Back to work

My first day back to work is in the books. I’m feeling a little tired, but it’s normal “I just got done working” tired instead of “I need to take a seven hour nap to recuperate” tired, so I call that good. Hope you all had a great Monday!

There’s an echo in here

Getting ready for another echocardiogram, my third this year. Trastuzumab can be rough on the ole ticker, so they like to take a peek at it every few months.

I did some Google research on the process this morning and still don’t understand much about it, but I trust the dudes who went to school for years to do their job correctly. Because that’s how being a patient works. Just saying.

Reasons to smile

The appointment with my oncologist went extremely well today. My tumors have shrunk by nearly 50%! Because my side effects are currently manageable we’re a go to continue with the immunotherapy and estrogen blocker to see how much more we can shrink those fuckers down. I have been given the okay to return to work at the end of the month AND to get a tattoo! Lots of reasons to smile!

Small steps

Today will mark my first time behind the wheel since March. That’s right, I’m feeling well enough to drive to physical therapy. I’ve also been painting a dresser for the spare room and cooking suppers for the past week or so. Sometimes small steps feel gigantic.

BCRF Donation receipt

A few months ago I announced that all profits made from Waiting For Spring would be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation going forward. I just got my May royalty statement and was able to donate $100 for all the copies sold so far this year. Thank you to everyone who bought a copy so far in 2021!

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy (or another copy…books make fabulous gifts!) here’s the link.

New meds and lip syncing

Today I start taking Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker, as part of my cancer treatment. My cancer is estrogen receptor positive, which means it needs estrogen to grow. Tamoxifen attaches to the hormone receptors in the cancer cells and blocks estrogen from attaching to them. If I was a sports fan I’d use a football analogy here, but since I’m not here’s what I’ll say:

We’re starving the motherfuckers.

As with any medication, Tamoxifen has side effects. We’re trying to make my body do something it doesn’t wanna and, like any toddler, it’s gonna throw a tantrum. I’m nervous about this, of course, especially since I’m coming off of a really good week, side effect-wise. But I’ve done tons of research (anyone who knows me can picture the copious notes I’ve got stored on my laptop) and have had several frank discussions with my care team and decided that it’s worth the risk. I’m kind of addicted to being alive. That pretty much outweighs the cons at this point.

So I’ve decided to focus on what I consider to be the most interesting possible side effect: Change in singing voice. Since I currently have a horrible singing voice (don’t forget I was told to “feel free to lip sync” in a group of over 20 fellow cast mates) I believe things can only improve! Perhaps this year I really will release a Christmas album! I’ll keep you posted.

No more chemo!

I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday. She determined that we’ve got as much benefit from the chemotherapy drug (docetaxel) as we can compared with the havoc it’s wreaking on my body. She was particularly concerned with my level of exhaustion, significant weight loss due to nausea and vomiting (over 30 pounds since treatment began), neuropathy, and my poor old finger-and-toenails (they’ve finally started falling off…ugh). Although I was scheduled for 6 rounds of docetaxel, her ultimate goal was to get at least 4 rounds in me and we made it to 5. w00t!

This doesn’t mean treatment is done, though! I will still go in every three weeks for immunotherapy (pertuzumab and trastuzumab), but the side effects from those drugs aren’t generally as severe as those from the chemo. We’ll still have to monitor those side effects, naturally, to ensure that it really was the chemo causing the severity of my symptoms and not a combination of all the drugs. Additionally, in a couple of weeks I’ll start taking an estrogen blocker which will target the cancer cells that need estrogen to grow and spread (the dirty, thieving bastards).

I consider this good news (relatively speaking). My next set of scans will be in late July, which will tell us how the cancer has responded to treatment. I’m still very hopeful!

Steroid love

Clearly, I need more practice drawing in my eyebrows.

Feeling okay today, probably because of this being day three of my quadruple steroid regimen. I love me some steroids. In other news, the chemo has finally declared victory on my fingernails and toenails. They’ll be gone soon. I’m currently on a dose of antibiotics (Doxycycline) to ward off infection. (Odd book plug: Doxycycline features in a subplot of Waiting For Spring!)

In other-other news, my moms are going in today to get their second vaccine shots. Dan and I are fully vaccinated and my young’uns are pretty close to being the same. I’m looking forward to having my family all together soon!