On the 16th of March I received my 2nd infusion of maintenance chemotherapy (Alimpta) at UCSF. I also had my standard blood tests and check up with the doctor. Since my infusion I have felt good and have been able to do most things. Our hope is that I will be on this maintenance chemo for a long period of time so I am choosing to “enjoy” the infusion and the symptoms associated with it. I am still learning about those symptoms, which for the most part are much nicer than the full chemo!
The basic side effects thus far are fatigue, swollen face, runny nose, and sometimes some weird tastes in my mouth and stomach. To me, this sounds like a normal existence so honestly nothing to worry about. A friend (that is 75 years old) asked me how I was feeling so I shared some of the above with him and he said, “when you are over 70 you feel that way every day!” I got a good chuckle and perspective out of his comments!
The way my mind works is that I kind of don’t want to know the potential side effects, because I don’t want to be overly sensitive to them and at the same time I want to be somewhat aware. I am finding it is an interesting mind game and exercise to listen to your body and play for the long haul by doing the right things but not over rotating to be too sensitive.
On March 7-9, I go to UCSF for another maintenance chemo infusion and more tests including a CT Scan to see if my cancer has grown/decreased/stable. As I have previously mentioned, we hope for stability or decrease. It is an interesting world, because every 6 weeks I get a reading on how I am doing and that determines what happens over the next period of time-if stable--status quo, if growth--then a new set of actions and decisions will be necessary to figure out. I laughed with another friend, “maybe I will set goals that are achievable in a 6 week window!”
Over the last 6 weeks, I have met with several doctors to explore the potential alternatives should my Tumor (how they refer to my cancer) grow. There are different schools of thought and as I have mentioned new research on a monthly basis to track. I have determined that keeping track of all the changes would drive me crazy and would be a full time job, but that keeping my relationships with these doctors up is key so that if need be we can within a short period of time make an action plan. The current plan would be some type of immunotherapy or some kind of treatment associated with my Her2 Mutation. Location for all of this would be TBD.
Of course I hope that I will not need to explore these treatment options for a long period of time, but I do want to be prepared should it be necessary. The doctors have told me that at some point the tumor will grow back. As much as I don’t want to believe this, I guess they know what they are talking about, so if that time comes, I will be prepared.
One thing I have noticed is that my interest to do some of the things that I have done my entire life are shifting. For example, going out to dinner with people I don’t know and having to hold a conversation for a couple of hours is a draining experience for me. Many of you that are more introverted are probably saying, “no duh, I hate doing that!” Well, I have been one of those people that had no problem with that activity and found pleasure and excitement in it. I am learning to monitor my behaviors and it is challenging because I think a certain way and we know thoughts precede the actions. We shall see what evolves over time! ☺
I so appreciate the love and outreach and notes from all of you and just the thoughts alone I know send energy to me! You have made me stronger, made me push forward, and I can’t thank you enough for all your prayers and positive energy!
The doctors have been surprised by how well I am doing and that I am returning to “normal” activities. I told them I don’t have a choice, with so many people cheering for me in their own ways, I must rise up and beat this cancer! So it shall be done. True love and appreciation is the source of all power and gives all of us the ability to get thru lives trials and obstacles. I have much love that needs to be returned and shared with others that I really look forward to the future!