So, the portacath insertion went swimingly. It actually took them less time than usual and we were home by ‘lunch’. Course, I wasn’t much on eating, but that’s alright.
Yesterday (Friday) we went to see Dr. Tokaz (oncologist) to figure out the schedule from here on out. Treatment is the longest phase of dealing with breast cancer. In the past 6 weeks I’ve gone through initial testing, biopsies, diagnosis, lumpectomy, re-diagnosis, bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction and 4 weeks of relatively quiet recovery. Whoa. Treatment on the other hand is going to span a minimum of 18 weeks…and that’s just the active medical part. Recovery will be a number of months after that.
Dr. Tokaz took us through a number of treatment senarios, culminating in his recommendation that we do TAC…6 cycles at 3 weeks apart. Okay…the explanation I have for this is pretty vague still. There are many different classes and types of chemotherapy drugs. I will be doing AC (Adriamycin & Cyclophosphamide), the most common regime for early stage cancer in pre-menopausal women. I will also be doing Taxotere, at the same time. This is apparently newish and aggressive. The idea being a moderately spaced, heavy regime has the best chance of lowering my chances of recurrence. Alrighty then…
If that were it, this wouldn’t seem quite so overwhelming. Chemo doesn’t just happen alone, there are a number of other tests and support appointments that go along with it. Harken to me…Week 1: Meet with oncologist followed immediately by chemotherapy. 24 hours later, return to lab for injection of White Blood Cell builder (neulasta or similar). Later in the week, return for WBC count check. Week 2: Meet with Nurse Practitioner to asses side effects,etc. Later in the week, WBC counts. Week 3: WBC count check. Add to this the fact that I’m seeing a physical therapist weekly and an acupuncturist the Saturday after my chemo and a nutritionist on top of that.
If this seems like a full-time job to you, join the club. I’ve already got a full-time job thanks…two children, a husband, a household, multiple pets, a garden…HELP. Okay, we’re looking for a part-time nanny. I never thought I’d be the nanny type of mom, but ya gatta do wat ya gatta do. I’m going to be hiring in a service to clean the house every other week. I just can’t waste the energy keeping up with heavy household chores (for those of you snickering at me, yes, I know I never did them much any way) There’s also the fact that everything needs to be super sanitary around here for the next 5 months. Chemo knocks down your WBC count and leaves you very vulnerable to infections of every kind. If the kids or Sam gets sick, I have to hide. If I even have the sniffles, I can’t do my chemo that cycle, and I want to stay on track and get this over with sooner. I have lots of friends and family to help, but, wow this still seems like a big, overbearing beast.
All in all, I think I’m ready. I’m not looking forward to it particularly, but I’m setting my sights on January. And, just so you know, I’m counting not in months or weeks, but in cycles. 6 on down. I should have my first treatment on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.