Treatment Update - Taxol

I have now had 4 treatments of the drug Taxol.  These treatments are weekly and I will have a total of 12.treatments.  So, I am 1/3 of the way through my Taxol treatments and 1/2 way through all of my chemo treatments overall.

Taxol is reported to have less of an effect on the digestive system, and less of an effect on the immune system.  This is a good thing because it also means I don't use the Neulasta with these treatments - and that caused by far the most significant side effects for me.

As the A/C drugs have had time to be processed out of my body, and the Taxol has a more cumulative effect - it means at the moment, I feel remarkably normal (minus the lack of hair!).  My energy isn't quite where it was before chemo, and heat and sun still have an enhanced effect, but I have the energy to spend time with the boys, the pets, and in the garden - all things I absolutely love.  And, not to mention time to spend writing - even if it is at odd hours of the night/early morning!

One of the most common side effects of Taxol is neuropathy - tingling and numbness - in the fingers and toes, as well as drying effects on the nails.  So far, I have been able to avoid these effects.  I am hopeful that will continue.  Some have told me that they felt these efffects right away, others didn't feel them until close to the end of treatments, and some never got these side effects.  I am hopeful that the Prayers, positive attitude, nutritional supplements and vitamins, and essential oils I use specific to neural protection will keep these side effects to a minimum.

My attitude has stayed positive, this journey continues on and I am making the best of it.  I am embracing using head scarves (mostly) and occasionally hats as accessories, and slowly even becoming more comfortable just simply being bald.  (My boys like that so they can rub my head!).

I am so incredibly thankful for all the prayers that people are sending my way.  I truly believe that these prayers have made an incredible difference in my strength, my energy, and my attitude.  Prayer is a very powerful thing.  I have said that from the very first signs that this may be cancer, I have felt a strong sense of peace thet God's got this, and it will all be OK.  This is one step in my journey, and while it may be a long road, this too will someday be behind me.  So, if you are one of the many prayer warriors for me out there - keep up the prayers, I am doing great, but I still have a long journey ahead.    But with a positive, humorous attitude, my Faith, the power of Prayer, and my Family and Friends, I will persevere on.

The Treatment Plan

So in the past week, I have met with a team of doctors at the University of Nebraska Med Center (Monday), heard their treatment plan.  Then, I met with an oncologist here in Des Moines on Tuesday morning.

The doctors in Nebraska and the ones here have pretty much the exact same ideas for treatment of this cancer.  It makes decisions easier when all the doctors agree.

My treatment plan will consist of having a port put in (today actually), then starting chemotherapy on Monday (Yes, in 3 days, less than a week after I met the oncologist)!  I will have chemo every other week for 2 months, then weekly for another 2 - 3 months.  Sounds like a blast, huh.

Once the chemo is done, I will have a mastectomy (I'm leaning toward bilateral, but there is time to think about that more in the coming months).  Depending on how the cancer responds to chemo, and what my scans look like then, we will decide if I need to have radiation before undergoing reconstruction.

Long story short, it's going to be a bit of a long year!  I'm trying to stay positive throughout this and trust that God will give me the strength to get through this.  Of course, being positive does not take away the fear.  The unknown is scary.  Not knowing how I will react to the chemo is scary.  Not knowing how I (and my kids) will react to not having hair, is scary.  The thought of major surgery, followed by another major surgery for reconstruction and all the infection risks that come with it, is scary.  The possibility that even with all these great efforts, this cancer could possibly come back, and possibly in a more vital organ (liver, lung, bone, brain) is VERY SCARY.  Through all this, I rely on my faith and belief that God has a plan and my hope that he is certainly not done with me yet.

Stay tuned for more information and stories from my journey.  I am going to be posting an amazing prayer that was given to me by a congregation member of my church.  I have some other little tidbits planned as well, and that's just from these first few weeks of this crazy long journey!