Wednesday, 27 February 2013

It's all getting a bit real now.

Ah. After two days of feeling like absolute rubbish I finally feel better!

Yesterday was a really crappy day. I woke up at 4:30 with my whole side aching. I stumbled in the dark to find some panadol and went back to bed. When I woke up a few hours later I discovered why I had been, and still was, in so much pain. My whole side was swollen, from under my arm down to the bottom of my ribs where my drain tube comes out. It was so bad that i could hardly keep my arm at my side. I tried emptying my drain bulb but fluid started dripping down my side from the top of the drain. We were scheduled to see my surgeon that morning to have my drain removed but when he saw me he said the drain needed to stay in and sent me up to the nurse to have her unblock it. She unblocked it very quickly and in about 10mins over 100ml came out! The swelling started to go down but I was still extremely sore, slightly nauseous, and very tired.

From the hospital we headed into the city to meet with an ivf doctor to discuss the possibility of harvesting and freezing my eggs, before starting chemo. The doctor was lovely and sent us both for blood tests and asked me to have some other tests done during the week, but I was still so tired and sore that I found it hard to concentrate on what he was saying. What i did take note of was that our parking in the city, for an hour and fifteen minutes, cost us $57! I guess compared to the cost of ivf it isn't much though. I ended up sleeping the whole drive home, had an hour nap in the afternoon, and spent the rest of the day on the lounge, but still felt pretty terrible. The silver lining to the day was that my surgeon told me I can now drive AND pick up little birdie which I was very happy about. She had been at home with my parents while we were out. As soon as I walked in the door I picked her up and hugged her and she didn't want to let me go. I think she was as happy as I was. I also got to put her to bed all by myself and she was an absolute angel.

First thing this morning I had to go for a bone scan. That meant having an injection and 2 hours later having the scan done, which took 45 minutes. The rest of the day I was still tired and sore and cold and grumpy. I kept thinking 'if I feel this terrible from just being swollen, how bad am I going to feel once i start chemo?'. Anyway, I finally started feeling better when my husband cooked me a beautiful dinner.

Earlier this week we met my oncologist to discuss my chemo and radiation treatment. He was absolutely lovely and even came in on his day off to meet with me urgently. He explained that I will have 6 rounds of chemo, three weeks apart, followed by 6 weeks of radiation, 15 mins a day. I will also receive herceptin every three weeks for 12 months. He explained that herceptin attacks a protein on the surface of the cancer, which my surgeon had already told me. My surgeon was happy that i could be treated with herceptin but he hadnt told me that cancer that can be treated with herceptin (refered to as her2+ cancer) is actually more aggressive than her2- cancer that can't be. He also seemed a lot more concerned about the 'biology' and aggressiveness of my cancer than my surgeon had been. He kept making the point that the cancer had spread to 9 of my lymph nodes which I knew, but hadn't really thought about.

We also discussed the ivf treatment before starting chemo but he said he couldn't wait more than 4 weeks to begin chemo so it might not be a possibility. He will speak with the ivf doctor once he has my test results and they will coordinate things and let us know if it can be done. On the subject of ivf he also said there were 'ethical' issues to consider in regards to having another baby when there's a chance my cancer could come back. That was something I was not expecting to hear. I think that was when things really started to sink in.

Things are starting to feel a bit more 'real' now. Hopefully by this time next week I will know what is happening with the ivf and chemo. I'm sure I will feel better then.

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