Ok it's been awhile since my last post but I have a good reason... I was on vacation! (Well, not for the whole time - only for a week, but still.) I went to the Caribbean, where it was sunny and warm and where there was NO SNOW! Here is picture of me in St. Lucia:
It was really nice to just relax for a week and soak up the sun (of course I was very diligent about putting lots of suncreen on my scars). But all good things must come to an end so after my week it was back to reality...
Luckily things are still status quo with my treatment. After four months of chemo, I have still not experienced any side effects - my blood counts have been good every week and I don't have any of the numbness or tingling in my fingers or toes which is a common side effect of the drug I am on. Dr. Sara said that he tends to prescribe Navelbine (my current chemo drug) a lot - more than his colleagues - and he's very pleased that I haven't had any side effects and that we haven't had to pause treatment even once to wait for my counts to come back - especially since I am getting a full dose; no baby chemo doses here!
I also passed the one-year mark of the day that I was diagnosed: January 14th. Coincidentally, I spent part of the day getting a mammogram, as it was time for my yearly screening and my 3-month checkup with Dr. Rosenbaum Smith. The mammogram was only of the left side, since you can't mammo a tissue expander, which I of course still have on the right side. My mammo was 100% clean, so that was great to hear! Dr. Rosenbaum Smith said everything looks good. I will go back in 3 months for my next checkup.
My Mom and I actually had mother-daughter breast surgeon appointments that day since she had her follow-up with Dr. Rosenbaum Smith too. Things are going well with her treatment as well - she did have to go in for a follow-up surgery because the pathology results from the first surgery showed a margin that was a little too close for comfort. But the second surgery went smoothly and the margins were clean. Now she is waiting a few weeks for it to heal completely before starting radiation.
I also had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Evans, my radiation oncologist, this week. He said that everything looks good, and that it is time for me to have a PET/CT and MRI of the spine soon, as a follow-up to the radiation I had in September. I did have a bone scan back in December that was clean, but since it was the PET/CT that first detected the spots on my spine, that test should be even more definitive. Since I still have 2 more months of chemo, I will have the tests after my last treatment in order to get the best and most accurate result.
I am still on schedule to have radiation to the breast after chemo, and Dr. Evans said that I will need to wait 4-6 weeks after my last chemo treatment before my first radiation treatment can begin. This is just to make sure that all of the chemo is out of my system. So, it's looking like radiation won't start until the end of May/beginning of June, and will last for 6-7 weeks. Then, I will have to wait about 3 months for the area to fully heal before I can have my follow-up reconstructive surgery to get the tissue expander removed and the implant put in.
So I still have several months of treatment ahead of me, followed by more reconstruction, but things are going well and I can't really ask for more than that!