That’s some crazy-fast healing! Thank my lucky stars, and the chemo. 🙏💖🙏💖
After the cancer whirlwind of May and a couple of weeks of R&R at home, tomorrow I start a “normal” routine of chemo — two drugs in week one, one drug in week two and then a week off, times six (to start with).
A few weeks ago I was praying for this opportunity, and now that it’s here I’m nervous about it — or, more specifically, nervous about the side effects. It’s wild the way we adapt to different circumstances — in my case, from simply wanting to live to now being scared of a bit of nausea. I’ve just been reading online about various non-drug ways to cope with the nausea, like guided visualization and accupressure, and learned that “anticipatory nausea” is a thing: some people worry so much about it that it makes them ill. I’m going to try to put on my big-girl panties and not be one of them — and to remember that this is all good for me, after all! Perspective is a good thing.
I’ve gained even more strength and stamina since coming home. Yesterday I managed four trips down and back up our driveway, which, if you’ve been here, you know is no small feat. It’s a long hilly walk at about 8,100 feet (approx. 2500 meters), where the air is kinda thin. I’ve also been eating well, thanks to Charles and Sarah doing almost all the cooking. I’m still down about 25 pounds since March, but at least I’m nourished now that my liver is working better again.
The stents have continued to do an amazing job, and my bilirubin count Tuesday was only 2.2! (Quick reminder, 1.5 is the top of normal and mine was almost 17 three weeks ago. I was the color of a Manila envelope and now I just look like I used a bit of fake-tanning cream.) Other liver enzymes are still elevated but trending downward. They’ll clear further as the chemo continues to shrink the tumors in there.
The part of my body that has the most cancer is my bones, from my hips up to the base of my skull, including my spine and ribs. I’ve been asked why I don’t feel much pain, and I don’t know the answer. Just lucky, I guess. I feel a little achy in my left shoulder if I try to sleep on that side, and by the end of the day my upper back can be a little sore, but that’s it. We saw a wonderful oncologist for a second opinion yesterday and while she affirmed everything my first oncologist has recommended, she suggested that I get a a metal brace inserted (surgically) to prevent my left hip from breaking; I didn’t even know I had much cancer there.
Fortunately, and of course this is all relative, my cancer is all the same kind (estrogen-receptive breast cancer) and will respond to the same chemo cocktail. I was worried that my bones would become thinned out and brittle when the cancer died off but have learned that in fact the bone calcifies and rebuilds. How cool is that? There’s even an adjunct medicine that can be added to my chemo that will help strengthen my bones.
If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me. I’m off to do driveway laps with Sarah, and I’ll let you know how it goes in the next few days.
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