Cancer log 98: This is…

Cancer log 98: This is a bit of a catch-up entry; I try to post things as they happen, but some days it doesn't happen. So various notes:

a) Chemo was Wed; starting Sunday, I found myself getting really stressed, anticipating chemo, racing around trying to get everything done while I felt healthy, etc. I was irritable with Kevin (who has been infinitely patient, really, I couldn't ask him to handle this better in any way, and he deserves massive treats when it's all done), my face broke out in half a dozen zits, which is what it does when it's stressed. Which can function a bit as an early warning system, to tell me I need to slow down, which I suppose is useful, but it's also deeply annoying. It's all clearing up now, though.

b) Meeting with my oncologist went REALLY WELL. My white blood cells and red blood cells are affected by the chemo, but so far, not in any dramatic fashion. It's a little unnerving seeing them show up in red on the blood work panel, but the doc wasn't concerned with the actual numbers, so that's good. More importantly, she did a breast exam, as she usually does, and she said she couldn't feel the mass at all! It's a little confusing with my breasts, because there's scar tissue from the reduction surgery I had in 2011, but she said she was pretty confident that she can tell the difference now. There'll be one last MRI to confirm when the chemo is done (the week of 8/17 or 8/24, I think), but we are cautiously very optimistic now. Great news.

c) I never told y'all about the Neulasta auto injector. This is sort of fascinating -- it's a little kit that they put on before you leave the chemo suite. A plastic triangle about the size of my palm that gets taped onto your body, either on the back of your arm or your stomach, your choice. You're less likely to bump it (or have your clambering child bump it) on your stomach, but I got a little woogy about needles in my belly, so I went for the arm both times. Once they tape it on, it takes a few minutes for it to prep, and then it pokes a tiny needle in. This really doesn't hurt much at all -- it's like plucking an eyebrow hair, if you do that, or having a rose thorn prick you. Then you go home -- the main benefit of this is that the medicine (to beef up your bone marrow) has to be delivered about a day after chemo for maximum effectiveness, so this is saving you a trip to the hospital. I'm only fifteen minutes away, but still, it's nice not to have to go in, wait for a nurse, etc., and there are some people coming to this cancer center from two hours away, so obviously, it's a huge help for them. The most annoying part of the whole thing is peeling it off when it's done; Kevin does that for me, and if you don't have someone to help, you might want to go with the stomach option. But it does sting a bit when the (very strong) tape is coming off. Overall, though, worthwhile.

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