July 1st, I start the traditional chemo drugs. I get four doses, two weeks apart. I should expect me hair to fall out around the second dose, so sometime in mid-July, and then to start growing back about four weeks after the last dose, so around mid-September. The students are going to get a bald teacher for the first few weeks of the semester; that's going to be fun to explain. Ah well. I don't expect the bald to be particularly traumatizing, but we'll see. I'm reserving the right to have ALL the emotional reactions that might come up throughout this process. :-)
I'm also supposed to take my anti-nausea meds on schedule every six hours, for about 3-4 days after each treatment, whether I feel sick or not, and that should hopefully stave off the vomiting. Fingers crossed. We'll see whether the other symptoms develop; the main ones that are likely seem to be mouth sores (baking soda rinses, saltwater rinses, and if necessary, viscous lidocaine rinses) and fatigue. Ah, fatigue, my old friend. I know thee well.
Learned about a new fun thing today (they space out the details, I think, so you don't get too overwhelmed -- it's tricky, I'm sure, balancing the desire to inform with the desire not to overwhelm) -- to boost the white cells in my bone marrow, I need to get a Neulasta shot 24 hrs after each treatment. The nurses seemed to think I'd just come in for the shot, but the doctor suggested a delivery kit auto-injector attached to my arm or abdominal wall that would do it automatically, saving me a trip to the hospital. Hm. A little nerve-wracking in theory, waiting for the needle(s)? But maybe it'd be fine, and since the dose gets given over 45 minutes, it'd be nice to be at home watching tv for it. We'll see.
We started talking about the surgery a bit, because I was curious how long I'd be out for -- it seems like 2-4 weeks, depending on whether it's a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and also depending on how many lymph nodes are removed. Going to be super-disruptive to the semester. :-( And then six weeks of radiation after. Well, my department and I will figure it out somehow. Some people do work pretty much straight through all of this.
Feel totally fine right now -- expecting to start getting tired tomorrow. But will try to take it relatively easy for the rest of the day. Writing workshop at my house tonight, so I need to go read stories now, so I'm ready to critique!