will be doing the surgery. He is the same surgeon that did my sentinel node dissection and put in my port-a-cath. There is a comfort in having someone I am already familiar with do my surgery. Radiation will follow 4-5 weeks after surgery. I will have radiation everyday M-F for 6 weeks (30 sessions). After radiation we actually may have some time to just heal, both physically and emotionally. Reconstruction will most likely have to wait 6-12 months following radiation. So maybe by next summer we can try to finish up this so called cancer trip we have been on.
Thank you again to all of you that send cards, emails, messages on FB, phone calls etc.... And also to those that have brought wonderful meals to my family. The hardest part of this battle is to make sure my kids are still being taken care of. There have been chemo days that I know my kids have lived on PB&J, not that they are complaining. I am so lucky to have a wonderful cheering section. So many of you wonder how to help. Just your kind words and love and support make a huge difference. To look beyond the bald head, the pale face with no eyelashes or eyebrows and still love me. To know that I truly love each one of you. I am so thankful that I have Steve to be my sounding board. He has endured a lot. He is my rock, he is where I pull my strength from. I admire and love him for that. I don't know what I would do without him. I am so blessed!