(Note: If this is your first time visiting my page, thank you for your concern and support. You may want to read the pages to the left first, then read from below. My latest blog entries will feed to the top automatically. )
Hi. Couple various updates today. I’ll start with yesterday, my second big chemo day (not counting the weeks in between for the Herceptin, which technically isn’t considered chemo therapy but rather a targeted therapy). Anyway, since Dan has a new job now (congrats again Little Precious!), my mom is taking off work to be with me all day at my appointments. We have fun together and it’s our special day now. Nina came too and brought me lunch, while my mom went out and got her own lunch since I can only have one visitor at a time. Well I guess I’ve skipped ahead.
Ok, first we met with Dr. Limentani who I like more and more every week, not that I didn’t love him to begin with but he’s really great, and funny (and he’s reading my blog now so I thought I’d give him a special welcomed shout out! 🙂 ). By the way, Dr. Limentani, thanks again for saving my life!! And Helen, you’ve been awesome too and so warm and helpful!!
Ok, sorry, now for my appt results, Dr. Limentani said my lumps have gone WAY down and that my progress was, quote, “impressive”!! He couldn’t even take physical measurements from the outside. That was very nice to hear, the treatments are working!!! He said a while back I’d feel pain in the lump areas and that meant they were shrinking and I can feel more pain in there today, which is good (it’s more like I can just feel them rather than them being painful really). I also got the go ahead for Nina’s bachelorette party too (which is still a secret destination so hush please). It falls nicely on a non chemo week.
After the follow up appointment, we sat in the little waiting area for a short while, saw a famous person in Dr. Limentani’s office, who I won’t mention on my blog for his confidentially purposes but it was pretty neat. Then, off to the chemo room, where there was basically only one chair open! There are 25 chemo recliners in the room (we counted again), each with one guest chair, so there were close to 50 people in there yesterday I think (maybe a little less), the most packed I’d ever seen it!! I was the last to check out later that day and the lady at the front desk mentioned how they have recently seen a big unforeseen increase in new cancer patients. Kind of scary. Either everyone’s watching Dr. Oz, being more careful in their screenings, or there’s something up, who knows. I asked a few weeks ago what the most common type of cancer they had in there one day and they said breast cancer, lung cancer and lymphoma. So quit smoking everyone!! Go get hypnotized darn it! I also dropped off two more bags of bottle-caps (see my “Bottle Caps Needed” page to the left for more info). I have recruited about five people so far who have set up buckets in their offices and are sending me their caps. Thanks again and keep it up!! We need to make this fun you know!
The chemo treatments went much better this time (so far). I didn’t get the Ativan this time, which is what they gave me (and I asked for) the first time to help with anxiety. That was what made me so loopy the first time and gave me all those weird time warps. Nope, not this time, today felt like the full 6 hours!! 😉 It goes by really fast though. The first hour was for the follow up appointment, then a short waiting period, a brief encounter (exaggeration, a mere sighting really) with a famous person, IV set up, snack time, water break, and then chemo time!! Taxotere was first again, the one with the ice buckets for my hands to prevent nail damage. That’s the worst part of the whole day, second being the IV sticks, but I’m still waiting on the port. I heard the dry mouth side effects could be prevented in a similar way by eating crushed ice the whole time so I brought a cooler of popcicles, but the funny thing was my mom had to feed me them since my hands had to stay in the buckets. I was very high maintenance yesterday, asking for fresh blankets, pictures, lunch, popsicle bites, etc. What a great mom I have!!! And Kelly kept sending me trivia forwards, which were fun too.
I had a problem with the IV this time, all my fault though. I got up to go to the bathroom and pulled up my sweater, which was holding a piece of tape holding down the IV and pulled it right out of my vein but it was still in my arm. I noticed it right away because the saline started injecting right in my skin and hurt. I was in between drugs when it happened so only saline leaked and pooled in my skin right near the IV. It was weird. The nurse fixed it right away though and I got a new IV in a different place. The little poofy area went down like……..hm I’m trying to think of a funny Paula Abdul analogy but I can’t.
My side effects haven’t been that bad yet. I worked 9 hours today (from home though), starting at 5am! I woke up at 3am and couldn’t go back to sleep. I got out of bed at 5am and have been on the computer since. I’m updating my blog real quick and then hitting the couch for some R&R. My mouth has started to get a little dry and I’m a little tired now (but that’s probably associated with getting up at 3am) but nowhere near how I felt before so I’m hoping I really was sick on top of everything else the last time and this time will be better. The worst days are supposed to be Sat and Sun though so we’ll see. My worst day last time was Mon so I’m trying to work as much as I can now in case I need that day off. The Nadir point (low blood counts) will be day 7-10 so hopefully I push through that and don’t get sick again.
Ok, one last story about my chemo appt and an update on my friend at my wig place (who I’m not mentioning her name on purpose for confidentiality purposes and also because she doesn’t know I’m writing about her or trying to help her yet). I first wrote about this in my last blog entry, the one below. So I called my new friend today with some exciting news, which I’m sharing with you now. My mom told Dr. Limentani and Helen (RN, OCN) about my blog. After my appointment, Dr. Limentani stopped by in the chemo room and said he read my latest blog and wanted to help put me in touch with some people/clinics who can possibly help my wig friend. Then a few seconds later the oncologist’s office administrator came by, gave me a donation from herself personally and gave me some names and contact information for some people/clinics that can get her seen at a discounted rate! Then their financial counselor stopped by and gave me some more contacts and information for me to give to my new friend. The doctors and nurses at Carolinas Hematology and Oncology Associates and definitely the best, in so many ways!! So I called my wig friend today on her cell phone because she wasn’t working today and left her a message to explain to her what I was doing so she could see where she’d be interested in going with all the new options. I didn’t leave all this on her message but I’ll talk to her about it soon. I’m still collecting donations because some of the brochures I read said you had to live in Mecklenburg county, some do sliding scales, discounts, etc, so there will still be out of pocket expenses for sure. Anyway, if you’d still like to contribute, I’m still taking donations and would greatly appreciate the help!! If I don’t use all of the money, I will send it back to you, but so far I’ve collected $115 from others, with three other non-denominated donations on their way!! I’ll be making up the difference of whatever I don’t collect for her initial scans. I called Charlotte Radiology again and asked a few more questions and they give discounts as well for the scans when you pay in cash at the time of service so the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound will be $221 and $144, respectively. They do require a referral though, which the Health Department won’t do, so I called my primary doctor and an appointment there to get referred is between $97 and $350, depending on the appointment, what they need to do, etc. I thought that seemed high but I’m thinking it won’t be that much. And I bet once my doctor hears about what we’re doing, they’ll give us a discount, even if it’s just the cash at time of service discount deal. So total needed is $462-$715 (depending on referral appointment cost), less the $115 I’ve collected already, less another approximate $75 for the three others on their way, less my $100 for now, unless I need more later. So that leaves between $172 and $575 left (depending on the referral appt). I’m going to see if my work does any special donations or anything as well on Monday.
I also posted some new pics today.