Well, today was my first day of my sixth, and final round of chemo prior to getting rescanned. It was a fairly long but painless day, as usual. =)
Here is the plan- I will have chemo again in a week, and then on the 26th of July I will go in to the hospital in the morning and have CT scans of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis done, and also an MRI of my entire spine (which was kind of by my request, because every little back pain...probably normal....makes me nervous, so I would just like to see that it is still just the normal wear and tear going on in there). We also talked about a brain MRI, but I think as long as there are not additional tumors, I am happy just knowing from my last brain MRI that I have a brain in there. No need to go upsetting it. After my CT's and MRI I will go to lunch and my Doc will have the results by that afternoon, so we will have our meeting to discuss the plan for the future, but what it looks like is- 1) if things are going well and the tumor in by breast is shrinking (which we know it is), and the spots in my liver are not larger (which really, how could they be?!), and there are not any new masses (which is completely unreasonable to think about), then we will continue with chemo as we have been, and he will determine that day about how many more rounds before we scan again. He basically said that as long as the treatment is working and I still have visible tumors we will continue the treatment as we have been. 2) If at some point the tumors would actually start to increase in size or spread then we would sit down and devise a new treatment plan. 3) If at some point the tumors are no longer visible then I will go off the chemo's and continue on with only the herceptin, for as long as that keeps the cancer at bay.
Well there you have it, I have a plan, and actually was starting to get a really good mental attitude which was enhanced 3-fold by a doctor that I work with who loaned me a book written by a surgeon, Dr. B. Siegel, titled "Love, Medicine, and Miracles". This book has been so helpful for me because it is giving me examples of instances where people have been "cured" or at least had life significantly prolonged beyond expectations, even with the most grave prognoses, and proceeded to maintain exceptional mental attitudes and had their tumors simply "melt away". I have maintained since the beginning that living was the ONLY option that I was going to entertain and that I would do anything to make that happen, and this book, had it only given one example (rather than the many that it provides) to hang my hat on, still would have given me the hope to proceed with that attitude. If it can happen to one other person on this planet, there is no reason to believe that it can't happen with me as well. And really, HOPE is all you have in this type of situation, and I have never been the type to have to have numbers and statistic's and a 40 page thesis to prove anything to me. If I believe, then that is all that matters. When I was growing up my parents routinely told me that I could do anything in my life that I set my mind too, and I believe that. And you know what...I have set my mind on living and that is exactly what I intend to do! (It is not that I am forgetting about my moments of fear and frustration, but I am trying to counteract them the best I can, and with my absolutely FABULOUS support system, it is not all that hard! As soon as I show signs of fear or disappointment in how things are going I seem to have a number of people step out of the shadows to pump up the support, and after my last blog, I have gotten a lot more hugs! THANK you, I really believe (and you can find this crazy or goofy if you want) that hugs are healing!
What am I thankful for?!?! Dr. Siegel's book, the doctor at work who loaned it to me, and my medical team who seems to follow many of the suggestions that this book puts out there! Also, I am forever thankful for my daycare and the ALL the wonderful teachers who are patient and kind to my children during this difficult time for our family, especially Mr. K (who is FABULOUS!=) He is the real deal!!), Ms. M (who cares for my youngest with one of the most patient and loving attitudes-and who can be tough when he needs it =)), and Ms. S who has been not only a director, but a friend and confidant! I LOVE you all!!!