Today was a very emotional day for me. I am so happy to have reached the end of my chemotherapy. Thus far, I feel like I have come through it pretty well and I am just so grateful for that. I am also so thankful for all the people who have supported me throughout. As I wrote out a thank you card to Leann, my devoted chemo buddy, I cried. This process would not have gone as well without her by my side, and I am eternally grateful for her gifts of time and friendship. We celebrated with an exchange of gifts. Leann surprised me with a Pandora bead titled “inner strength” (which made me cry). Genius minds running on the same track, I surprised Leann with her first Pandora bracelet with the “journey” bead, and one with pink hearts. (And we cried. We almost got our favorite nurse, Renee, crying.) Le has been on more than just this journey with me, so it seemed appropriately named bead.
I spent my morning doing some purging in my kitchen. The pantry is in serious need of a major clean out and organizing. I put a pretty good dent in that work and threw out a lot of unhealthy things. I also re-organized some cupboards to make room for my new food processor and dehydrator!
I also spoke to the billing office at the doctor’s to discuss the new year and impacts to insurance. Until they called, I hadn’t considered that, with the new year, deductibles reset. So today, I owed $397 upon arrival to my appointment and my neulasta deductible is now $100 instead of $75, so I’ll owe that tomorrow. I was so not prepared to spend $500 this week. Thank God for the generous gift of the Ladies in Pink!
We had a lot of questions for the doctor today around next steps and here’s a summary of that conversation.
- The reason I have been extra tired is that I am slightly anemic. Unfortunately, since it’s chemo related, there isn’t much I can do about it.
- The doctor was very definitive today that I “must” receive radiation. Given the size of the tumor, it is not up for debate. Ok, so that’s not really how she presented it a few months ago, giving me some hope that I wouldn’t need it. I am scheduled for my consultation with the radiologist on Monday (they actually called while I was receiving my chemo). Needless to say, I was quite disappointed with this turn of events. (I didn’t cry, but I made my opinion known to the doctor.)
- High level plan for radiation will be 15 minutes a day for 4-6 weeks, and I’ll start in about 4 weeks. More details to come next week. I’m feeling a little better about things now… she did say chemo is the hardest part, so at least that is behind me.
- I can get my portacath removed after radiation.
- They will schedule genetic counseling in the next few weeks.
- We’ll do blood tests to determine if I am in menopause. Depending on the results of that, I will either start Tamoxifen or Aromatase after radiation is done.
- Monitoring will include blood work every three months.
- She mentioned going for a repeat MUGA scan, but I declined. We had had a conversation a while ago that said I would get one only if I was experiencing any symptoms that might indicate heart trouble. But as long as I feel healthy, I don’t want the additional radiation.
- Because of my cold sore on my lip, she said I have to throw out all my lipstick! Really? Who knew?
Le and I were quite happy to have nurse Renee for our final chemo session. She’s definitely the best! We love her!
Tonight was filled with the post-chemo celebrations and gifts. Ethan and Denise gave me a beautiful bouquet of pink flowers, and Ethan’s homemade card was a montage of the 5 prior chemo gifts. Pretty creative, if I do say so myself! David bought me a Willow Tree angel titled “Soar”. I love the imagery! Mom made a delicious dinner to cap off the night with a nice family meal.
I can’t believe we have made it to this milestone already. The time did fly by, surprisingly, and I am sure radiation will go as quickly. Yes, it was disappointing news, but I know I will get through it. And with all the love and support from my friends and family, I’m in the best possible position. We made it this far!