Good news: Tumor size is down to 1.5cm! That is smaller than when I first discovered it. Immunotherapy is working! I just had my last dose of the immunotherapy (Pembro) with my normal Taxol. Ten down, two more to go of Taxol.
Other good news: my oncologist said I have been taking Taxol so well with minimal side effects that I can continue onto the AC going every two weeks rather than every three. This means my last chemo will be November 30th!! What a nice Christmas present to be done with the drugs and moving on to the surgery...uh and growing hair back!
Pros: a) haven't had to shave; b) still have eyelashes and eyebrows; c) have a healthy appetite;
d) received a compliment on my fabulous hair. I had to divulge it was a wig, but still felt good!
e) taking more steps than half of my brothers in our Fitbit challenges.
Cons: a) still have acne. I'm actually washing my face with coconut oil. It's called the "oil cleansing method". I believe it is working. I've also switched back to using an apple-cider vinegar and water toner instead of my rose water toner. b) My nails look pretty bad now. I have invested in some pretty, darker nail colors to hide them. They look like there is a lot of white underneath the nail... not pretty! c) Did I mention the pain in my ass? Literally, I have had a pain in my ass on the same side for the last three weeks. Not sure if it has to do with any of these drugs, but it feels bad if I sit for too long.
OK, here I am on chemo #10. Hopefully I don't look like I am deteriorating.
Feeling good! I get a little tired right after infusion, but then the steroid kicks in and I have energy again. I can't believe I only have three more infusions of Taxol and I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes, thank goodness! Although I am preparing for the loss of those with a natural lash and brow thickener I am working on. It has Castor Oil, Vitamin E and Almond Oil.
I'm coconuts! for coconut oil. You see the steroid Decadron I'm on has been making me feel more awake and alert but has given me acne. Ugh! I'm not used to having acne. Whether it is due to my regime of natural products I use, or just luck, I have always had nice skin with no blemishes. So this has been a bit of a bummer getting pimples. I have been washing and picking all week at my face with no luck. I went online the other day to look up natural products to help with acne and a lot of the blogs were suggesting coconut oil. Well good grief it works! Literally right after I put coconut oil on them they got smaller, less red and have started to heal. I'll have to stick that info in my back pocket for later when the kids are entering puberty. Then during chemo yesterday, I read in my Prevention Magazine the exact thing. Here is what they said: "Apply a thin coat of coconut oil to bumps after cleansing. Coconut oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and contains lauric and capris acids and vitamin E. It repairs the skin barrier, prevents overdrawing of skin (and subsequent rebound oil production) and helps the marks heal faster". YAY! my face is on its way to recovery.
I just found out the immunotherapy investigational drug I am on (Pembro) has just been FDA approved for lung cancer! This is really good news. It is starting to break up my tumor now as well. My hopes are the trial I am on and all others before and after me with this drug will help the next generation with their treatment. Maybe years from now people will not have to go through traditional chemotherapy and only go through immunotherapy to remove cancer cells in their body.
Feeling really good! I think the steroid has made me a bit wired the first evening/next morning, but feeling good. I have noticed my face is breaking out a bit. I pride myself on my skin and having teenage break-outs bums me out, but if that is the only side effect I am having, my husband calls that "a high-class problem". Although the large birthday cake I consumed may have something to do with it too. Eek!
My tumor is shrinking!!!!
Yay! the Immunotherapy (Pembro) is working. OK, so now I am more than half way through my Taxol chemo. It feels good to say that considering I am still feeling really good. What does this mean? a lot to our family. It means we can schedule out the rest of my chemo treatment. I will start the AC on October 19th and have my last round November 30th. AC is my wild card. How am I going to feel on this? I am so thankful to report I have been doing very well on all of the drugs they have put me on so far with very little side effect, so I am hoping for the best when I start the heavy stuff. Clearly I can handle a lot in my body considering my almost 10lb. son, cancer and now chemo. ha!
By the way, a couple of cool things to notice in this photo... the pink blanket was made for me by a friend of the family, so cozy!, thank you Tony. Also, Layne made me a tiger (my favorite animal) out of a cup for me to look at while getting chemo, and knitting on my table. Am I knitting you say? no way, that's my mom's knitting. She's here visiting for two weeks. We considered smoking medicinal marijuana then getting matching tattoos that say "cancer sucks!" but opted for birthday cake and a marathon of Netflix original series instead. Always fun to have mom here :)
I'm half way done with Taxol! I just finished my 6th of 12 Taxol treatments before I start AC (the heavy stuff). I am feeling really good. Last week I was a bit more tired in the evenings for the first three days, but I have more energy after this treatment. I believe it is because they had to give me a steroid. Last two treatments I started having back cramping during chemo and that scared them so I am on a steroid to alleviate that. Good thing about steroid: I don't feel as tired, bad thing about steroid: I wake up super early in the morning. Oh well, it beats feeling tired and drained at night so I'll take it.
So let's talk a bit more about hair, shall we? I am doing a sort of test now. I shaved my armpits and legs last week and my pits still have no hair, my legs have a little, but typically I have hairy man legs after 3-4 days of not shaving so I will consider this a "silver lining" of cancer treatment.
My very short crew cut is getting a bit patchy and I am starting to see what men tend to go through when they start losing their hair. I am seeing MY pattern of balding. I have a tuft right in the middle which still is rather thick, but on the sides it is getting pretty scarce. Also when I touch my head it is very sensitive. Some places feel good to touch, but some places actually are a tiny bit painful to touch. weird, huh?
Lastly, a funny thing about CVS... I walked into the local CVS store to get nail polish. Yes, I can't believe it but after 12 years of living in CA and never doing my own nails, I have to start again. My oncologist does not want me going to a nail salon for fear of risk of infection. ugh! and since your nails start turning brown from the treatment, you have to cover them with a color. So now I am twisting and bending to do my own nails and realizing how not limber I am. In any case, back to CVS... I walked in the store and the alarm went off. You know the one when it says "please return to the counter, blah blah blah." I didn't pay any attention until it happened again when I walked out. I realized my titanium port was setting off the alarm. Good grief, so that little Port card the doctor gives you came in handy. I showed the counter peeps and they didn't look at me like a criminal.
Hi! I'm Amy. I was diagnosed at 44 with