Monday, June 4, 2012

Preliminary Optimism

Lab results, we are told, will not be available for about five business days. In the meantime, we wait. Worry. Wonder. But I had a little glimmer of information today and am really praying that it is truly about MY pathology results and not someone else, by mistake.
I contacted my chemo doctor's office in order to see when we need to schedule the next appointment. Since they are in Nashville, we have tried to get appointments with more than one doctor at a time if needed. In this case, I wasn't even sure we would need to see her until the first chemo appointment.
I've agreed to participate in a clinical trial and there is some paperwork and other preliminary testing that they are going to schedule next week when we are scheduled to follow-up with the surgeon. The trial means that I may receive an additional drug in combination with the other chemo drugs that will be used to treat my particular situation. This additional drug has something to do specifically with the fact that my original tumor was HER2 positive. I will receive Herceptin (a drug that targets the HER2 receptors) for a year and I might receive an additional drug when I get the Herceptin. Of course, since it is a trial, we won't know that I actually get the real drug or a placebo.
Due to the conversations with the RN handling my clinical trial paperwork and then a message with the chemo doctor, it sounds like there was no other cancer detected in the other nodes. Woo hoo! I would really be jumping around if this news came from my surgeon, so I'm being cautiously optimistic.
And as a result of talking with the chemo dr and the RN, it looks like my chemo will begin on June 26 or 27. They were working to schedule the appointment and will confirm with me (hopefully tomorrow).
So there it is.....June 26th or June 27th......the first day of chemo. My brain says "He** yes! Let's start kicking some cancer booty!" But my body says "Ugh. Can we just rest for a little while longer?" And I think my heart is just terrified of chemo altogether. I know that once I start the chemo, I will begin to "look" sick. It will be much more obvious. And that is a hard pill to swallow. I love to shower every day and put on makeup (even if I suck at it), get dressed, dry my hair and just feel like I'm ready to get going for the day. I dread looking in the mirror as more things change. I absolutely fear the image I will see looking back at me once my hair is gone. It is doubtful that there is anything that will really prepare me emotionally for that particular event, except to keep telling myself that the drugs are doing their job on the cancer when I look worse. These drugs are ultimately going to make the difference for me and I have got to recognize that I need to feel good about looking like crap. Chemo is going to attack everything, good and bad, so it won't be pretty (although I have heard that you sometimes end up with beautiful skin during the process) but I'm determined that it is going to be effective.
And right now, I need to rejoice that it appears the cancer had not spread beyond that one little lymph node! Happy Monday!

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