Monday, December 15, 2008

Surprise Ending

Guess what? Chemo appears to be DONE. Yep, one week early!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!!
This is exciting for me, because I am so drop down drag out tired, getting anything done feels painful because all my body wants to do is lay down lately. So the doc said, she didn't see a pressing need for one last round and gave me an early release! WHOOHOOO!

It looks like the count numbers went up just slightly, but the scans will determine just where we are going to be leaving off. With some small tumors left? Traces left? Nothing left? From the numbers, probably SOMETHING is still lingering. But those numbers are older. So, we just have to wait and see what the scans say. If they are clear, this early release is indefinite.

So what does this all mean?

Today, was my last day of Abraxane. Round #23. This is the chem drug that is killing off the cancer cells.

Next week, I go in for a triple dose of Herceptin. This is a therapy drug that blocks the cancer cells from reproducing. I will be going in every three weeks to get this drug. It won't be as dibiltating as Abraxane, because it isn't killing my good cells. Just stopping the bad ones from reproducing. Wew.

I will also be getting Zometa. This helps block the bone sites from reproducing, and it fortifies the weakened bones. Right now, I have two vertabrae that have been damanged, much like a broken bones, but less clean a break, from the tumor sites.

Finally, since this breast cancer thrives off of Estrogen, we will be shutting down ALL the Estrogen production in my body. Early, and permanent, menopause. I am a little wary of what this is going to do to me. I hope I don't become a hormonal mess that gains 50 more pounds (I have gained 20 from the steriods they give me to control nausea). My body tells me this, more than anything, will help keep that cancer from really going to town.

So, the phase of chemo is over. Now we are onto maintaince and keeping any cancer left in my body in check thought the three therapies listed above.

Emotionally, it is a little challenging. I am stopping what we know is working. But, my body needs to be functional. My body tells me it is time to move on from chemo. So onward we go.

Also, into limbo and being a constant patient from a life threatening disease...for decades if all goes well. But it is always going to be a questions mark. Always lingering there if I let it. I am hoping that once the side effects of the chemo wear off, and my energy returns, I will feel healthy, and this indefinite chronic disease won't feel so scary.

But, for now, I am going to revel in this break from chemo. I am going to SOAK IT UP BABY and just be so grateful for everyday I have that is "normal" health. I am going to breath deeply every single day. I am going to pause, every single day, and feel the grace of living. I am going to love with abandon, never hold onto a grudge, and just let the good that is in the world act like a salve for any "bad" (or momentary amnesia that the heart of all things is good and baeutiful, even if it isn't appearing that way at the time).

I am going to blog. About LIFE. And what inspires me, what makes me want to fight to stay on this earth and experience the fabulous people, mind altering art, and natural beauty of the land. I want to revel in the web of life and its connections.

I like what she wrote in "It's Not About the Hair": She said that as a clergy for people experiencing cancer, she takes hope in people who fight to be here because they love living, not because they fear death.

And finally, my inspiration for the week. Jen Lemen. The picture today is from her Etsy site. She has the most inspiring, heartfelt images, notes, and sayings. She is a really Wizard of Hope and Change. She was gracious enough to give me little extras with my order to hand out to people who needed them. There were MANY grateful and touched hearts today in the chemo rooms, from people who I picked at random (well, intuitively) tor receive these goodies. GREAT christmas ideas. Click on here pic above.

Ahhhhhhhh. Good stuff.


Kent, Melisa,Tiana (and Coda) said...

Ah, Jenna! Tears of relief and happiness for you well up this morning! I know how much this release from chemo means to you! Incredible! Merry Christmas -- and into the New Year-- HEALTH!!!

Anonymous said...

Jenna dear, I'm toasting my green tea to your health!! I am ecstatic for you and your words hit me hard, tears are welling up here as well. You are so right about loving life being a big part of healing. I feel really blessed that I do truly love being here, even if I am scared. Art, music, nature, laughter, good books, good movies, old friends, children, porches, sunshine, beaches, mountains, there is a lot to live for. You've got a good hand and I know your going to play it!!! I am still holding a picture of your perfect health in my heart and mind. Here's hoping we both get to be old and gray and loving life on our porches some day.

MiMi said...

Dearest daughter,
words escape me now, Just sheer joy that you are doing so well and I will be able to hug you in a few days. Tears of Joy over the way God has brought you through this journey and given you so many people and all you need to come out healthier and have a chance to embrace life in such a magnificent way.
Love from the heart

~Zina~ said...

hi Jenna,

We met across the circulation desk at LFP lib. I heard about your story through Michelle (at her studio show). Wow. I can only say that the joy of living shines through your fatigue and one would suspect the challenges you've faced and shared on this blog. I am happy for you that your chemo is done! Have a sweet Christmas and joyful New Year! Zina