(For those of you on facebook, this may go back through some things you've already seen posted there, but I wanted to do a more detailed blog post for those who may not read things there.)
The biopsy was done on 12/20, and then I had what felt like the longest wait ever to get results. Thankfully, mom, dad, and I had already had a trip planned where we flew to Barcelona, Spain and then visited Morocco, the Canary Islands, Madeira, and some other locations in Spain before flying back out of Barcelona. It was a wonderful trip and allowed me to put cancer in the back of my mind while on excursions at least. I still checked my voicemail and email every day to see if I had gotten any information, but if I'd been at home, it would have been excruciating. Five minutes after landing at JFK, I missed the call from my oncologist as my phone was on silent. So, on the way to customs, I was trying to get the voicemail and then call my cancer center back. When I finally got through to them after multiple dropped calls, my oncologist had already left, but they offered to text her for me. This was late Friday afternoon, and she called me back very quickly (just one of the many reasons that I am so thankful for and love my oncologist). She answered my questions as the voicemail had cut some of her message off and alleviated my fears (as much as one can at this time).
My oncologist seems to strongly believe that our new plan should be able to get fickle NED to come back around with good results. The plan is 2 fold -- 1 is a set of shots called Faslodex to control the estrogen and 2 is a pill, Ibrance, that is supposed to keep cells from dividing. The combo together in a clinical trial showed about double the length of average progression free survival from taking the shots alone. My first Faslodex was yesterday, Tuesday, and I was very nervous about it. You would think with everything I've been through that I'd be used to needles, but I really hate them; so, I was wide awake at 4:45 yesterday morning fretting about the shots and classes starting that day. The shots are thick and there are lots of directions to keep in mind such as making sure they are warm, they are administered slowly over a minute, and that you walk afterwards to help the drug move. Honestly, the needle in my hand to take the bloodwork ended up being worse than the shots themselves. I sang hymns in my head while it was administered, and while it wasn't fun, it was nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined.
Meanwhile, I've still been fighting the jetlag from not getting home Saturday morning until 1:45 am and not getting to sleep until after 3:45 am. Well, let me tell you, it all caught up with me yesterday afternoon. It was like the stress left me and boy, did I feel tired. I had plans in the evening that I had to leave early as I was literally falling asleep at the table. While fatigue can be a side effect of the shots, I really think it was just the jetlag and stress finally catching up with me. The 11 hours of sleep last night definitely helped with that some.
For the pill, we expected it to take a while, but it got approved pretty quickly. I should receive and begin it tomorrow/Thursday. It will be 21 days on and then 7 days off. It is considered a targeted therapy & not a traditional chemo, but it can cause side effects such as fatigue and low white blood cell counts which are the primary two of concern to me. My white blood cells were in a good range yesterday; so, I'm praying that I am not greatly impacted by either of those. Thankfully, I'm starting from much better health than before; so, I hope this regimen will go well and be very successful. Still appreciate the thoughts and prayers, though!