* 12/05/09 Update below Today is my final Herceptin infusion and I will be officially finished with “chemo” therapy! (Some say Herceptin isn’t really chemo but it is a chemical designed to attack cancer cells, and it goes into your body through an IV and can damage your heart – it just doesn’t make you ‘sick’) Yeah! I’m doing the happy dance! I can have my port removed next month and bid farewell to the frequent visits to the oncology ward. I have been declared NED, which means No Evidence of Disease. When you have had cancer you’ve never really been “cured” because the risk of recurrence is always there, but remission is a good place to be and I intend to stay there.
I must admit it is a little strange and scary to not be actively treated for my cancer any longer. It puts me in what feels like a vulnerable position. Part of me wishes I could actually continue Herceptin. It hasn’t been used long enough in cases like mine to know whether or not the long term coverage is promised to keep Her2Neu cancer away. But I am keeping my faith and believing that I’ve done everything possible to stay healthy and that is all any of us can do,right? Lifestyle changes including regular aerobic exercise is one way to offer myself a 3% reduced recurrence rate, and so that is something I began months ago. The dietary changes are a little harder to implement since the whole family would have to be on board. One thing at a time, one day at a time. I’ve done the “biggies” – surgery, chemo, Herceptin and now hormone therapy. The rest lies in God’s hands, the ultimate healer!
My hair is really starting to come in now and lots of people have asked me if I will keep it this way. I’m thinking NO, but as soon as it gets long again, if I decide to cut it it will be on my terms. I just still really miss being able to comb its long tresses, tie it off in a pony tail, twist it up in a bun…I even have recurring dreams about doing that! On a positive note, it sure makes getting ready in the morning very quick!
My MRSA infection is healing and I’ll be meeting with Infectious Diseases next week to come up with an action plan to eradicate it completely. My surgeon believes that once my port ( direct line to my bloodstream) is removed, and I stop frequenting a hospital setting (i.e. the chemo ward), that it will eventually stop. He has provided me with a special bandage which is changed daily and used for burn patients to help aide in the healing of the many scars MRSA has left on my body.
The Avon Walk is just 5 months away now and guess what? I am very close to my fund raising goal of $1,800! This week, a woman whom I barely know from a hospital support group, hosted a Tastefully Simple party for me in her home. The final numbers aren’t in yet, but so far it has brought me to within just under $400 of my total! I amazed and awed by the generosity of strangers and friends who have come beside me in this fight. If you’d like to follow my progress you can click on my Avon Walk page HERE. The number there is not final and is constantly updating. I believe it reads $1,115 right now but after the party it is closer to $1,450! Thank you to all of you who have given – it really means so much to me. Once my goal is reached my efforts will be given 100% to help Curtis raise his goal. You can read his page HERE. His girlfriend Rachael will also be walking again. Each of us has to raise the same amount and as college students, they really need some help!
I can’t believe the holiday season in upon us and Christmas will be in just 3 weeks. Ready or not, it is coming, and being swamped in business orders I am miserably behind this year. Since cancer I don’t really sweat the small stuff anymore. I press on, and figure that if the candies and cookies don’t get made, and the cards don’t get mailed until new years, and the tinsel never makes it onto the tree, the world will really not come to an end. My family is happy and healthy and celebrating what really matters THIS Christmas!
Update 12/05/09 Thursday after my infusion I went for a nuclear scan of my heart. My fifth one in a year…Herceptin is known for causing decreased heart function. Anyways, before I started chemo last year my function was a 69. Optimal is 55 so I was doing pretty well! The numbers started to drop over the months, down to 65, then 64 then 62…I got scared. I joined a gym as you know, and started walking vigorously. The number went up to 64 in Sept. Guess what it was this week?? My ejection fraction output is now a 70!! As good as it can possible get! Woo-hoo! I am soooo happy!