Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Comes Next?

My last chemotherapy treatment!
Here I am one week past my LAST chemotherapy treatment. It is still hard to believe that I have finished 6 cycles, or 12 treatments of chemotherapy. I remember Easter weekend so vividly going for dinner at Kristen's right after my first treatment. The number 12 seemed so overwhelming and unattainable and here I am. Many of you have asked what happens next for me?

I had my PICC line removed from my arm the same day as my last treatment. It was a very quick procedure, painless and over quickly. It is so great not having to worry about having my line travel with me with every pull and stretch. The other reason it was so important to have the Picc line removed right away is that I have been diagnosed with "deep vein thrombosis" as I have a blood clot formed in my vein around the picc line. I have been taking daily Heparin injections in my stomach to prevent the clot from moving, more from forming and to manage it while the Picc line remains in my arm.

Yesterday, I had an ultrasound of my arm to check on the blood clot and determine next steps. The technician informed me that she was not able to locate a blood clot in my arm!! I am not sure whether she was supposed to tell me this, but she said it was good news. So I am waiting to hear from my oncologist to find out if this means that I can start weaning off the heparin injections. As I hate them!! I cannot wait to stop them!

During the next few weeks I will continue to recover from my last chemotherapy treatment. As I have mentioned previously, the treatments have been harder and harder to recover from. Knowing that next Monday I won't be having to go to the hospital for another treatment will really symbolize a new beginning of recovery for me. I return to the hospital on October 16th for a CT scan of my chest, neck, pelvis and abdomen to compare the CT scans taken before I started chemotherapy and the ones I had at 3 months. While I am nervous of the findings, I have to feel confident that they will show progress and improvement in the mass in my chest. I will also have a full bloodwork done as a major goal is for my blood levels to begin to return to normal. Particularly my white blood cell neutrophils which continue to hover around 0.1. My liver counts were also slightly elevated as well. I see Dr Stevens on October 22, and we will discuss what comes next. It has not been 100% confirmed that I won't need radiation therapy. While I try not to think about this possibility, I have to trust his judgement in making this final decision.

The beginning of my true recovery begins. My strength and energy levels are so weak right now. I continue to deal with mouth soreness, peeling gums, mild neuropathy in my toes (numbness and cold) and the feeling of achiness and fatigue. I long for increased strength and more days where I can begin to focus on my physical and mental recovery from chemotherapy and a cancer diagnosis. Learning how to live as a survivor is also going to be a huge journey ahead for me.

More amazing blog posts coming!! Our weekend of gratitude with our yurting friends at the Pinery and the question that everyone seems to want to know, When will I return to work?

No comments:

Post a Comment