Last Wednesday was my fourth, and most likely my last, full chemo session. WOOHOO!!!
I say "most likely" because there is a small chance I will need more depending on the results of my next tests - a PET scan, CT scan and MRI - which are already scheduled for next Wednesday, April 28th. But Dr. Sara said that he expects my scans to be "beautiful" - he said he is not expecting any surprises!
In fact, he told me to go ahead and make appointments with my breast surgeon and liver surgeon, since he's pretty certain that I am ready for surgery. So, I will see my breast surgeon Dr. Rosenbaum Smith on Monday, May 3rd, which is when I will officially find out the results of my tests. Then, later that week I will see Dr. Sara again and will have a Herceptin-only treatment, and then I will meet the liver surgeon Dr. Attiyeh.
After my tests and all of these appointments, I should have a better idea of exactly when surgery will be, whether they can do the breast and liver surgery all in one (or if it will be separate surgeries), and what my recovery time will be - all things I am anxious to find out.
Although I will most likely be done with chemo, I will still need Herceptin treatments for about a year, but it's nothing compared to chemo. There are no real side effects to Herceptin - it doesn't make me fatigued, or give me dry mouth, or make my hair fall out, etc. And, it's only a 30-minute IV which doesn't even require pre-meds - simple!
My last chemo session was pretty uneventful. After my very encouraging exam with Dr. Sara (who was not accompanied by Debra the nurse practitioner or the fellow Dr. Dy - so only one boob flash!), I took my usual spot in the Infusion Suite, flanked by my parents. The nurse put the IV in the underside of my wrist this time, which was not my favorite spot because it made my hand hard to move. It also left me with an ugly bruise, which can happen wherever you get an IV, but it looks worse on the underside of the wrist because the skin is so pale.
The nurse started up the Herceptin right away after taking some blood, and Quincy then came along for a visit. He was gearing up for a two-week trip to L.A. with his owner, who grew up there. I imagine Quincy is probably a pretty well-behaved dog on a plane!
My bloodwork came back relatively quick and so the nurse didn't have to wait at all before giving me the Taxotere and the Carboplatin. As a result, I ended up finishing much earlier than I usually do, which unfortunately meant that I didn't get a music therapy session in this time. Bernardo had stopped by early in the day, and was planning to come back in the afternoon for my session, but I finished early! I know my parents were really disappointed that they didn't get their music-playing time in. :)
Since my last chemo, I've had the usual fatigue and that "feel like I'm getting the flu" feeling. Even after sleeping 9 or more hours a night, I still feel run-down and have a general lack of energy, but it's been manageable. I've still been able to go to work each day, and I still managed to go to my friend's baby shower this weekend.
It's been good knowing that I'm nearing the end of the first phase of treatment... I still have a long way to go, but now I can at least start thinking about the fact that in a month or so, my hair will start coming back, and pretty soon I won't be feeling this fatigue or the dry mouth side effects any more! I know I'll be trading these nuisences for new ones that go along with recovering from surgery, but that is OK. As long as I'm getting closer to the finish line, that is all I care about!