I completed my fourth round of chemo today and as of right now I have no more treatments scheduled, which is kind of a cool feeling (that will change on 4/28). This was my 24th treatment (we consider six treatments a "round" since I have to take a week off every six treatments) and I still feel good, overall. We went to Myrtle Beach this week and had a great time….just basically relaxed on the beach/balcony and ate a lot and had a much needed rest, away from all the troubles back home (ok…only one trouble, the cancer). It was really great to get away for a few days and have nothing to worry about other than where to get "all you can eat" crab legs.
We're off to Boston next week as I will get another heart MRI (almost two hours in the MRI coffin, I need two Xanax for that), a full body PET/CT scan and talk to Dr. Butrynksi and Dr. Shakar (my oncologist and surgeon respectively). Everyone in my family has been trying to "guess" what will be next…another 6 or 12 weeks of chemotherapy or my surgery and I honestly can't decide what to hope for, so I will just hope for clean scans. I am thinking that if they opt for surgery it will happen that week, so that's kind of scary.
Since there is a good chance they will order another round or two of treatment I have to start thinking about some other things. We have begun to do some research on the long term effects of Taxol, and if it continues to work as well as it is, who knows how long I will be on it (could literally be years, I guess). Eventually, we are told, I will need bone marrow transplants as the Taxol will cause my bone marrow to stop producing blood cells. This can be problematic for long term chemotherapy patients (which I will be happy to be if that's what it takes!) and we are going to start looking into "harvesting" of my bone marrow for future transplant. People in my family can also get tested for compatibility, in case I ever need it from others. It doesn't hurt to be prepared, right?
Also, since I have been diagnosed, I have been given a bunch of books on cancer and survival. I've spent the last six months researching my specific cancer, treatment options, case studies, etc that I really haven't had time to read them, and I have decided that if I am going to continue on this road I have to start paying attention to what most of these books say. As we all know, there are many factors that will impact the outcome of this cancer…for six months I have been getting by on excellent medical care and an excellent attitude, both of which are extremely important and will go a long way in my survival. I also know that my general health is VERY important in my bodies ability to fight and handle treatment. I have to start focusing on my diet and exercise and how I can use those to my advantage. There are hundreds of books written on "cancer diets" and what foods and nutrients have been proven to help fight cancer cells and maintain a healthy immune system. I have gained 30+ pounds since this ordeal started (and I love blaming it on the steroids I am on) and I have to focus on getting that weight off (and then some!). So we are going to start paying more attention to that. I have been given 10 different books on this topic (or other topics including faith/religion, attitude, etc) and I am going to read them all over the next couple of months, including a couple others I have found. The bottom line is, I need a better "plan" that addresses every aspect of my life that can impact the outcome of this…whether that outcome is good or bad, I know I can impact it and I have to do everything I can…once again, it's all about what I can control and I know there are some things I have been ignoring.
I want to thank everyone who continues to support me. I feel great about reaching the six-month anniversary of my diagnosis (that was April 12th) and I know I couldn’t have done it without all my family and friends. Shana and I are so filled with gratitude and I feel very confident when I say that I don't think I would be where I am right now (winning) without ALL the support we have received. We have some amazing people in our lives, hundreds of them, and I want you all to know how much it and you mean to me. I love all the comments on the blog, the emails, the texts, the cards, the calls…it doesn’t seem to stop and the encouragement and concern of everyone means the world to me. Also, the Heart Walk is tomorrow and THANKS so much to everyone who contributed to help us reach (and exceed) our goal. I have sent some thank-yous and have some more to write…but thanks, thanks, thanks!