Change is inevitable — except from a vending machine. ~Robert C. Gallagher
I had an appointment with my Oncologist yesterday where I received a fabulous review for Chemo #1. Bloodwork looked good; PowerPort looked good; even I looked good with all my hair still on my head. ☺ (I've learned how to curl it all pretty and girly and stuff....of course, now I'm going to miss it much more than I originally anticipated!!).
In addition to the usual “take a deep breath,” and “say AGHH” things, the doc had to “rate” me based on my physical and mental well-being following Chemo #1. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the best), she gave me a “9”. I'm still hounding her about when I can return to work, and she insists that I stop focusing on getting back to work and keep my mind and spirit in “today”. This is imperative for the healing process to work, as stress impedes healing. I guess that's why I'm only a "9". (Insert perfectionist joke here.) She did tell me that patients at this point are, on average, a “6”, so I'm Honky Dory with being a "9". ;)
Now...for the serious stuff...
I finally had my first little bit of a “breakdown” during my appointment. For the “any questions?” part of the visit, I told the doc I was confused about how long my treatment is. I mentioned that, after looking over my Chemo Teaching notes, and comparing them to the appointment schedule I have for the next two months, the dates didn't seem to match up right. So, she pulled up my three-page treatment plan on the computer, and we went over it, date by date.
I was correct about the fact that I'm having three different phases of chemo medication over the complete course of my treatment. (To make it easier for me and the fam to remember, I'm calling these Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III.) Easy enough. :)
I was also correct about the duration/doses of Phase I, which started almost two weeks ago, on February 19, 2015. It looks like this:
• 8 weeks
• 4 chemotherapy cycles
• 1 treatment delivered every other Thursday
After that...well, forget everything I previously wrote about my treatment after that. Apparently, ten ears were NOT enough to get the dates and numbers straight. In all fairness, there were a LOT OF THEM. Not to mention the names of all the meds as well, and side effects, etc. It was quite overwhelming. Anyway, here's what I confirmed yesterday as being the remainder of my chemo treatment (the bold is the "are you kidding me?" points):
• 12 weeks
• 12 chemotherapy cycles
• 1 treatment delivered EVERY THURSDAY (Yes, every Thursday. Yes, this scares the heck out of me, too.)
• 51 weeks
• 17 chemotherapy cycles
• 1 treatment delivered every third Thursday
As you'd expect, Phase II starts immediately upon the completion of the last cycle in Phase I. Phase III, however, will actually start during Phase II, and will sometimes be delivered congruently with Phase II treatments. In other words, there will be some Thursdays where I'll receive chemo meds from Phase II and Phase III in the same visit.
Welp...the sooner we pump it in, the sooner we finish. All I can say now is, "Bring it on."
The Oncologist showed me the dates of every chemotherapy appointment I'm scheduled for, from beginning to end. My last chemo treatment is scheduled for:
And....queue the breakdown.
The doctor was so very nice – she hugged me so tightly. And, of course, I kept trying to pull away and stop crying, but she wouldn't let me. She just kept hugging me. I guess I've been holding in a little bit much over the last few months. (I admit, MAYBE that's why I was only a “9”.) Oncologists are a very special few. For real.
So.......looks like I'm gonna be making journal entries here for a pretty long time. Ya gotta figure – once April '16 comes around, I'll still have surgery and radiation to contend with. I sincerely appreciate all of you who read and follow along. I can't say that enough. You give me a reason to pay attention. You give me a reason to look for the good stuff. You give me a reason to find humor in everything. You give me a reason to just “be”, and let it all happen as it needs to. ♥
I've said it before, and I'll say it many times again – this diagnosis has shown me the one thing I can count on is change. So I will focus on this in meditation every day going forward:
The bamboo that bends
is stronger than
the oak that resists.
I'll continue to check my hair status every day, and let you know what happens (Jason – are you running the pool for that?!)....meanwhile, go do the hugging thing with ALL your peeps. They need it as much as you do. I promise.
Lots of love, ♥