Many of my friends both near and far reached out to me because of last week's blog post. I received encouraging texts, emails, and even a care package or two. All of these things helped to make this week a much easier week for me and they were greatly appreciated. It also helps that this is a non-treatment week, and that it definitely feels like spring is around the corner. I have gone on several walks through my school's neighborhood during lunch. It helps clear my head, even though I am not getting the same endorphin rush I used to get from running. I don't think I can "walk the crazy away."
Treatment this past Friday marked the half-way point of my treatment! Those of you who read my last post know that last week was a pretty bad week for me. I had a long discussion with my case manager from my HMO. She had some suggestions about the neuropathy, and was very encouraging about the depression I was feeling. She promised to call me after the weekend.
The treatment Friday was the "typical" day 8 treatment: Intravenous pre-meds (pepcid, benadryl, and steroids) along with 1 liter of saline, followed by 1/2 liter of Intraperitoneal Taxol solution and 1 liter of saline. The after effects of the IP Taxol are much different that those for IP Cisplatin. Aside from the severe bloating, the worst side effect is the neuropathy I have been feeling in my hands. My hands had been getting so cold at night that I was sleeping with gloves on. My case manager suggested asking about a drug called Neurotin. She said not only would it help the neuropathy, but would help prevent any permanent damage. The nurse spoke to my oncologist, and he prescribed it for me. I started taking it Saturday, and it seems to be helping.
I had a Reiki appointment after my chemotherapy. We spent a long time talking about the events of the past week. And what was making me feel so depressed. The guided meditation helped tremendously, and in spite of being so tired, I didn't fall asleep (which is a good thing). I felt wonderful after my appointment, ready to take on the upcoming week! I was certainly glad that there was no chemo on my calendar for the upcoming Friday.
Now that I've completed half of my treatments I'm starting to think about what life will be like after my treatment is completed. I truly don't know what my prognosis is. I have tried to stay away from doing any internet research, because what I have found has not been encouraging. I just remind myself that I chose the most aggressive treatment and that there were no cancer cells in my lymph nodes or in the pelvic wash they did during my surgery. I don't know how often I will have to go in for screening. These are all things I need to ask the doctor at my next physical check up.
The same friends who have been supporting me by driving me back and for to chemotherapy and preparing meals for me and my family created a Relay for Life Team in my honor. They named it "Erica's Marathon." In case you aren't familiar with it, Relay for Life supports the American Cancer Society's research, and support efforts for cancer patients and their families. There are many relays across the country, but if you are so inclined, I would appreciate it if you would support my team's fundraising efforts by making a donation, or purchasing a luminaria to honor someone you know who has battled cancer. Just click on the link for "Erica's Marathon." If you are local to me, I would love for you to join our team and be there with me on June 25 as I walk the Survivor's lap for the very first time.