I finished my chemo in mid-January, and over the past five weeks the side-effects have slowly left. At this point, I still get the odd, metal taste in my mouth, but it isn’t as strong and it isn’t constant. I am also still battling swelling in my legs from water retention, and, while the majority of the muscle cramps have gone away, I still have a lot of hip pain. Now, please don’t think that I’m complaining, I’m not. I feel very blessed that the side-effects weren’t as bad as some people get. All and all, I am feeling a lot better and, after a blood transfusion, a lot more energetic. One funny thing – my eyebrows and eyelashes did great, at least until my last chemo and then they both decided to noticeably thin. I’m not sure why, but I do find the timing funny.
So that’s the update as to where I am in my treatment. I’m grateful to God that He provided me with so much strength to get through it. I’m glad that I entered chemo much more physically fit then I’ve been for probably 20 years. Other than taking off for doctor appointments and actual treatment, I haven’t had to miss any work.
One thing about my chemo, I didn’t receive it because the cancer had spread. I received it to help keep it from spreading. My lymph nodes were clear when I had my first surgery. However, my tumor came back with the protein HER2, which meant a 1 in 4 chance of a distal recurrence. To treat for that I am receiving the drug Herceptin which is started with a round of chemo. While the chemo is done, I still go every three weeks for the infusion of Herceptin and that will continue through September. It, thankfully, does not have the side-effects of chemo. Doing this takes my odds of a distal recurrence to 1 in 10.
Next up I surgery, which is scheduled for this Wednesday. I am having a left-side mastectomy with immediate, two-stage, reconstruction. The surgery is expected to last 3 hours, 1 for the mastectomy and 2 for the reconstruction and it will involve 2 surgeons, a surgical oncologist and a plastic surgeon. I have no clue what to expect. I’m a little nervous, except when I’m really nervous. Jim has had to deal with a few breakdowns. The Lord has been gracious though and the verse that I keep focusing on his Psalm 23:4:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for though art with my; thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me.