On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Contemplating the future

Steve walked the dogs 4-1/2 miles today and I spent the day on the sofa.  That's the difference in energy levels this weekend.  If next Friday's infusion of Taxotere is indeed the Very Last One, I'm hoping just the knowledge of that will encourage me to buck up and get through the aftermath with more activity than I've managed in the precious cycles.  I am truly longing to be done with chemotherapy.

I had a long conversation with my primary care provider yesterday.  I was explaining that last August I had a CT scan that showed nothing.  All my blood tests fell in normal range.  On paper it looked like I was still in remission and quite healthy.  Shortly thereafter things fell apart. Tumors were growing and visible on the next scan. Treatment followed.

Fast forward to the present.  I have never been so unhealthy.  I have a compromised immune system, am anemic and I'm coming out of renal failure. Many of my blood values are wonky.

When I look forward to completing chemotherapy I also look forward to recovery from all the toxicity from the chemotherapy.  I see it as a two step process.  First I need to get back to last August's levels where everything looked good on paper.  But now I know that those values weren't good enough and trouble was lurking.  In order to maintain a long remission this time I have to not only have optimum health but super-duper health, above and beyond what passes for normal in less compromised people.

She seemed to understand and expressed willingness to work with me in developing a health plan using supplements, nutrition (she referred me back to the dietician) and lifestyle changes (exercise, meditation).  Her only caution is that I might not feel well at the end of the 21-day chemotherapy cycle, even if it is the last one.  She suggested three stages - recovery from the cycle, then recovery from the chemotherapy to reach last summer's norms and then the above-and-beyond goals.

Having only a daily pill between me and a recurrence is a scary thing to consider.  I am highly motivated to pitch in this time and do more of the work to stay healthy.  I never want to go back to chemotherapy again!


  1. I can't even begin to imagine how chemo must make you feel. I have chronic migraines and I get sooooo tired of feeling headachey all the time. Often it makes me sleepy and sometimes nauseated. I imagine how I fell times 100 - so sorry. I do hope you feel better after this last round and that your recovery will be speedy.

  2. Hi Patty - Well, it depends. Some chemo regimens aren't that bad. In fact, 10 years ago I had this same one and found it easy compared to the chemo that had just failed. But not that I'm ten years older and had many more cycles of this one I can really feel the difference. Just one more!


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