Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keep on Keeping on...

Things are still going smoothly with treatment - with just about one more month of chemo to go, I STILL have no side effects and still feel perfectly fine.

In fact, a few weeks ago I finally mustered the courage to go back to the gym.  It was not nearly as scary as I thought it might be.  My two favorite forms of exercise are running and kickboxing (I belong to a kickboxing gym), and to get back into shape I decided to start with running.  I didn't know exactly what to expect since it had been about year since I'd done any kind of exercising to speak of.

So, even though in the past the minimum run I would do would be about 3 miles, this time I told myself to try to make it to just 20 minutes, and to go as slow as I needed to.  I made it to 20 minutes, and it felt great.  It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and it felt really good to be running again.

The next hurdle will be taking a kickboxing class - they are pretty intense so I'm going to give myself a little more time on the treadmill to build up my stamina, but I'm looking forward to the day when I can get back to the bag.  I can see myself picturing the word "cancer" on the punching bag and I think that will give me the motivation I need to hit as hard as I can!

A couple weeks ago I had a routine MUGA scan - this is the test that measures the strength of my heart muscle, to ensure that the Herceptin is not negatively affecting my heart (since weakening the heart muscle is a side effect of the drug).  The test went the same as always.  My techician was Igor, who when he introduced himself said, "My name is Igor - it sounds scary but really I'm a nice guy" - ha!

For some reason for this test he could not use my port, so he drew blood from my arm.  Then, I waited about 45 minutes while my blood was being treated with some kind of radioactive substance, and then the blood was put back in me and I was under the scanning machine for about 30 minutes.

I got the results the following week when I saw Dr. Sara, and they were just fine.  He said my MUGA result was a 68 - meaning my heart pumps 68% of the blood up into the aorta.  Anything greater than 50 is normal, so that is good!  Not that I was worried.  Especially after I'd started running and didn't feel abnormally winded or anything I figured my heart was working just fine.

Mom has been doing well in her fight too.  She started radiation last week, and now goes every morning.  The treatment itself takes only 6 minutes.  Before she started Dr. Sara reminded her that radiation can cause fatigue and to take it easy if she starts feeling more tired than usual.  He said not to use me as an example of side effects since I am the exception to the rule when it comes to side effects these days!

So, as I said I have about another month to go on this chemo.  Let's hope my streak of no side effects keeps up.  I have also been lucky enough to have not gotten sick - meaning no flu, no stomach virus, not even a cold - since my diagnosis, despite the fact that chemo makes you more susceptible to infection.  So here's hoping I can keep that streak going too!