Wow. I got round 8 done yesterday. I can hardly believe it! It seems surreal. When I was diagnosed on January 6, it was such a scary time, I didn't have a clue what my life would be like in 6 months - or for that matter, if I would even be alive. When I started chemo on February 12, I had learned a lot more about my prognosis, and knew that my long term outlook was good, but 4 months of chemo seemed like it would never, ever end. And now, yesterday, May 21st, I had my last one.
On one hand, I want to do a dance, scream and shout, and party like it's 1999. On the other hand, I know that I still have a couple more weeks of intense pain to get through, and it's going to be really hard. But I know that, by the grace of God, I can get through it. By His strength, I can make it, and find joy in my salvation despite the pain.
The lady who accesses my port each time (in non-cancer terms, puts the IV into the port that I had surgically put in), Leona, gave me a huge hug yesterday. I'll never forget the first time she accessed it - I was shaking so hard that it took forever, and she had to physically push me back into the chair so that she could do her job. She was so kind she made me cry, and we've gotten to know each other quite a bit over the last 4 months. I'll really miss her!
My absolute favorite chemo nurses were there, too, Angie and Trish. I've really liked all the chemo nurses I've had, but I've had these two the most. Trish was the one that took care of me the first day. She put up with a crazy amount of weird questions, and never made me feel stupid once. When she was teaching me how to give myself the shots, she even showed me how to inject them on herself (with saline, of course!), and when I asked her if I was in any danger of puncturing important organs, like my kidneys or spleen, she was very gracious when she assured me I was not, and in fact, she had never heard of anyone piercing organs with a half-in needle, and was pretty sure it was impossible.
A few medical details from yesterday:
First, the good, great, and wonderful news: NO MORE SHOTS!!!!! My doctor was feeling very generous yesterday, and said I am DONE with those awful, horrible little things. I almost hugged her, but I'm not sure she's the "hugging" type. She did, however, smile a lot at my enthusiastic response. :)
Also, I can start using Latisse to help jump-start my eye-lash regrowth. I'm pretty excited for that, since I literally have a grand total of 8 eye lashes left. No exaggeration. I'm looking forward to them growing back!
I am going to start a 5-year hormone drug. It starts with a T, but I don't remember the name. However, it can potentially cause blood clots in your legs, so my doctor measured my calves to see where our starting point was. She found that my right calf measured larger than my left calf, and since the chemo drugs can potentially (though rarely), cause blood clots too, I had to rush right over to the hospital for an ultrasound on my leg after chemo. It was pretty scary, since the possible outcomes ranged from "nothing at all, I just have weird legs" (not exactly how they termed it, but I think that's what the medical jargon meant), to admitting me into the hospital immediately and holding me there until they fixed the clot, if I was lucky. So, that was a little nerve-wracking, but we just prayed that everything would turn out alright. And, while the procedure was uncomfortable, the (un)official results are that I'm fine! The doctor still has to "approve" the results, but the tech said that she always airs on the side of caution, and saw absolutely nothing that looked abnormal. And she even did both legs for comparison. So, thankfully, I just fall into the "weird legs" category. Praise the Lord for that!
I will be getting the radiation process started in a few weeks. I know that I will have to go through a "mapping" process, where they "map" out the area on my body for radiation. Most of the time they make you get tattoos, but yesterday, I found out there are actually alternatives to tattoos, involving super sticky things that you have to keep covered in bandages when not in the office. I've heard they're more work for the doctors, and more upkeep for me, but it would be completely worth it to me to not have little grey dots all over. Radiation will be 5 days a week, and I think that will go for 6 or 7 weeks. I've been so focused on getting through chemo, that I still have a lot to learn about radiation, so I'll keep you posted as I find out more!
Well, I still have a few hours left before it all starts to hit.....and with that time, I am going to a dear friend's wedding. I've never attempted such a big outing so quickly after chemo, so I am hoping and praying that I make it through!
And, a photo from yesterday. My friend Katie was also there, so left-right across in the back is Katie, then Angie & Trish, with me in the front. I am so glad to be done with chemo, but will miss seeing them! I'll have to stop by to say hi every now and then.
I'll keep you posted on my progress as I get through this last round. I'll be ready for more celebration when I'm done with all the pain from this round. And I'll REALLY be ready to celebrate in August when I'll be done with everything!