Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last Chemo Day Praise the Lord!!

To start off, I thought for educational purposes, I would show you my port site. It is on my left upper chest. I have to have another appointment with the doctor in three weeks, another lab draw, and then I can schedule with the surgeon to have it removed. It is supposed to be an in-office procedure to remove the port. It has been a huge blessing to have the port in place for all the chemo and blood draws. I have some numbing cream I put on it an hour before my appointments and I cannot even feel the poke of the needle into it. The place of "poking" is in the middle, below the longer incision, where you can see the round spot.

This is a picture of me today getting the last chemo infusion. I wore my new pink fuzzy hat and the nurses and other patients loved it! Everybody had to comment on it. One man patient who is getting chemo for breast cancer also, said he didn't think it was my natural hair color. Then we compared our bald heads! Yes, men get breast cancer too! It is more rare, but it happens. In pictures this hat looks almost white, but it is a pastel pink.

This is after the chemo was complete and I am ready to go home. My infusion nurses, April and Kathy are left and right of me, and my oncologist, Dr. Ann Stroh, is on the right of the picture. These are wonderful people and all Christians who care about and pray for their patients. I am holding an afghan gift and a card Kathy made and everyone signed. If you click on the envelope, you will see the word: Survivor, and a poem about it.

Everything went really well today. The part I dreaded the most, when I get the Benadryl, my legs usually getting very restless and jumpy, did not happen today!! That was an answer to prayer.

I found out what the plan is for the future.
In three weeks, I have an appointment to get my labwork checked and visit with Dr. Stroh about followup meds, which will include Tamoxifen for 2-5 years. Since I was pre-menopausal when I started this journey, Tamoxifen is the drug of choice for suppressing estrogen production in my body. My cancer was receptive to estrogen, so it is advantageous to not have it running around in my body. If I have cycles again in the next 2 years, I will stay on Tamoxifen for 5 years. If I do not have cycles again in the next 2 years, I can be put on a drug for post-menopausal women, which I do not remember the name of at the moment.

There is a clinical trial that Dr. Stroh would like for me to be in. Studies have found that diabetic women who are on Metformin do not get breast cancer. So now studies are being done to see if adding Metformin to the anti-estrogen drug regimen is more effective at preventing recurrence of cancer than just the anti-estrogen drug. It is a double blind study, so the doctor nor I will know if I am getting Metformin or a placebo. Metformin is the pill that Rowen is on for his diabetes. I am hoping that that means he will never face male breast cancer!

Dr. Stroh believes that I should have the flu shot, which I will get at that appointment. I have not gotten the flu shot for many years, but she feels it is very important, so I will do it.

She said I will not have mammograms in the future, but she will check me at my every three month appointments with her. These will not continue forever, but at least for a while I will see these dear people every three months. It will not be as often as every three weeks, at least!

Tomorrow I go back for the liter of normal saline, and my Neulasta shot. I stay on steroids by mouth through tomorrow, so I should feel pretty energetic for another day. Thank you to each one for your prayers for my chemo today. I appreciate every one for thinking of me. The doctor said since I have been under the influence of chemo for the past 18 weeks, I should expect that it could take that long to fully recover from the effects.

I am going to try some Tea Tree oil and Hard as Hoof on my fingernails. One of them is loosening up. I really would rather not lose them if I can prevent it.

God is good to me. I feel really blessed for how He has brought me through!! Love to all!