A Dose of Normal

I’m happy to finally report that I officially feel “normal!” I have for several days actually, and it feels good. When I made this declaration to
Dr. Jones (my onc) yesterday, her response was “Must be time for another treatment.” She’s right. Dose #3 of the AC is tomorrow at 9a.m. I’m glad I’m going into it feeling normal at least.

We’re trying something different this week. On Friday when I go back for my neulasta shot (white blood cell booster), they are giving me fluids. This will hopefully make my weekend better. They also have me scheduled to come in Christmas Eve morning to get fluids again so I can feel good on Christmas. I’m so grateful that my nurses and doctor are being proactive now that we know what a boost just two hours of fluids gives me.

During my appointment yesterday, Dr. Jones did an exam on my tumor. I already knew it was getting smaller, but she measured it to be 1.5cm! That’s exactly half the size it was when I started. This made me very happy. I’m hoping the pace continues and, by the time I finish these last two doses of AC, it will be zero cm and zero mm and just zero!

I also received other good news yesterday. She is going to add another drug into my protocol when I move to the weekly Taxol drug. This is based on the success of years of multiple trial studies on an already FDA approved drug. Just pray my insurance will cover it. The drug is called Carboplatin and is actually used primarily for ovarian cancer. The studies have shown (I’m summarizing here and not quoting exactly) that, in conjunction with my existing protocol, it can significantly increase my chances of a complete pathological response, which means no detectable cancer after treatment ends, specifically with triple negative. I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to have another drug option!

Of course there are always cons to any chemotherapy drug, but in this case, the benefits outweigh the risk.

Before Carboplatin was added, the plan was Taxol every week for 12 weeks. Taxol is supposedly lighter than AC, with milder side effects (although I’ve talked to a couple people where that wasn’t the case). Adding the Carboplatin will basically remove the “mild” factor and be more in line with the side effects I’m experiencing now. That’s ok with me. It hasn’t been horrific, and I think I can handle it for a few more months. Ask me again in February.

The biggest concern will be keeping my counts from tanking. On Taxol, I can’t take the neulasta shot because you have to wait 14 days after shot to receive chemotherapy, but I need the drug weekly. While this excites me because the neulasta is culprit of one of the most painful side effects, it also means I won’t get that critical boost to stimulate white blood cells. That could lead to one or more of my treatments getting delayed, but Dr. Jones assured me that it’s still worth it to add carbo and not to panic if one gets delayed.

We will add the Carboplatin three times during Taxol, starting with my first treatment then every fourth treatment from there.

“Normal” for me has meant I’m back to my very fast paced life. Saturday was a fun-filled day of marathon Christmas shopping in Atlanta with Becca. I left Macon at 930am and pulled back in my driveway after midnight. Sunday I cleaned my house all day.

Work has been crazy and I’ve been traveling this week, with today beginning at 4am and getting home at 930pm. I’m exhausted and looking forward to a day of laying around tomorrow even though I won’t be feeling normal. I feel lucky to at least have had this many days in a row of feeling good, so hopefully my luck will continue. I’ll settle for normal any day!


8 responses

  1. Wonderful news in this miracle season! Love your attitude!! Keep it up! Still got you covered in prayer!!!! Merry Christmas, love to you and your family!

  2. Hey Shelley and Brent, Great news! I was so happy when I heard you and Becca went
    Christmas shopping…..now it sounds like you have had a great few days. Hope today
    and tomorrow go smoothly and you are able to recoup again next week. Saw your
    pic in your new wig. It looks great. And how is Mr. Brent loving it. I have to say it
    looks so good. I was really surprised to see it be so realistic. Would love to see you
    both….hope you will be able to make it during Christmas. Love you both, Gail (and Lee too)

  3. Shelly, You probably don’t remember me…Teresa Getter? It doesn’t matter if you don’t, I just wanted to stop by and tell you that I have added you to my weekly prayer list. May Jehovah Rapha-the God who heals–bless you with healing, with peace, and with the strength you need to beat this!

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