Today was my visit with my medical oncologist and setting up the next round of chemo, which will start Thursday (the day that is, by the way, my sister’s 50th birthday). He told me I could have chemo today, but I wasn’t prepared for that. I want a couple more days to enjoy, plus I want to have some company while I’m having chemo. The first infusion with a new drug goes more slowly – it takes about three hours when the next times will be just two. This round isn’t supposed to be as tough as the last one, but I’ve learned that medical treatments are unpredictable. Once again, I’m trying not to have expectations and instead to be in the moment with whatever it brings.
Like last time, I’ll have four chemo treatments, one every two weeks. That should put my next one on the 29th. Next week I see a radiation oncologist about that treatment. Because my nodes were clear, my medical oncologist had some question as to whether radiation will be necessary. Or at least that’s what I understood today. That’s the first I’ve heard that radiation might not be a part of my treatment. Next week I’ll hear the radiation oncologist’s opinion and make a decision after that.
So far the experts’ recommendations have served me well, and I expect that that will continue. I can do lots of online research (though I really haven’t done much), but that doesn’t put me in the category of those trained and experienced in the treatment of cancer. Plus I’ll continue to follow my intuition as to whether what I’m told makes sense and resonates with me.
I’m still sore from the surgery. And I’m more sore where the surgeon removed the nodes than in my breast where he removed the tumor and some tissue. That’s exactly what everyone who has had that surgery told me would be the case. Taking ibuprofen helps the pain. Actually, neither incision hurts. . . until I move. And not every time I move. So it could be lots worse. And when I think about it, the fact that I had surgery just eight days ago and feel this well seems almost miraculous.
Speaking of miracles, what medicine can do is in that category. I’m starting to understand better why some people are drawn to medicine. To be able to effect a change from a cancerous tumor to no cancer is pretty powerful stuff. Of course, it’s not just one doctor or technician or nurse or pharmacist or support team member who did that. It was a vast team of people and machines and medicines – and needles – that did that. All of them working in conjunction with each other to rid my body of cancer. Pretty miraculous, don’t you think?
So now I’m enjoying a time before more chemo. My blood counts are good, and I feel stronger than in a long time. And I’m actually enjoying coffee again. I tried a cup at the Waffle House yesterday, and lo and behold, it tasted good! For at least two more mornings, I can have my ritual cup of coffee in the morning when I first get up. This may not last, depending on how the next chemo drug affects my taste buds. But for now, I can have that pleasure of a cup of coffee to start my day. Living in the moment means appreciating little gifts, one of which is the taste of coffee. And big gifts, too, like clear nodes and cancer-free tissue. Big and small gifts, all blessings.