Answers, finally

Trader Joes has brightened my life and is now selling the above decadent cookies. They’re vegan (I can’t eat milk so I tend towards vegan desserts) and the lemon was quite good. Chocolate was Sydney’s favorite. Yum.

Anyway, scans finished, and I now have the results. Everything was clear, thank goodness. They saw exactly what we expected – a large mass in my right breast and some more cancer in auxiliary lymph nodes – and no cancer anywhere else. My heart was also healthy enough for chemotherapy.

On Tuesday I went in to have a clip placed in the biopsied lymph node, and also got the results of my genetic testing. I’m BRCA2+ so we now have some answers as to why I got breast cancer. On the other hand, this means everyone else on the side of the family that this mutation came from is at risk of having the same mutation, and also means I’m at risk for other cancers. This page talks more about BRCA2.

Because that appointment wasn’t emotional enough, the surgeon’s office also told me that my insurance is claiming that they don’t cover my biopsy. I guess having to deal with all this cancer stuff isn’t bad enough, now I have to add in insurance issues. Wheeeee. I’m sure it’ll all get resolved – I’ve already called Blue Shield and I think they’re actually going to fix it without me nagging them – so I’m choosing to not stress for now.

Then next up was my first dose of chemotherapy. Check out this lovely shot of me high, hahaha!!

I’ll be doing four doses of the first type of chemotherapy, then 12 doses of the second. The first type is a mix of two drugs – Adriamycin (also known as doxorubicin) then the other kind is cyclophosphamide (try saying that five times fast!) Dose one was yesterday, and I’m now at home basically waiting for side effects to start.

Nausea started hitting around 4-5pm yesterday and is steadily getting worse today, so I’m expecting that tomorrow and Saturday will be rough. On the positive side, I’ll be going in for fluids tomorrow and they can give me more anti nausea meds via IV. (I am also taking two different meds as needed at home, too.)

I also have this really nifty arm device that holds a med called Neulasta:

temporarily bionic woman!

This medication will start injecting around 4pm tonight and then will go into me over…I think it was over one and a half hours but as evidenced by the picture of me in the infusion chair, I was a bit high, so you know. Either way I know I can take it off around 7pm tonight and it’s going to help encourage my white blood cells to come back up.

It’s a pretty new device and apparently giving it for chemotherapy regimes that it is an option for has helped the infection rate of patients on chemotherapy go down. So I’m happy to qualify for it and I hope it helps. I’ll only get it during my first four doses – the last twelve aren’t a chemo that they give it during.

The one downside is that apparently it comes with its own set of side effects, such as bone pain, but alternating Advil and Tylenol around the clock and also doing Claritin helps. I’ve already started the Claritin as that’s pretty innocuous and if I start feeling bone pain, I’ll go ahead and start the other pain meds, too.

So that’s pretty much the past week! Hopefully I won’t get too sick during this round, but we will see. They can’t predict exactly how sick I’ll get from chemo until I go through the entire chemo process, so I basically feel like a big science experiment right now… 😀

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