Today's chemotherapy session has started. Shane and I are here on the 7th floor in the Center for Health and Healing at the Knight Cancer Institute, both plugged into our laptops. Shane is supposed to be working on his paper, and I'm supposed to be working on work...I think neither of us are completing the task at hand. There's a lot of beeping and movement in the chemo room - but there is also a sense of calmness that is brought about by the knowledge and integrity of this place. The nurses and staff here never forget your name, or your spouses name, or the reason why you are here. Without looking at your chart they can tell you what's gone wrong with your treatments, whats gone right, and how many dogs you have waiting at home for you. These people are amazing...and for the life of me I can't seem to remember their names have the week to week. I guess this is why they are the medical staff here and I am just the patient. Hopefully, you will never have the honor of meeting these people who make coming to the chemo room so much easier, but if you do I promise you are in amazing hands!
We checked in with Dr. Luoh this morning, went through my typical "I think the cancer has metastasized" concerns and got the go ahead for treatment. After the next chemo cycle I will have another Mugga scan to make sure that my heart is holding up to the herceptin infusions.
My sickness hasn't been overwhelming, however Tuesday I came down with either the flu or food poisoning and had to be driven home from work. I threw up most of the day on Tuesday (in addition to severe diarrhea) and was finally able to keep down an anti nausea pill long enough to get the vomiting under control. While painful, my doctors are pretty sure that the bout with nausea was unrelated the chemotherapy and more than likely tied to the box of cherry tomatoes that I ate about 1/2 an hour before getting sick. My coworker LouAnn indicated that she thought I had taken them out of the kitchen to throw them away - so they must not have looked as appetizing to everyone else as they did to me! Regardless, by Wednesday morning I was feeling like myself again and today I was well enough to have my chemo and herceptin! Thanking God that I'm able to get the infusion on time and in full strength!!
Speaking of strength, In the past few weeks I have met several women at WOU who also have had breast cancer or are currently in the fight. Interestingly, all of these women were diagnosed with the HER-2 oncogene. I'm starting to think there is something in the water at Western that is causing this overproduction of HER2 cells! Regardless, I am comforted by the fact that these women have gone through the treatment and are doing well in their lives! Its very inspiring to know that there is so much hope for us out there.
On the same note, as October has worn down and it is no longer Breast Cancer awareness month, I hope that people don't forget to donate to these organizations who are seeking to find the cure and that people don't forget to have a mammogram or check themselves for changes. I found it so inspiring to have so many people focused on breast cancer for the month. I know many women with breast cancer are turned off by the month of October, but I, for one, think that this kind of attention is going to get the funding necessary for us to beat this thing!
Sending all of our love and thanks for everything!
Heather & Shane