Progressing towards chemo I

Sunday was lovely and included a bike ride, lunch with my sweetie pie, a bike ride with kids to the library and then dairy queen (I had a dairy-free arctic blast), and chill time at home.

Monday was work, where I really got nearly nothing done.  Just little stuff that required little to no intellectual concentration.  DZ sent a script for ambien to the pharmacy, because I have averaged around 3 hours of sleep since diagnosis.  Man – I need sleep!  The what-if part of my brain just refuses to shut the F^&* up!

Tuesday… that would be today.  I had an appointment with a Gyn doctor, and I was STRESSED!!!  The what-if part of my brain was active.  Yes yes – DZ had told me that I was looking at a hemorrhagic endometrioma or hemorrhagic cyst… but what if the Gyn saw something different?  It’s not like I’ve gotten a ton of good news lately…  And there was a possibility that a laparoscopic procedure might be required before moving to the next step in the study.  Ugh – I do NOT want to go into chemo weakened by a surgery – even “minor” one.

Cheryl and I rode bikes to campus.

Well, I am at the University, so my Gyn visit began with an interview conducted by a med student.  She was actually very good, and she brought some nice humor into the room.

Then, the Gyn doc came in, and we got down to business.  She was not sugar coating jack, and jack did not taste good.  She clearly didn’t want to get my hopes up that I could avoid laparoscopic surgery, despite the PET, MRI, and US data supporting the hemorrhagic endometrioma or hemorrhagic cyst.  She did a pelvic (about which I was not happy, but that speculum thingy – I consider that a stabbing no matter how expertly employed – smoothie reward to come), and she was clearly very good at it.  She felt now we had four lines of support for the hemorrhagic endometrioma or hemorrhagic cyst….  and she said she would make phone calls to the appropriate people regarding the results, and she let a little bit of optimism come out that laparascopic surgery might not be required.  She told me I’d get a call from the study nurse as soon as a decision had been made.

Oh man – I am soooo glad Cheryl went with me.  I was feeling feisty and kranky, to say the least.  I’m pretty sure that I was a much nicer person because she was there.  And she just plain made me feel better during all the waiting.  In case I don’t write this often enough… or tell her often enough …  she’s awesome.  Not to mention the fact that she took notes and is a fast information processor.

So, after the Gyn appointment, Cheryl and I rode our bikes to get my stabbing reward…  A fruit smoothie composed of blueberries, pineapple, orange juice, and something else… delicious.

Then, to work.  I’d missed my 10am meeting by about 100  minutes… but made it in time for my noon meeting, with enough time to spare to make some ginger green tea.  It was group meeting, during which two students presented, and they did great jobs.  It was a little difficult to get my mind to focus … but we had a bit of a delayed start to the meeting… which gave me ample time to get focused before the first presentation.

Then, a meeting with a member of my research group…  But, beforehand, I did get to talk to the study nurse, and she told me that the hemorrhagic endometrioma or hemorrhagic cyst was not problematic from the perspective of the study.  Ok – that’s a relief.  Then, she said that the viability of my sample would be known later in the afternoon.  Meeting with research group member was great – lots of science and discussion of other interesting things.

Then, I started a task log.  How the hell does anyone with this diagnosis get anything done?  I mean, it totally dominates nearly all brain power.  What if this. What if that. What if what if what if.  Then a phone call – then another medical appointment.  Then someone asks a question, which refocuses the brain on the diagnosis.  I have gotten some stuff done – but my productivity is not as good as it needs to be.  So, I started a task log.  I made a google doc form, in which I will enter tasks completed throughout the day.  I started logging starting with noon today.  What I hope is that it will help me carve pockets of productive time and get tasks completed in a timely fashion.

I call Cheryl later in the afternoon, and she says I should head home sooner than later because there’s a big red blob headed our way.  I make it home dry, which was nice… Fast forward about an hour, and I’ve got an email from the study nurse, Julie, that my sample is viable for the study.  So, the profiling step is next.  Those results will assign me to a class of therapeutics appropriate for my tumor, and then a therapeutic will be randomly selected and added to my chemo treatment plan.  Chemo day one is now scheduled for Thursday of next week.

So, a few other things….

One – I’m pretty much vegan at this point.  I’ve read a bunch of stuff, and it seems like a diet free or nearly free of animal fats and protein is the way to go.  I’ve not eaten more than one ounce of dairy since diagnosis, and I think I feel better.  It’s tough to say, though, because my whole life feels sort of like a disaster.  Also, I am not eating as much… and I’ve dropped around 6 pounds.  Meanwhile, I do not seem to have lost power on the bike.  In fact, I’m kind of kicking it on the hills.

Two – a potential worry with chemo is bone loss.  A potential concern for cyclists is bone loss because cycling is not really much of a weight bearing exercise.  In fact, recent studies have shown that even recreational cyclists can have significantly weaker bones than runners and other folks who engage in some form of weight bearing exercise.  I’m always running late, so I’m always jogging here and there on campus.  Plus, I haul my commuter bike up and down the stairs at work…  Plus I run stairs.  But this week, I decided I would be more “formal” about incorporating a weight bearing style of exercise to my training regimen.  So, this evening, right after I got home, my sweetie and I went for a little run of about one mile.  I plan to keep running as a part of my chemo schedule in order to preserve as much bone density as possible.

Three – time warp.  Seriously, was that Gyn appointment just today?  or three days ago?  When was the diagnosis?  Yesterday?  A year ago?  On the one hand, I feel like time is going so fast… but also so slow.  I don’t know what chemo will be like.  How tired will I feel?  Will I be able to sleep?  Will I get mouth sores?  How long till I go bald?

So, that’s what I have for today.  I wish to say a very sincere thanks to my friends, to my neighbors, my co-workers, and to many many total strangers….  And to the medical people currently in my life – I wish I didn’t know you, but I do feel I am in capable and caring hands.

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About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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2 Responses to Progressing towards chemo I

  1. Kathryn Jensen says:

    All I have to say is: you are strong ….you are admirable..wow…………………..
    I’m ready to run… just let me know when:)

  2. thelma says:

    be strong…I know you are!! I am sending you positive energy waves… and hugs, hugs, hugs.
    You are the best.

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