Tomorrow marks Nancy's sixth treatment. She sent the following...
I'm completely overwhelmed with gratitude for my co-workers who held the "Pink-Luck potluck" in my honor last week. Both Jake and I continue to be amazed at the outpouring of support we have received from everyone. It truly keeps us going and we are so grateful. I had a really nice visit with my sister-in-law, Molly last weekend, while Jake was back in Chicago with his dad and brother. It was great to hang out, watch chick-flicks and catch up on life with Molly and I know Jake and the guys had a really great time back in the mid-West.
I'm starting to feel the chemo effects these days. My chief complaints are numbness/tingling in my hands/feet, pain in my knees/shoulders, and fatigue. Since I'm not working these days, I can easily take naps when I need to, plus I can putter around the house in my sweats. I've been trying to exercise every day, but the pain in my joints is starting to make that a little more challenging. My back pain is improved compared to a month ago, but it isn't gone completely and I'm still spending a lot of time resting on the heating pad, which by far is the most comfortable thing for me. As with everything in life, all symptoms are worse when I'm tired, so I have slowed down to a nice easy pace of life and as a result I feel pretty good most of the time. My pain is very minor and I don't need to take pain medications. For those medically-minded folks (and I know there are a bunch of you), the chemo combo I'm taking is Abraxane/Avastin. At some point, my doctor will also add a drug to treat my bones, which I think is called Zometa. She braced me last week that she intends to keep me on this treatment for quite a long time (maybe a year or longer?) assuming it is effective and I can tolerate the side effects. We will have some insight into the effectiveness when I get the results from my latest CTC test, which we hope will serve as a tumor marker for me. My initial CTC was low, but she's hoping it will go even lower. Additionally, I'll have another PET/CT scan in a few weeks, which will hopefully show the cancer shrinking.
I had my first dose of Avastin last week and it went perfectly fine other than taking a long time. They administer the first dose over a long period of time and check your blood pressure to make sure you don't have a reaction. Subsequent doses will go a little quicker. Once again, my sweet friend, Wendy joined me for the hours and hours of treatment and kept me occupied with Trivial Pursuit and lunch for the afternoon before Jake picked me up after work.
I'm having a rather annoying side effect called anticipatory nausea, which means I am nauseated as soon as I walk in the door of my doctor's office before any chemo is given. This is due to my prior rounds of chemo in 2002 and 2007 and, frankly, it is all in my head, but still very real and problematic. The good news is it is treatable with a wonderful drug called lorazapam, which I take before I arrive. The bad news is I need a ride home after taking lorazapam because I can't drive. Lucky for me, our dear friends, Nate and Luanne, have given me keys to their place, which is a couple blocks away where I can comfortably hang out until Jake gets off work to drive me home.
Okay, I've rambled enough for now. Thanks again to everyone for your love, support and the amazing meals, which are a huge help. We appreciate it so much!