Thursday, October 14, 2010

1st chemo session but looking ahead to next summer..

Penny had her 1st of 6 chemo sessions yesterday.  Everything went well once she got past some pre session anxiety issues.  Before leaving the house, her hands were visibly shaking and we measured her heart rate near 140bpm.  I suppose 140 isn't that high if she were exercising but she was just sitting there doing nothing at the time.  I know I don't raise her heart rate like that anymore ;-)  so we're calling it anxiety.  At the infusion center they gave her something to calm her down and she was fine from then on.  I was a little worried if I'm being honest.

Overall, no nausea and no negative side effects thus far.  Her skin feels very warm to touch but she is not running a fever..which is weird but I think normal.  We have been forewarned this Friday could be when she starts feeling some fatigue and it could intensify through the weekend.  She is on multiple anti-nausea meds so hopefully that won't be an issue.  Hair loss is supposed to start around the 7-14 day mark.  As some of you have read on facebook, I think she will make one sexy hot bald chick. :-)

Oh by the way, the gentleman sitting next to me in the waiting room said each chemo session costs $13,500.  Wow!  Thankfully, we have insurance!

Reconstruction continues as she is up to 180cc's of fluid in the expanders on her way to 400-500cc's.  I don't think I've explained this but the expanders are between her chest wall and her chest muscles.  So they are not only stretching her skin but also the muscle underneath.  Sounds painful to me but she only mentions some minor tightness and discomfort.

Radiation initial consultation is next Wednesday but I am nearly certain she will choose to have it done.

She is figuring by next summer she will be done with chemo, radiation and reconstruction.  So for now, we are trying to look past this garbage by looking ahead to next summer.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Reconstruction underway, chemo next and radiation probable

As of tomorrow, it will be 1 month since Penny's surgery.  Aside from some tightness in her chest and limited arm mobility, she has done really, really well.  In fact, she even returned to work on Monday.  While she was physically exhausted the first day, each day has been seemingly better.

Here are some details on her progress along with what is yet to best as I can recall:

Reconstruction is underway and will continue over the next several months.  They have added approx. 100cc's of saline to the expanders already and will continue to add until she gets to a size she is happy with...probably between 400-500cc's.  In case you are wondering, those are her numbers not mine. ;-)  Once chemo and radiation are done, they will remove the expanders and replace them with implants. 

Chemo starts next Wednesday and she will have a total of 6 treatments once every 3 weeks...totaling 4 1/2 months.  She will be on another drug (herceptin) that will be administered along with chemo and continuing every 3 weeks for 1 year.  We ordered a wig yesterday that I thought looked really good on her.  It has a 60's beehive look to it.  Just actually is close to her current style and looked really good for a wig.

Radiation is probable at this point.  Newer studies are showing that pretty much anyone with breast cancer in their 40's should have radiation.  We meet with the radiation oncologist in a couple weeks but this is what we are being told.  I'm not positive on the timing but I believe radiation would come right after chemo is done. 

We have really appreciated all the prayers, cards, meals and such.  I just ask that everyone continue to keep her in your prayers and to give thanks for the answered prayers thus far.  We are truly blessed to serve such a wonderful God and to be surrounded by such wonderful people.