Monday, December 16, 2013

Gramps has his purple bags ready to deliver

A little fun with Andy Warhol! Ready for #6

Back in July it was difficult to envision December; shoot, it was difficult to envision August! And yet, here we are, on the precipice of the last chemotherapy treatment. Wow. 
Not going lie: #5 was the roughest one, so I am hoping to be buoyed by the 'last one' mantra through #6. As my good friend Merideth said, "when you start to feel better, you can look forward to continuing to feel better." You see, that is the cruelty of chemo: the week of treatment you prepare yourself to feel lousy. The week after you are tired and have some symptoms/side effects. The third week you feel almost back to normal, until you realize you have to repeat this madness again. Happily, that won't be the case after December. 
Yes, there is still radiation treatment. That will consist of 15 minutes a day, for 33 consecutive days. From what I have been told, the key to maintaining normalcy through radiation is hydrate and rest due to the fatigue. My sweet girl, Becca, who has been through radiation, has gifted me with all the necessary items and stories to get through radiation and come out the other side stronger. 
The Herceptin antibody will also continue. Due to pathology results (very clinical, but suffice it to say that I am HER2 positive, therefore, Herceptin for 52 weeks); so it appears the Herceptin antibody will be administered until the beginning of September 2014. It will be the same 'every three weeks' regimen as the chemotherapy, but without the chemo side effects/symptoms afterward. 
Today, we had our 6 month check up with the surgeon, Dr. Revesz. She was pleased with my progress, laughed at my silly jokes, and was encouraging me along the way. She even stated that I am 'clinically cancer free', and that the treatments thus far, and additional treatments to come, are adjuvant therapy (preventive in nature so as to head off recurrence). I adore Dr. R for her professionalism and honesty. She is straight-forward and clinical, but also personable and thorough. 
Wednesday, I will have my last Neulasta shot (booster shot for white blood cell production--it is the one that initially caused bone pain). Nurse Teri always warms it up for me before it is administered since most of the time it is kept in the refrigerator. Thursday, we meet with Dr. Kosmo, my chemo oncologist. He is a sweet sweet man who always gives me a hug when I arrive, and asks for a hug before I leave. Last time we met we talked about apps for the iPhone, and then, oh yeah-treatment. 
The goal this time is to feel better by Tuesday, Dec. 24 so Art and I can celebrate our anniversary at Vintana. We have a reservation and I have every intention of keeping it!! 
In January, the plan is to return to work. I really miss my students and colleagues and the intellectual stimulation of working. It's not like the past 9 weeks has been a vacation! Oy vey-far from it. 
Every time I write, I use the plural pronoun 'we' because my amazing, heroic, loyal husband has been by my side for everything. It has not been easy on him either. I am beginning to dislike the word 'journey', but along the way, he has held my hand, and listened to me sob, and planned out of town trips just to make me smile or let me know I am loved. He is a GOOD man and we are a partnership in the truest sense of the word. Whenever I felt like giving up or giving in, I was reminded how much there is to live for, preeminently, my husband! 
All of you have also been on this 'journey' with me, and I have met women who continue to amaze and inspire me. It's a sisterhood, a club, a society to which I now belong. It is what it is. 
As my dear friend Lane always says, "Keep on trucking home girl. Tough times pass. Tough people persist." 
The depth of my gratitude for your love, prayers, encouragement, support, good karma, positive energy, and major vibes is immeasurable. Thank you so much for all of it and more. Special thanks to my granddaughter Abby. This little lady has a servant's heart and the compassion to rival all others. Her Purple Bag Project has already touched so many lives, provided small world stories, and created relationships (or reconnected relationships) in some of the most unlikely places. This is a girl who has already changed the world and I have every intention of seeing her grow up to continue to do so. Thank you Blake and Lizz for parenting her and loving her and teaching her these invaluable lessons. 
See ya on the flip side.
Love and many hugs xoxo,