Just talked to the surgeon about getting this drain out of my side. The surgery site is still draining as before, but we need to get the chemo started. So the plan for now is to remove the drain next Monday, and also start the chemo on Monday (July 6). Gee, what a day to look forward to!
I met with the oncologist, Dr. L, yesterday. He can work with the doctor we saw in Seattle to do either the once-a-week treatment (lower dose) or every-2-week-treatment. The difference in the total amount of chemo is slight, and no one can tell me what my own experience with this will be, so it’s up to me to choose which route to go. The doc in Seattle seems to think the once-a-week is better tolerated, but Dr. L pointed out that it means twice as many trips (and the psychological preparation needed for those), and that protocol hasn’t been tested in a clinical trial to compare it to the 2-week regimen. So, I get to pick, but have no idea what will be better, given that I have no clue what the effects will be.
I find it strangely reassuring to talk with the medical people, because they talk about this like it is a treatable illness — not the big black hole that I fear when I’m lying awake at 3 a.m. Yes, there is life after, and even during, chemo. (The nurse told me a story of a woman who, while on chemo, went to a tanning bed to prepare for a trip to Mexico and got badly sunburned. OK, I know enough to stay away from tanning beds, but I was delighted to think that trips to exotic places may be possible during this time. My husband does keep asking me where I want to go!) And yes, there is life after, and even with cancer.
Now ya’ll just have to keep reminding me of that when things get rough.
The good news is that the bone scan, CT of the abdomen/chest, and the PET scan were all negative — meaning there’s no evidence of spread beyond the nodes, at least not that they can see. (Microscopic spread can’t really be tracked in any way.) OTOH, I was relying on those mammograms too, so I don’t know how much stock to put in these findings. Still, I’m glad for that news. The surgeon was glad too, since, as he put it, it was about time I got some good news. I told him that I was starting to think that maybe this is payback for something I did in a previous life. He asked, “Well, was it?” I said, “I can’t recall!”
Maybe I should call on Shirley McLaine to help me channel previous lives???