Chemo ~ Cycle 5 / Day 2

(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.   The most recent blog entries are also listed as links on the bottom left.)

Firstly, I apologize for being SO SLACK on responding to people’s comments lately; I always like to respond to all of them.  With all Nina’s wedding stuff this month, being busy at work with Forecast II, and now having a new puppy and another chemo round, my computer time at home has been dwindling but I’ll try to get back on track with things this weekend, sorry.  I just didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t reading or responding to your messages.  I love getting them and appreciate everyone for writing them.  Speaking of support, there’s a section in my blog where I can see how many blog hits I have each day (not from who, just a tally count) and since I started it, I am almost up to 10,000 blog hits!  Thank you all for caring so much and for passing along my blog to others.  I hope it’s helping others as much as it’s helping me. 🙂

Well, chemo cycle 5 came andwent yesterday.  My second to last one, woo hoo!!  I only have one left (three weeks away) and this week will be spent recovering from round #5 so it’ll go by really fast. 

My mom came with me to yesterday’s appointment.  Dan had a business trip but he’ll be at my last one.  My mom spent the night with me last night too so that was nice. 🙂  And her friend Edie made us a wonderful chicken casserole which was fabulous just like the one Vicki made me and the baked spaghetti Courtney made me.  All of you are so sweet.

Anyway, we met with Dr. Limentani first yesterday, just like we do every big chemo week.  That went fine I think.  I had a list of questions prepared and I’ll try to recap them here.  First,  I wanted to know if I got a double mastectomy instead of a single one if that would preclude me from having to take Tamoxifen for the full five years, since that’s what keeping me from getting pregnant until I’m 37.  Tamoxifen is an estrogen blocker for my ER+ tumors to prevent them from coming back (or growing too if they don’t get everything I think).  I thought they only blocked estrogen in the breast tissue because that’s what we heard online but itactually blocks estrogen in other areas of the body as well so I will need to stay on it the full 5 years. 😦  Secondly, I wanted to know when I would have my next scans (e.g., MRI, cat scan, etc.) since I haven’t had a scan since I was first diagnosed.  I wanted to understand how we were going to be sure that they got everything and that the cancer was 100% gone.  Dr. Limentani said that Dr. Turk would order my MRI before my surgery and that I should go ahead and schedule my appointment with Dr. Turk now to begin discussing our next steps (surgery) now that I’m close to done with my big chemo rounds.  Dr. Limentani said it would just be an MRI, not a full body scan since my last full body scan came back clear and they’ve given me the most aggressive chemo regimen possible.  Therefore there is no reason to do another scan, for two reasons, well three if you count the fact that insurance won’t pay for additional scans unless necessary.  One, being because the tumors wouldn’t/shouldn’t spread after my initial scans since they were killing the cancer cells with the most aggressive chemo they could; and two, because even if they had spread, it would mean Stage IV incurable and not much more they could do; I would eventually have symptoms in those other areas (e.g., liver, etc.) and the earlier detection wouldn’t make a difference at that point.  That was all kind of a scary to hear but Dr. Limentani was very positive about everything and he told me to not be concerned.  I was just asking what-if questions.  He also said that after surgery, they analyze everything they take out during the surgery (all my breast tissue, the 15 lymph nodes they’re removing) and do a full pathology report.  They said I have a 40% chance of still having cancer at that time, but more positively a 60% chance of being cancer free.  I asked what would that mean if there was still some cancer left and he said my prognosis would be different, I took in a bad way.  He seemed a little apprehensive towards some my questions, but only because I’m asking questions into the future while there are still so many unknowns, except for the fact I’ve been doing great with all my treatments and we can’t feel my tumors physically anymore; and he didn’t think I needed to worry about all of that.  I guess I’m just getting a little anxious since we aren’t 100% sure.  I’m also confused about why if they are taking out the remaining breast tissue and all my lymph nodes, wouldn’t that mean they were getting all the cancer out then during surgery?  Dr. Limentani said these are questions to ask Dr. Turk and more so after the pathology report which will tell us way more.  Perhaps it has to do with risk for recurrence, but then why aren’t they suggesting double mastectomy?  Confusing.  Anyway, sorry, I have been so rambling (that’s the chemo brain I guess; I’ll have to re-read this post in a few days) but let’s get back to the positives.  Dr. Limentani still thinks everything is positive looking and so do I. 

I saw my friend Chrissy in there again yesterday.  She was the girl I met during my second to last big chemo round and who I saw there last week (or maybe the week before, I can’t remember) getting my Herceptin.  We talked for a while again and exchanged contact information to stay in touch.  She’s young like me (2 years older I think) with no family history of breast cancer in her family either.  Her cancer is triple negative like the other girl I met on my last big chemo round.  Anyway, we shared some stories about living with cancer, being our age, the side effects (we’ve both been on Taxotere, the worst,  and Carboplatin) so it’s been nice sharing stories.  I’m actually using some of her advice and am going back into the doctor tomorrow for 2 hours for an IV for saline/fluids.  She said it makes her feel so much better and can last through the day better.  We’ll see if it work for me!

So far, the side effects from this round have include HOT flashes, which I didn’t put two and two together until yesterday that that’s what was happening with me.  I’ve gotten them several times and just haven’t realized that’s what they were.  I’ve had them before during some of our fertility treatments but there are worse and more often now.  I feel all hot up my neck, head, ears, mouth, all over basically.  They come a lot at night and in the morning, and then periodically throughout the day.  That’s what happened that day at Subway right before I felt like I was going to pass out.  Oh yeah, and chemo brain is still getting worse.  My short term memory is just not here this week again.  I took a nap for a few hours this afternoon on the couch and I still feel very tired so I’m sure I’ll be in bed early.

Well, I think that’s enough for now, sorry for such a long blog.  I’m sure I rambled and rambled.  I have even more to write about though (Nina’s wedding, my new puppy, new pictures to post, etc.) but I’ll take care of those later this week/weekend, along with responding to everyone messages.  Thanks again!

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4 Responses to “Chemo ~ Cycle 5 / Day 2”

  1. Carol Lambert Says:

    I’m curious, how much would the full body scan be even if insurance didn’t cover it? I would put my ‘wig lady’ money towards it and help out some more if it was do-able. I would want peace of mind.

    I also have a close friend who had a double masectomy about 2 years ago who is in her early 30’s (she had reconstruction done at the same time) if you ever want to talk with someone who has ‘been there’.

    • Danielle Kragnes Murray Says:

      Thanks Carol that is really sweet of you! I have an appt with the surgeon tomorrow. I’m going to ask him about the scans too and see what he says. That’s nice of you to offer up your friend’s time to talk with me. I’ve met a few girls close to my age in the chemo room and I’m actually talking to one of them tomorrow who just had her surgery last week. She had all the lymph nodes removed under her arm too like I’m going to so it’ll be nice to talk to someone who’s been through the same thing.

  2. barbara johnson Says:

    Danielle, I was reading your blog and hoping you are feeling better and stronger now. I am leaving for the beach tomorrow with Katie but when I get back next week I would like to do something for you like a meal or anything you might need. I will be in touch, you are continually in my prayers!!barbara

    • Danielle Kragnes Murray Says:

      Hi Barbaba! That is so sweet of you. You are so thoughtful! I hope you and your family are doing well. Have fun at the beach and tell Katie and Emily I said hello! Talk to you soon.


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