This is why I'm a horrible blogger...I should have written weeks ago but I'm just not consistent. So much has happened, in the positive direction.
My last of 6 chemo treatments was on May 1. As usual, it was a good 3 weeks before I started feeling better from that. My blood levels took a while to get back up to normal, there was talk of a possible platelet transfusion, but my body worked on its own to get those numbers back up. The fatigue was certainly cumulative...that's been hanging around for a while. At this writing, though, I am feeling stronger than ever and getting better every day. I've actually done some shopping, leaning on the cart and my cane if no handicap cart was available. I'm stronger than I was but not as strong as I will be!
I finally made the wig appointment and found one that was so close to my cut and color that its difficult to tell its a wig! They look so natural these days. I didn't have good hair before, but I liked the style and color I had, so the texture of the wig actually is better than what I naturally have. I may wear a wig for a long time...might have to anyway as one of the few side effects of my maintenance chemo drug is hair loss. But I'll explain that in a bit. I ordered another wig in a little different style and color. And I also got some of those brightly colored hair extensions/swatches for a funky look! Its gonna be fun!
My last CT scan again showed no evidence of anything remotely resembling cancer/tumors. My CA125 is steady at 10.3. (normal 0-35) What this means is right now, I am a survivor! I can't be any more thankful for everything....from my doctor to my friends and family, my employer and of course, to whatever higher being exists.
Since my treatment was part of a clinical study, I will be receiving a "maintenance" drug every 3 weeks for quite some time. The drug is Avastin and was part of my chemo cocktail, but will be used alone for the remainder of my treatments. There is currently no limit on how long I will receive this drug. I will also receive regular bloodwork and CT scans, to keep an eye on anything that may pop up....hopefully nothing! The Avastin has few side effects. Nothing debilitating or that can't be taken care of some other way. Though hair loss is one. So I may be semi bald for quite a while. My hair is growing back in a funky way...sort of a mohawk from my front hair line to the nape of my neck. But my sides are very thin and not really growing much. Thus the wig may be a long term addition. Certainly makes it faster and easier to get ready in the mornings!
Speaking of getting ready....I'm returning to work tomorrow, June 18. I am a little nervous...mostly about the commute. I still can't walk long distances without resting a bit, but cabs are abundant in downtown Chicago and my distance so short, it shouldn't be too expensive. Getting on the train may be a bitch, but I can ask for the handicap ramp to be lowered since getting up those high steps will be almost impossible right now. But I have improved in that area over the past month or so.
I hope my cancer brain hasn't forgotten too many of the details of my job. I think once I'm back in the swing of things, I should be fine. Hope they still need me! I will have hundreds of emails to go through, logins and passwords to change/update, new people to meet, new procedures and changes to tasks...and in addition, I have to renew my regulatory status which expired in March. The test for that is June 25. In spite of all that, I am looking so forward to going back. I've missed my co-workers and my job.
I was able to get to my home town for a few days and see my mom, sister and niece. It's like a small reunion as my brother comes in from DC as well, so we 3 kids are together with our mom and of course, my beautiful little niece (my sister's daughter). I was able to let off some steam that had been building the last 5 months and my mom was supportive. My sister had asked to come help over the past months but since my significant other was here, there really wasn't any need. But being stuck in the house with each other for so long was stressful and I certainly needed the time away. He didn't seem to need time away from me, but I came back fresh and renewed, so it was a good and necessary trip. I couldn't stop hugging my niece...I just love her so much. And my brother...he was very supportive and funny (via text) during my chemotherapy. It was good to hug him too. An additional joy was meeting my brother's sweet lady, Rachel. It was just good times.
So I move forward. Getting back to work will be a trip but I will enjoy the ride. I'm pushing the cancer to the back of my mind but as my blog title says...it never really goes away. But its time to let it go a bit and enjoy my life that has been put on hold for the past months.