Leanne, Ryland, Kaitlin, Jeff & Maryn

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I am Cancer Free!!!!!

As you can see in my announcement section, I am cancer free! I had a PET/CT scan when Ryland was 3 weeks old, and got the results back that Friday. There is no detectable cancer anywhere in my body. Woo hoo!!!! I am still choosing to be very aggressive in my treatment, despite the good news.

I started the new chemotherapy regimen on July 11th. I will be doing 12 rounds of weekly treatment - Taxol and Herceptin on Wednesdays. I went in for my third infusion yesterday. So far, this new chemo has been interesting.

With the first infusion, I had insomnia for three days thanks to the steroid - Decadron. I tried to forgo the steroid in the 2nd treatment, but Taxol can cause severe allergic reactions, so it wasn't a good idea to completely cut out the steroid. I also experienced a lot of swelling due to the loading dose of Herceptin - Jeff said that I looked like a chipmunk on Thursday morning when I finally got out of bed.

With the second infusion, I took Ambien (sleeping pill) the night of treatment, and this seemed to help get me to sleep. On Thursday and Friday, however, I began to experience paranoia and the feeling that I couldn't keep still...almost like I drank two pots of coffee. I also noticed that my nose bled easily, and my throat started to bleed on Saturday morning. I wasn't too alarmed because the bleeding clotted easily, but I did mention it to the Oncologist. I started to feel a bit better on Saturday, but was pretty tired overall.

I went in on Tues of this week for blood work, and it turns out that my white blood cells are low - 1.4. Last week, they were at 4.2, and the Oncologist won't treat me if they dip below 1.0. In anticipation of the effects of this week's treatment, I opted for Neupogen shots after chemo. I also talked to the Oncologist about the paranoia and jitters, so she told me that we could try reducing the steroid to half the dosage I received in an effort to reduce the side effects.

I had my 3rd round of chemo yesterday. The infusion went well, and Jeff and I left after being at the office for about 3 hours. On our way home, I began feeling heaviness in my arms, almost like they were swelling up. I called the Onc's office when we got home, and she told me to take 25mg of Benadryl in case it was an allergic reaction to something. Since our ride home, I have had numbness/tingling in my arms, from my biceps to my fingertips. I start the Neupogen shots this afternoon (I have to go in for 3 days in a row to receive the shots), so the nurse is going to check me out. The Onc said that it's abnormal to experience this much neuropathy in the extremities (from the Taxol) this early on. I am also experiencing insomnia again...as I type this update at 4am while the ENTIRE house is sleeping. So much for the "sleep when the baby is sleeping" advice!

The side effects of the Neupogen are muscle and bone aches. Apparently, the degree of aching is reduced by taking Claritin, so that is my plan for this week. I'm just hoping that my white blood cell count increased enough to continue with treatment!

Once I finish the weekly Taxol and Herceptin combo in the end of September, I will go on a 2-4 week break to get my blood counts back up. Then, I FINALLY get to start radiation - over a year after the mastectomy. I haven't met with the Radiation Oncologist since our initial appointment last September, but his plan was to be aggressive in the radiation as well - with 8 weeks of daily radiation. Once I start radiation, I will switch to receiving Herceptin every three weeks until July 2008 as well & will start on the Tamoxifin (dosed for 5 years).

So, that's my update for now. Maryn and Ryland are growing like weeds...I can't believe Ryland is almost 10 weeks old! Boy, how time flies.

I hope this finds you well, and that I didn't forget anything!