I swear I'm trying to be a trooper through this whole process. And I do still have my sense of humor, I promise (keep reading for proof of that). But talking to the doctor on Friday before my latest round of chemo, I kind of hated everything that she was saying.
(1) My impending mastectomy and reconstruction sounds like it's going to SUCK for me because as we all know my cancer is "special." Traditional strategies for reconstruction probably aren't an option, and probably won't even work. And it could take up to a YEAR after radiation ends. Which will put it into another school work year...and insurance calendar year...(don't get me started on either of those right now). Yeah, more money and more sick days...
(2) Even though I think that the steroids they are giving me is actually what is killing me, she is still going to give them to me. I swear the migraines are steroid induced, and I know the weight gain is. UGH! However, on the plus side here, she says if I still get the migraine this go-round, she will agree with me and reduce the amount I'm given.
(3) Finally asked the big question: How do we tell if this treatment is working? Kinda wished I hadn't asked it. I'm the kind of gal that wants ANSWERS! TESTS! DEFINITIVE PROOF! Bring on the numbers people. Yeah, apparently it doesn't work like that. Basically it boils down to, if I'm still alive in 5 years, that's how they know this treatment worked. That's a pretty sucky answer folks! (Of course, there were so many funny responses to this, I promise you that Keith and I were saying all of them. Like, "And if you die within the year, then Whoops! My bad." Had the doc physically LAUGHING so hard, she had to stop her explanation. We won the day's prize for humor, so that was a perk I guess).
So no, there are no blood tests, scans, etc. that give me an "all clear" immediately following treatment. They are doing the best possible treatment based on my angry cancer and the positive results in others with similar cases. I totally believe this, and believe in them and the process. I have no doubts that this will work. HOWEVER, I'd like a little proof! Other than, "you come to the doctor every six months and we talk about how you're feeling and go from there." Because guess what folks? I was feeling pretty good before this whole process started and then these lumps (which no one thought was cancer) appeared and by that point I was already Stage 2-3.
Now, the one thing that I do have going for me is that I will get some scans right after these treatments because of the "unusual" lymph node and the spot on my liver (WTH? I don't remember anyone saying ANYTHING about the liver) that were "lighting up" in previous scans. They will check to verify that those areas aren't showing up anymore, so that will at least give me some sense of relief.
But still! Sucky answer!