Friday, April 15, 2016

Turning the Page

Today marked a major change in my treatment plan. My oncologist confirmed that I can now quit the beastly Taxol chemotherapy. Although I've tolerated the drug really well, the last few rounds have made me really feel the cumulative effects of all these weeks of treatment. It's harder to bounce back from the fatigue, some of my toes are now completely numb, and my fingernails are so sensitive that I have trouble opening a food container. I know lots of people have much worse scenarios with chemotherapy, so I feel pretty lucky all things considered. I can still work. I can still do push-ups (only three in a row, but hey, it's a push-up and they are hard), and I can still live a pretty normal life. I know it takes a big chemo beast to tackle the toughest monsters, but I wasn't relishing the idea of allowing the beast to continue it's weekly rampage of indiscriminate destruction.

I didn't get a chance to meet with my Dr myself, but my husband ran into her in the hallway and chatted for a few minutes. She told him she was very pleased with my scan results and said that, at this point, the last three Taxols, including the one today, probably had a very exponential effect, and if I were to get a scan today, I would see an even greater difference. I will continue to receive Herceptin and Perjeta once every three weeks for the foreseeable future, but maybe even someday I can stop that for awhile too. Although these drugs are a lot easier than Taxol, they are not totally without side effects, so this was also very encouraging to hear. She said that Perjeta, the newest drug, is really doing some amazing things for her patients, and she thinks it will do some amazing things for me too.

This was all wonderful news to hear, and it really feels today like I have now turned a page and have finished one chapter and am starting on a new one.  The whole previous chapter started out kind of scary, and I was feeling a little stuck there once in awhile. You see, metastatic breast cancer isn't known for happy endings. In fact, when I scanned the other books on the breast cancer shelf for clues as to what my story might turn out like, I wasn't too thrilled with what I was finding. So many plot changes, ups and downs, false starts and so much potential drama and horror. I don't really like drama. I could barely even stand to watch the Lucille Ball show when I was younger. Even though it was a comedy, I just knew she was going to make some terrible mistake and get into all kinds of trouble, and I couldn't take the tension! I don't like horror stories either. I still get shudders over movies like Silence of the Lambs. In fact I got chills just typing the name of the film.

But I now realize that every story is different, and here is the best part. I am in charge of writing my story, and I can make it be anything I want it to be. Isn't that fantastic? We get to make it up as we go along. Since I don't like scary stories or super dramatic stories,  I don't want to write one like that.  Of course I know that sometimes you can't control every aspect of the story, and a little drama is going to sneak in even if we don't want it too. But that's the way that stories go. I guess every story needs a little bit of drama to keep the story interesting. Sunshine and daisies are great, but the daisies can't come up without a bit of rain and those spring thunderstorms beforehand.

Still, I think a little drama goes a long way, so I'm going to try to keep writing a story that makes me happy. I'm going to try to keep writing stories and songs that make others happy too.  I'm excited to turn the pages to see what the next chapter brings.  

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