It's now been a month since my surgery and everything is happening. I am healing really well and have close to full movement in my arm again, yesterday I started my ivf injections, i start chemo in just under two weeks time, and we have even started work on the front yard of our house.
We spent a day in the city last week organising all my ivf treatment. First we met with the Genea nurse who explained the whole process and how things worked. Then we met with a patient liaison who explained the financial side of things. This was followed by my husband and I being sent for more tests and then a meeting with our ivf Doctor. After everything we had been told about the process and the cost of ivf that morning I was beginning to wonder if we had made the right decision in delaying chemo to freeze my eggs. My oncologist told me that chemo only decreases fertility by 15% so I started to think that maybe we would be better off trying to fall pregnant naturally in the future and if we had trouble that we could then do ivf. Just as I thought this, my doctor told me that he had received some of my test results and that my egg count was actually very low. According to my age I should have 10-20 eggs but apparently I only have 2.3 (how i have .3 of an egg i don't know) which means we won't be able to harvest as many eggs as he was hoping. Hearing this immediately made me know that we were doing the right thing. Yes it is going to be two weeks of injections, plenty of blood tests and ultrasounds, and a fair bit of money, but if it means we can give Little Birdie a little brother or sister one day then it is definitely worth it.
On Monday I had my chemo orientation, another blood test for ivf, and a heart ultrasound. I was the only person there for the orientation so it was great and obviously very personal. The nurse explained to me what drugs I will be given and all their side effects. I had no idea that there were different types of chemo, I just thought chemo was chemo, but apparently not. Even for breast cancer there are different drugs used depending on the type of cancer. The nurse explained i will be having TCH- Docetaxel (T) Carboplatin (C) Trastuzumab (H) and also explained the side effects of each drug. Everyone knows about the hair loss and nausea, but there were also some side effects that i wasn't really aware of, like nail damage, which they help treat by putting your hands in giant frozen gloves for the first hour of treatment. I honestly though she was joking when she told me that but she wasn't. She also told me some scarier things, like how I will be susceptible to viruses between 5 and 10 days after each chemo treatment, and that if I do get a fever of over 38 degrees, i will have to go straight to hospital and possibly spend a few days in there. After the orientation I went to my heart ultrasound. One of the side effects of herceptin (Trastuzumab) is that it can affect your heart muscle, so this ultrasound was to establish a base measurement. Really it was just like a regular ultrasound but on your chest. The strangest thing was that I couldn't feel it at all as she was scanning right around my scar. I hadn't even realised she had started until I looked down.
As I said earlier, I started my ivf injections yesterday. For the moment I will inject myself with a hormone once a day. Every few days I have to go for a blood test and an ultrasound. Once the nurses receive the results they will tell me what to do next. The whole thing kinda feels like some spy operation. I just have to wait for their call to know what to do next. At some point I will start having a second injection a day, and then I will eventually be told to take my 'trigger'. 36 hours later I will go in to have my eggs harvested, then fertilised and frozen. I'm just hoping all the timings work out and chemo isn't delayed again.
I decided to take some photos of my scar today, one month post mastectomy, to compare with the ones I took the day after my surgery, and have included them below. As before, I have included a photo of little birdie first as a buffer so you can avoid looking if you like. I hadn't realised how much worse it all looks now compared to a month ago. You can see that I am a lot more swollen than I was back then but I really do feel much better. I'm not even bothered by how it looks either, but i kinda wish i had had a full bilateral mastectomy though. I'm not a fan of wearing my prosthesis, and if I had done both sides then i wouldn't have to wear it and wouldn't be so massively lop sided. The most important thing is that my surgeon is very happy with how things look so I don't have to see him for another three months, which has to be a good sign.
Tomorrow I will have my first blood test since starting ivf but then I will be taking little birdie to the park to meet up with some friends which I am very excited about.