Today is the Tuesday before my next chemo- number 3 of 6- which is the day I always meet with my oncologist to go over the blood work I have done the day prior, discuss how the last round went, and then hopefully get the OK to have the next round.
I was a little nervous for this one- because I already knew some of my labs were off. My liver enzymes were slightly elevated and my hemoglobin was low. My white blood cell count was slightly low. I was fairly positive that all this is still “normal” for being on chemo- but I had a nagging feeling of “what if” I cannot get my chemo this week?
I do NOT want to delay my treatments.
When I got there they weighed me (I gained back the couple pounds I lost the first round- I expected it. I was hungry this round!) and my blood pressure was high (as always) but lower than my usual high (ha) and my pulse was fast- my usual white coat syndrome vitals. So my “normal.”
My oncologist came in and we discussed how well my second round went. He was again so impressed in how my body is tolerating it. I do have some mild neuropathy in my two big toes (the very tips are numb) and he had already recommended some supplements to take- I just haven’t started them yet. If it gets worse- i.e. painful- there are medications I can take but for now it’s just annoying.
We discussed my labs which as I hoped- were all “normal” for chemo. My hemoglobin got hit twice though- originally it dropped from a heavy menstrual cycle between cycle 1 & 2- and then it got hit from chemo. So I am anemic which explains why I’ve felt a bit more tired the last week. He’s recommending iron to help with this but overall I am good to go for round 3!
My doc wanted to give me a quick exam so he checked me out and asked if he could measure the tumor. So he gets out his measuring tape and went to find Carl.
Except, he couldn’t.
He couldn’t find the tumor at all. He couldn’t fine ANY lumps in my breast- at all.
I want to remind you all that Carl was 4.5 cm per my ultrasound exam the day of my biopsies. A week later, he was measured on the outside between 6-7 cm (so including fat and skin around it). It took another 3 weeks for me to start chemo and it grew a lot the week of my period (thanks hormones)- and another lump popped up that week also. Most of the top inner part of my breast was hard from the two masses.
Then 3 weeks ago my doc measured Carl at 3cm (including the skin/fat) which was over 50% smaller from his last measurement and then the other lump was around a cm.
And today- he could find nothing.
His exact words were “This is a miracle response.”
He said this isn’t typical. He was absolutely amazed and THRILLED.
In addition- the lymph node that was 3.5 cm at the time of my biopsy is down to about a cm.
Miracle response, people. I kicked Carl’s ass quicker than expected.
So what now? I continue the course of treatment- which is 4 more rounds of TCHP, and then surgery, possibly radiation, and then continue the targeted treatment to the year mark.
Surgery- people have asked me about this. I don’t know exactly what my surgical options will be now that Carl is gone. Originally- a mastectomy was required. When tumors shrink sometimes lumpectomies can be an option. Then there is the little detail of preventing a recurrence and determining the best surgical options to reduce my chances (I’m being sarcastic- this is the biggest detail). Then- I need to decide about reconstruction if a mastectomy is the best way to go. It is a LOT for me to research and figure out over the next few months. My surgery is slated to be in April most likely.
So this Thursday is round 3! I am weirdly excited…I can’t wait to be done so I can say I am HALF WAY DONE!!!!
And I’ll be wearing this…..
Thanks again for all of your thoughts, prayers, good vibes, gifts, check-ins, offers to help, etc. We continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude.