Topic: Today my life, my world, starts over again
Almost 7 months ago, I had a resection to remove my left liver lobe for a 5 cm intrahepatic CC tumor, along with a tiny one near by. All lymph nodes were clear, no sign of spread of the cancer. I was in a tailspin of emotions and things happening TO me...things out of my control. At that point, I certainly could not see my self as a survivor as long as I kept experiencing these awful things. As many of you know, my journey these last few months hasn't been easy, but I realize it hasn't been easy for any of us. It is what we must do and hope for the best. If not so good stuff happens.....the only good choice is to forge ahead and get through it. But, I would not have gotten through it THIS well, if not for some of the people here on the boards. You are indeed family, caregiviers and angels all wrapped up into one. Thank you.
Well, here I am today, August 28, 2014, starting my new life. As of yesterday, I finished all of my adjuvant chemo. My kids and a friend came....and my hubby....to be with me during the last part of the chemo, to take part in the little celebration they have (someone playing a Kazoo to Pomp and Circumstance...graduation march, someone blowing bubbles, someone ringing a hand bell and another presenting me with a certificate signed by all the nurses. I collected that...and hugs from everyone....and then marched myself over to the survivor's bell and rang, and rang that thing until I almost shook my wig off. (Seriously) It was all pretty emotional.....and I know that I have to go back to see my oncologist for blood studies ...esp a lot the next two weeks.....but I don't HAVE to go back into that chemo area again. My DIL took pictures...and video (of the bell ringing) and of me in the chemo chair waiting for the last drips of chemo to get down the tube.
Last night, come hell or high water, I was going to go out for supper to celebrate the end of chemo and start of my new life. My choice was a favorite Chinese restaurant.....the kids and grandson came to join us and for a brief time,, I forgot about all of what had happened.
Today, I was to meet with my psychologist, who called to cancel.....saying she was coming down with a cold and didn't want to expose me to it. So, I"m going out to lunch with friends instead and my husband is going out to lunch with some of his friends. Life is returning to normal slowly but surely.
Tomorrow, I am taking part in a cancer retreat.....a spa /girly day of massage, paraffin hand waxes, home cooked meal, craft picture album (I must take pictures with me). It is all day long, so I hope that my blood counts stay up well enough to get me through the day. I'm sure they'll have a place for me to rest a while if I need to.
Blood counts: After getting the day 1 chemo of Gem/Cis a week ago at a 25% reduced dosage, I still have nausea and dry heaves every day...right up to yesterday morning. Also, was very tired. But, my labs looked respectable yesterday, so we went ahead with the reduced dosage 25% of the day 8 Gemcitibine. My hemoglobin was still sitting at 10, where it was a week ago....still anemic, but a far cry from the 7.2 that it was at the end of round 5 when I got so sick. My kidney function that had been up to 1.5 and then dropped to 1.3 last Wednesday, was at 1.1 again yesterday, so trending the RIGHT direction. The 25% reduction of Cisplatin and me stopping all of the Lasix (which stresses the kidneys) did the trick. My platelets had dropped to 110K from 200K, and I expect they will drop some further as they had been down to 50K. But, they seemed to bump back up fairly quickly and I think with the reduced dosage, they should come back up again. Apparently during round 5, the chemo...both Cisplatin and Gemcitibine stayed in my system a lot longer than usual and did a lot more damage than usual. My oncologist reduced the dosage because she did not want to see a repeat of the round 5 side effects serverity. Hopefully, the next two to three weeks will go more smoothly as this stuff wears out of my system and there won't be any repeat trips to the ER for transfusions. I will have blood tests tomorow, next Wed and a week from Wed to track blood levels to keep me out of trouble ...or to spot something before it does become trouble. Meanwhile, I'm drinking as much liquid as I can make myself do.
Friends are coming for the weekend....staying in a hotel....but it will be several days of doing some things we both love...genealogy. Then, when I get the all clear that I won't be needing the port for a blood transfusion (assuming things go well with this last round), then I will arrange to have the port out either in September...or November...hopefully September. It never has worked as it should have.....and not even for the last chemo yesterday. If, by the grace of GOD, I do not have to ever have to do chemo again, then I will have spent less time with the reminder in my chest (which by the way, still hurts to be pressed on) and if I don't get so lucky and need chemo again, we will have a new one implanted...hopefully that will work better.
Plans...the Future.....I still see myself planning things around CC.....or at least around the 3 month scans. For now, I'm planning an October all leaf and genealogy tour in SW Michigan, upper OHio and maybe into NE , PA......and then down to Tennessee to see my brother. The first after chemo scan will be around the first of November.....and the next probably Feb. So either Jan or Feb maybe....we're thinking about a trip to Phoenix to get away from some of the winter weather. Feb 28th will be my one year surgery anniversary, the real start of my new life, but I won't ever really forget ringing that bell at the end of this chemo.