It's all starting to happen, and it gets scarier by the minute. I am in the worst mood right now and have gotten to the point where every new piece of information sets me crying.
First, an appointment with Dr. S., where we mapped out my chemo plan. I learned that one of the four "sizeable" tumors in my lungs (as opposed to the several smaller-but-recognizable ones and the too-small-to-call ones) grew from 2.2 to 2.7 centimeters in the past three weeks. The others are more or less the same size, maybe slightly bigger. But the thing is, the one that grew - I can feel it, sort of. It's lodged up against a muscle, and that muscle has been sore for the past few days. I feel it when I take a deep breath or turn a certain way.
So I start chemo on Monday. That will give me time to get a few things taken care of this week, including having my dentist check on a toothache I've been having. I hope it's nothing, not something that will require a root canal or something gross and awful. They're also going to clean my teeth because apparently it's not a good idea to do that during chemo - the bacteria that could get into the blood stream, etc.
Also this week, I'm going to have something called a Power Port implanted under my skin near one of my collarbones. (Here's an interesting blog post I found about ports.) It's going to be the entry system for the two chemo drugs I will be taking (plus anything else they need to put in my body). The Doxil will be given in one sitting on Monday. Then I will have to wear the Ifosfamide around for six days, attached by a cord, continuously streaming into me as I go about my day and night. YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK YUCK. I am dreading everything about it, from the port itself to the drugs that are going into it. Right now I am having trouble putting it into perspective, remembering the final objective - to fight the cancer that is growing in my body as we speak. Radiation was a piece of cake compared to this.
Right now, I'm sitting here in the waiting room of the hospital, waiting to get another scan, this time of my heart, to make sure it pumps well enough to tolerate the Doxil. Because the Doxil can have some heart toxicity. Great. They scheduled this scan while I was seeing Dr. S., giving us 10 minutes notice to get over to the hospital. Steve has gone back to work to get his computer and come back for me in the hour it takes to do this. (Right now, they're radiating a sample of my blood and will reinject it into my IV before they do the scan.)
And then there are the blood thinners, nausea medications, etc., that they are giving me, some in the form of prescriptions I have to fill, others that will go through my port.
One chemo cycle will last 28 days - the Doxil, then the six days of Ifosfamide (in combination with a drug that will protect my bladder from one of the nastier side effects), then three weeks off to recover. I'll go at least two cycles, then get a scan to see how it's going, and then reevaluate.