February 5, 2011

Home Stretch

Good day/Bad day?: Meh.

Second to last treatment done. Now just dealing with the usual down-and-out weekend. Here comes the bone pain--the best description is like bad flu achy, but worse.

I had acupuncture Thursday, which was nice. She used a word that sums up how I feel most of the time these days--deficient. Not like every day is bad, just like there's something missing or low.

Saw the MD before treatment and talked about the "after". The plan is to see her in a month, then every 3-4 mos for 2 yrs. They don't do blood tests or scans or anything unless symptoms warrant. Makes sense. I have a consult with radiation oncology on Monday--I will hear them out but don't think it will benefit my situation much. What else? I will get my PICC line pulled the same day as my last treatment. They went down on the taxol dose to hopefully keep the neuropathy from getting worse. Oh, and she said that with the triple negative cancer I have, the biggest risk of recurrence is in the first 3-4 yrs, so if I get to 5 yrs without cancer they would use the "C" word ("cured"). Kind of a mixed bag and could put me on edge a little before I get to 5 yrs... There is another clinical trial or 2 that I may qualify for in the after-treatment time--I'll look into them.

Sue had asked earlier in the week what it's like to be part of a clinical trial. There wasn't a whole lot I had to do differently. I had originally met the criteria for 2 studies, but one was with a drug that could potentially cause some big impact if I had a bad reaction, like increased stroke risk--something I may have considered if I was 20 yrs older, maybe, or maybe not. So I signed up for the one I did because it was the drugs I would get anyway, just different timing and slightly different doses--the purpose of the study was to look into the timing of doses because that can have an impact for each drug. You go through a lengthy consent, and there were a few tests that were done in the beginning (heart function, blood work). Then you're assigned to an arm of the study and then get your schedule. You agree to follow the protocol, which in my case was the daily pill and shot and weekly infusion for the first drugs and the every-other-week treatments for the taxol. The protocols also give them guidelines of holding or changing treatment, like when I was hospitalized or neutropenic, or decreasing dose like now with the neuropathy. That's really about it. Mine had less unknown/less risk than others because we were working with known drugs and doses--so it's not going to lead to a big breakthrough in treatment like other ones could, but it's still answering important questions.

Okay, time to gear up for tomorrow...I may be laying around for the day, but it's good timing to be on the couch! As long as Olive's feeling better tomorrow--got a fever tonight. Boo.

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