Friday, June 29, 2012

Nearly at the Finish Line

Ugghh… I’m sitting at my next-to-last chemo session, and just when I thought I could coast on through to the finish line, it’s another hurdle. The nurse accessed my port (meaning she stuck the metal hook needle through the rubber valve that’s implanted under the skin on my chest), and it hurt more than it ever had in the past. She said it was probably just scar tissue from accessing it 15 times in the same exact place. But the pain got so bad that it was going down my arm to my elbow. I started getting light headed, sweating, the color all drained out of my face, and I almost passed out. Good thing I was in a big comfy chair in the infusion room! So, the nurse talked to my oncologist and she said to start an IV to my arm, because something could have bumped my port and put it up against a nerve, or it might just be in the wrong position now, so we shouldn’t use it to give the harsh chemo drugs if it’s hurting so badly. Then of course my arm was not cooperating for the IV there, so she had to find another place for the IV in the inside of my elbow and stick me again, but having it there means I have to keep my arm straight the whole time I’m here today. Whatever it takes! The pain is starting to go away now, and of course I’ve found away to type on my laptop with my arms straight out and the computer sitting far away on my lap. But at least I’m now receiving my meds, and I can check one more chemo treatment off the list. YAY. I will also have to get another IV in my arm next week – but I do NOT care at this point – let’s do it, because that will be my LAST treatment!!! (It’s actually been quite dramatic in the infusion room today, with the lady next to me puking into a bag and not able to even sit up without moaning – they are sending her to be checked into the hospital. I guess there is always someone worse off than you, and always someone better.)

Speaking of that, it’s also a little scary to me that after next week, I will no longer be actively "fighting" anymore (i.e. receiving treatment). I’ve tried to stay positive and remember how much chemo has helped my chances that the cancer will not return. If there is one little breast cancer cell left anywhere in my body, hopefully the chemo is zapping it! But nothing is 100%. My oncologist (Dr. McIntyre) said that when this is over, I will have a 15-20% chance of recurrence. That’s almost as low as any women on the street (1 in 8). And the farther out I get from this – after 1 year, then 2 years, then 5 years especially, my chances are lower and lower that it will return – the bad cells will have most likely died. I will be put on Tamoxifin for 5 years (an estrogen blocker), which will help. I am still waiting to find out whether I’m a candidate for the vaccine trial. I am definitely a worrier and a planner, and I know that it will always be in the back of my mind, and that every little ache and pain will be a concern – is the cancer back? Has it spread to other organs? But I am going to do my best to remember that I have done everything in my power to prevent that, and I need to go forward, appreciating each and every day that I am given, and live life to the fullest. I am so grateful for my husband, daughter, family, and friends who have supported me so much during this process, I feel like I will never be able to repay you all. It is almost my turn to go back to the other side – the side where I get to feel better and help others going through difficult times, which is so much more fulfilling than being on the receiving end. I’m excited to see the finish line coming so soon, even though I know it’s just the beginning of a whole new race. Having this chapter behind me will be such a relief though!
Charlize Theron: before and after
she copied my hairdo
One last thought before I leave you: I heard through the grapevine that Charlize Theron saw my hair that's growing in, and cut hers so that she has my same hairdo! Isn't that so sweet of her? I searched online and it's true - she has copied me! Check it out.

And now for the quote of the day:
You won't realize the distance you've walked until you take a look around and realize how far you've been.
Have a good weekend everybody!


Anonymous said...

Glad you're finally coming to the end of chemo. But sorry you had such troubles today. Much love to you, Stella and Ben. Keep on keepin' on. You're fighting the good fight and you will win!

Kristi Froehlich said...

That was from me. Sorry, didn't mean to be anonymous! LOL.

Alli Parkey said...

Thanks Kristi! (And thanks for letting me know it was you!) Hope you are doing well - have a great 4th!

Erin Rettig said...

Wow!! You are sooo close now! You must be so excited. My mom has had quite a few set backs so although she started about 1.5 weeks after you she still has 5 more sessions to go. :o( I hope once all the chemo is out of your system you can get back to feeling great and enjoying life. You deserve it!