So good and bad for today. I went in to get my 4th round of Doxil today. I was mentally prepared for it. For those of you who have never had chemo before, you have to mentally prepare for it. Put on the brave face, suck up the knowledge that you will be poked and prodded and you’ll be looking at other cancer patients who are much worse off than you….and you will wonder when it will be the point you will look like that. You have to mentally prepare to feel sick for a week. I got there and had my labs drawn from my port and tubing inserted into my port to be ready for chemo. I saw the resident and then saw my medical oncologist. I had a list of 7 questions for him. I have to say that I was not looking forward to talking with him this morning because I tend not to be a confrontational person (unless I am going Mama Bear on someone, then watch out). I heard his voice outside my patient room and I could feel my blood pressure spike. I literally closed my eyes and said a quick prayer asking the Holy Spirit to guide my words and keep me calm. Answered prayers. I did pretty good. Rich was able to come in with me since we were discussing scan results. (you know, the scans I had 3 weeks ago but was never called by my doctor? Yes, hence the hope for calmness and proper word choice as I was still pretty upset about that.)
Remember the blisters on my feet (and now some are in between my fingers as well) and the rashes that were so troublesome about a week or so ago? That is called hand/foot syndrome and is a side effect of Doxil toxicity. Everything is on the mend now…the rash is scabbing over and peeling and less sore and I don’t have any openly weeping blisters on my feet right now. So all in all, I was feeling pretty good about it. He asked to see the rash. He saw a small portion on one side and immediately called off the chemo for this week. Evidently I am not such a baby after all. I have grade 3 toxicity. Grade 4 is when you are hospitalized. So the doctor is giving me another week to heal further and then will be decreasing my chemo dosage by 25% to hopefully help with the side effects of the chemo.
We discussed the results of my CT scans in further detail as he gets two pages of results to my 3 bullet phrases published in my online patient chart. Rich knows how uncomfortable I am with confrontation and immediately asked the doctor for me why he did not call and why I had to wait three weeks for results. After hashing things out for a few minutes, we decided that from now on, when I schedule a CT scan, I will either request a Zoom meeting with him two days later or I will schedule it two days prior to an existing appointment. The hospital is so big with so many departments that they don’t really know how to work together sometimes. I was told when I left a month ago from seeing him to call and set up my CT scans. So I did that day. They scheduled me for a week later. The nurse and doctor didn’t realize I don’t have a lot of choice as to when I set up my scans. I get what they give me. At any rate, we have a plan moving forward. He was very reassured with my results. Where I got “stable” in my bullet points, he was able to print out the results for me and show me that my lung mets have both shrunk in the last 3 months and one of the arms growing out of my inoperable pelvic tumor that then attached itself to my pelvic wall was now gone. That is big and I am thankful for this chemo working for me. Now for a week of more healing and onto more fighting next week.
I did ask my doctor to do a ER/PR test on the slides of my tumor. This will tell them if it is reactive to estrogen or progesterone (because they feel it originated in my uterus – even though I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago and the pathology reports at that time were negative. This will help with other treatments if I need them along the way. I had mentioned the testing to my surgeon and to my doctor at the Mayo Clinic and no one had ordered the test done…which is easy to do. If it doesn’t isn’t receptor positive to either estrogen or progesterone, then we know. But if it is positive, that gives us another tool in the tool kit for fighting this disease.
Rich and I left feeling pretty good about the appointment. I was glad he was able to be there and discuss everything in more detail. We have both decided that my doctor is not proactive but more reactive. This may have to do with how long he has been a doctor, I don’t know. Rich and I have vowed to be more vocal about what is going on with my health so it isn’t brushed under the rug until it is so bad that we are treating issues caused by meds he is overdosing me with. (which has now happened 3 times). I am evidently pretty sensitive to medications. Hopefully that means we can beat back this cancer and I can be around a bit longer!
Thanks….thank you to Deb and Todd Banchor for the bouquet of flowers yesterday. The are so pretty and so fragrant! Thanks also to those who constantly check up on me via text or cards…thank you for letting me know that I am in your thoughts and prayers. These days stuck at home (going on 8 months for me) are pretty lonely and they can just get the better of you somedays. Tim has finished his first two grad classes (one of them was research methods and statistics and I am positive he is happy to have that one in his rearview mirror!) I had the privilege of reading his final paper in that class (because it was on a topic I was interested in) and was so impressed by his writing! Good job Tim! Joe has finally finished his testing to get into the fire department. Just waiting on the results of his EMT national registry exam (which was a bear of an exam evidently) Michelle is back at work live this week (and exhausted from it) but happy to be in a somewhat “normal” existence. Lily finished her summer school term and did well in Personal Finance. One less class to take this fall! So happy news all around!