It’s been four weeks since my last chemotherapy treatment. I’m getting back to normal. Taste is returning, damaged fingernails are growing out and outward signs of the chemo are lessening. Even my hair has started to grow back. As Bob told his sister, “It’s almost measurable…” (So far it looks like it’s 99% white but I noticed some darker hair sneaking in recently, maybe it is just slower to recover.) My advice to someone who is going to have chemotherapy is to hang in there. There are plenty of days where you want to cry (and do) and want to quit chemo but by leaning on loved ones it’s doable.
At one doctor visit I found myself complaining about having to go through all this and still having odds that the cancer could return. (If I did nothing further than surgery in 10 years I have a 58% chance of no recurrence; with hormonal therapy it goes up to 72%; add in chemo and radiation up to 84% and then one more new drug will bring it up to 88%.) Seems like an awful lot of work to have no guarantee. Of course, the doctor then reminded me of the odds of not surviving things like gall bladder surgery or even pregnancy. While still not completely happy with the odds it was reassuring. If you know someone who is upset with the statistics given them remind them to hang in there. This is a fight worth fighting.
Today I have finished the first week of radiation therapy. So far this has been much easier and certainly faster. The only bad thing is that the treatments are five days a week. But the office is open early so I’m home before the kids are up. I was kind of hoping to start this therapy immediately following the chemo so that I’d be done sooner. The radiation doctor pretty much said no way, he wanted to let all the chemo drugs get out of my system. In the end a couple weeks won’t matter one way or the other. So Matthew and I spent our “free time” painting and cleaning out the spare bedroom. (It took the whole time as we would work a little while and then take a break–it will be nice to get back to full energy…) But back to the radiation therapy–I am scheduled for 33 treatments so barring any complications will finish the first week of June. The therapist gave me my whole schedule so I can mark each treatment off and continue a count down to better health.