February 10, 2010

five cycles = DONE!

well, folks, we're closing in on the last and final cycle! and, i'm excited to report that this treatment was far less eventful than the last one! so, here are a few updates...

i saw my oncologist, who really didn't have much to say aside from telling me how well i'm holding up and reminding me that i'm almost there. he also said my blood looked 'perfect'. it's, of course, not perfect for someone who isn't in treatment, but it's really nice to know that after going through four and a half months of treatment that my red blood cells and platelets are holding tough. my white blood cells are taking a little bit of a hit (which is totally expected), but my overall white blood count was within normal range, so that's a good sign. i also told him that i needed a little motivation, and asked him to show me my chest x-ray and give me a 'pep talk' about how treatment was working. he laughed a little, and told me that he would do whatever he had to do to help me get through these last ones. so, he pulled up my pre-treatment chest x-ray and compared it to the one i had two treatments ago. he pointed out the difference (which doesn't need much pointing out...anyone could see the change), and said "looking at this from the front, it could easily be missed". he said it's when you look at the side view that you could see there's something going on that shouldn't be there. however, it's such a dramatic improvement, and he reiterated how it's a really good sign, and he's very happy with the way things are going. he's a great doctor, and i so appreciate him taking the time to give me a 'pep talk'...it really helps to get through the tough days knowing that what i have to go through isn't without purpose. it still sucks, but mentally i can tough it out a lot better knowing that the physical crap is just something i have to get through to get better.

treatment itself was uneventful. no crazy chills, no instant nausea, no headaches. and, i can't say anything else without giving serious credit to the most amazing nurse in the entire world...jenny. she's been with me since day one, and seen every single part of this with me - the good, bad, and the ugly (often really ugly). i wouldn't make it through any of this without her. she's seen me go through treatments relatively easily, and recently, she's seen me have a really hard time. i'm a little stubborn about taking medications (never in my life have i taken more than tylenol...and i even fight that). however, jenny was somehow able to break through my stubborness (it took her several months), and got me to take ativan yesterday during my treatment. i had a little bit of my normal queasy feeling, but i have had no nausea yet...which is a serious improvement from last time, when i couldn't even get out of bed. i've eaten meals normally since i came home, slept well, and now i'm sitting up typing this. i told her she was allowed to say 'i told you so', and not too long later, i got it...in big letters 'TOLD YOU SO'. she earned it. she earned every little bit of throwing it in my face that she was right and i should have listened to her. and, you know what? i don't know of many people who wouldn't totally piss me off if they said 'i told you so'. she will forever have a place in my heart as the one who really pulled me through the hardest thing i've ever had to do. every single day i think of how thankful i am that i 'landed' in her chair on the first day of treatment...i can't imagine having to do this without her. i hope everyone is as lucky as i am to have a nurse, and a friend, like jenny.

so, here's to hoping this one is an 'easy' one. only two left after i get through this one...yay! and, many of you have been asking what's next. well, radiation. i was told yesterday that around the time i'd be going back for treatment i'll get started with the radiation team. we have to wait for my counts to return to normal (which shouldn't take too long), and then i have to go through scanning, mapping and all the planning. and, i have to go back to dana farber in boston for a radiation consult with one of the leading experts in hodge radiation. so, there will be lots to do once i finish up that last treatment...but i have to get there first! that light at the end of the tunnel is totally illuminated now!


  1. GREAT progress. One more huge step Grace! You really are almost there.

    Okay let me be sure I'm understanding this correctly- have you not been taking ANY meds (anivan, kytril, compozine, etc.) post chemo??

  2. no, no, no! i take emend in addition to the aloxi and decadron in the drip before the big drugs. i was taking zofran for break through nausea and it wasn't doing anything but giving me headaches...so, i finally tried ativan, and it's currently performing miracles.

  3. Hi graceinmaine

    I am a total stranger, but I wanted to thank you for keeping this blog. It looks like we are on the same schedule to almost the day! I just finished my fifth cycle today. I never really got on support group sites or looked for blogs before, but recently I've had a craving for it. Reading what you've been going through..and me saying, hey! yes, that is how I've felt, or I had to do that, etc. It is kind of calming. So again, I thank you, and look forward to more postings!

    My blog is here if you ever want to go and check it out. www.evebralley.blogspot.com

    Happy healing!!

  4. You're a rockstar! So proud of you...and yes, Ativan is really something isn't it? Sending love always!