Rowen and I went to see Dr. Ann Stroh today. We found her very friendly, approachable, knowledgeable, and kind. She spent at least an hour and a half with us, talking about everything, answering our questions. Her nurses are also very friendly and kind. I got blood drawn today for baseline complete blood count and complete metabolic panel. I am eligible for the genetic testing, so that will be done next week. Dr. Stroh wants me to have a PET scan next week (that will be Tuesday morning) to make sure there is no cancer anywhere else. I will be getting a port placed for chemotherapy; my appointment for the consultation for that is Monday morning with the general surgeon I had for the mastectomy. On next Thursday, I will see Dr. Stroh and get the report on the PET scan.
Assuming that is clear, I will have the port surgery scheduled. Our hope is to have the first chemo treatment on June 9. The chemo drugs I will be taking are Taxotere and Cytoxan. (I am glad she does not want me to have Adramycin, which is stronger and meaner.) The side effects I will/may have are alopecia (hair falling out), fatigue/weakness (may feel achy all over), constipation or diarrhea, nausea (which they treat aggressively giving anti-nausea medicine before the chemo), lowered immune system, especially white blood cells, numbness of fingers and toes. (Mouth sores not so much with these medicines.)
I will have it once every 3 weeks for 6 times. I chose to have it on Thursdays, and will see the Dr. also on the Fridays following chemo on Thursdays. My blood will be checked every time before chemo is given. I may get a shot 24 hours after chemo to boost white blood cell production, if needed. That will make my bones ache as the bone marrow will be forced to produce more wbc's. The lowest point of wbc is 10 days after chemo then it will come back up to normal before the next treatment. After the chemo is over, I will be on Tamoxifen as anti-hormone therapy, since my cancer is estrogen receptive. Going through these treatments will take my "chances" of metastasis or recurrence from ~25% down to ~8% over a 10 year period.
That is what I understand about it. I hope that is not too much information if you don't want to know details.
She said my hair will fall out before the 2nd treatment. So that puts it right in the time frame of family reunion and daddy's retirement party. I want to donate most of my hair before that happens. I have ordered a wig that is long enough that I should be able to put my hair up and look semi-normal. I know when the time comes to do this will be different than just discussing it calmly in a doctor's office. It is going to be hard, but I know that God will not forsake me. I have felt His strength and peace and know that He is always faithful. Thank you so much for the continuing prayers and every other expression of love, caring, and concern for our family.
Love to all