Last week was a challenge. I seemed to have one step forward and two steps backward; it would have been better to stay still in one place the whole week. I think the last few months were just getting to me. Since April 19 and the diagnosis, life has been an emotional roller coaster. And it does feel like a LOT all of a sudden.
Also, I was dreading goingto the oncology appointment on Thursday. In the end, I went on my own as I thought that was just easier…
The oncologist – Kate – was very thorough and helpful. She informed me that the tumour was HER2+ which means it is more aggressive. That sucks as it means that…we do need to be safe not sorry in the approach. So the oncologist recommended three months of chemotherapy – called CMF – plus a year of Herceptin.
Obviously, this is not how I saw my year heading AND I have always said, I would never do chemo again as the last experience was so awful (coupled with the fact that I still have some of the side effects from last time e.g. nerve damage). However, as JB says, Never Say Never. After a headache, many tears and a bit of depression, I must say that I don’t want to do chemo again. But that does not mean that I don’t need it. After looking at a logical criteria for decision making, my main deciding factor is that I don’t want a regret. i.e. in five years time, if the cancer came back, I would really regret not having done chemo.
Kate said that CMF would be milder than the last lot of chemo drugs I had – AC plus Dosetaxel. I will not feel as sick or lose my hair. She also said that if it affected me too much, I could stop after one treatment and just do the Herceptin (though there is not much research on the Herceptin-only regime).
It is only 12 weeks I have to conclude. Four treatments each 21 days and that is only 84 days. With that in mind, I now want it over and done with as quickly as possible so I can have that side of things finished by Xmas.
The year of Herceptin is another matter entirely. It only takes half an hour to administer and is generally easily tolerated i.e. for me, just a dull headache and tiredness. The issue of finding veins is quite problematic too as…I don’t have many good ones. It makes things harder than need be but is really common on this side of the cancer journey. All the blood tests and needles just cause so many issues.
So all of this stuff leaves me in another dilemma – work. So what will I do. Last time, I worked as much as I could during chemo and said I wouldn’t do that again. So I guess I will take that time off but how I support myself financially is another question and for another week…I just don’t know yet.
It has been an awful few days but I begrudgingly have to admit that things could be worse and that many people do have things a lot worse. However, I still am not okay about all of this and this is the challenge over the next weeks. Not that anyone is ever happy to do chemo but the goal is to be at peace with it at least.
Thanks to all the friends and family who’ve assisted me through this decision making journey.