My account of life both on and off of two wheels...... "At least I'm enjoying the ride"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A colorful future.

Last Thursday marked the end of my chemotherapy treatment- hopefully forever!  It was quite anticlimactic for me, but none the less, another part of this long process completed.   

 I am still working through the side effects- Emotional as well as the physical.  Some of the side-effects have gotten worse, which was to be expected.  These drugs have so many effects on my body ( and mind) that I have forgotten what is ‘normal’ - I am hopeful they will pass with time.  The doctor says there is a chance that some of them will not go away.  We discussed this in her office on Thursday when I told her of some new side- effects ( they don’t tell you all of them before you sign on the dotted line): most concerning was that it was starting to get bad in my feet.   She leaned back in her chair, looked me straight in the eyes and said “I want to give you this last dose, but I cannot take it out of you once it is in you and you need to be aware that this may be permanent”.  She left the choice up to me- take the last treatment knowing this side-effect could get worse and may be permanent or opt out of the last recommended treatment.  I guess you could say my decision was made mostly out of fear.  Not the fear of permanent nerve damage, but the fear that if I did not proceed with her recommend treatment, I could increase my chance of recurrence (stage IV metastatic breast cancer to one of my organs) - I opted to take the drug.   The pain and numbness in my hands and feet have gotten worse.My lips are numb again as well.  I feel as if I made the best choice that I could.  It is a good thing I am not really a runner.  I can pedal with numb feet – I think. But I can do without the sharp pains.
Lately, I have had friends ask me questions like: “did it work?”, “are you all better now?”, “how do they know it’s all gone?”  .  We never really know for sure if it worked.  We just assume (hope and pray) it did.  They will not do repeated scans on me as that would subject me to unnecessary radiation but they will do blood tests to check if my tumor markers are elevated.  I was told by my doctor on the day I started the chemo treatments that my tumor markers were normal and did not show to be elevated.  That and a clear PET scan was a good thing.  Blood tests are not always the best determinant if the disease is progressing or not, but it does give them a guideline.  I am told that there is no evidence to prove that a patient’s prognosis is any different if they find recurrence through a scan or if the patient shows symptoms.  Now I need to work on trying not to panic every time I have a cough or a headache and wonder if it has spread to my brain or my lungs.  Fear can be a powerful thing. 
Now what?  I still have a ways to go.  Since there is no cure for cancer, as a cancer diagnosis never goes away, there are still treatments I can have to help prevent recurrence.  I will continue with my Herceptin treatments every 3 weeks until September 2011.  I still have to go through 6 weeks of radiation that will start right after Thanksgiving.  Once I complete radiation, I will start taking the Tamoxifen pill for the next 5 years.
In the meantime, I will be trying to recover from the chemotherapy and hopefully get to enjoy some time on my bike.  The woods have been so amazingly beautiful here in NY.  I love the change of season and all the beauty it brings with it. 

Some great colors in a place that is close to my heart. 
Even on a cloudy/rainy day. 
"so many roads to ease my sole.." Jerry Garcia


  1. The colors are beautiful. SO Happy you are able to ride in the colors. This journey is a shitty one, and I have no clue what to say but it sucks,and you are super hero strong and I know super Hero strong doesn't take away the physical or emotional pain. Let me know what I can do. I so look forwad to seeing you again my dear, dear friend. I love you!

  2. I love you too pretty lady!

    What can you do for me? Give those little girls of yours a big giant hug from me.

    Miss you and wish we lived closer.

    XO R