Saturday, November 1, 2008

One Down, Five To Go!

Whew! Check out those drugged up eyes! Let's see, it could have been from the Emend (for nausea), Tylenol, Adavan, Dexamethasone (steroid), Aloxi (nausea), Benadryl, Prevacid, I think that's it...and that is all pre-meds! All before the chemo even started! I took more drugs in that first hour than I have ever taken in my entire life! I'm a Tylenol and Motrin kind of girl, ya know. Our wonderful nurse, Renee, said they give you all these beforehand to suppress your body's reaction that it may have to the chemotherapy drugs. Well, that's a good thing I guess, but it knocked my butt out for about an hour! After all this stuff finished running in, the Herceptin started and my loading dose took 90 minutes. The subsequent doses will take 30 min-1 hr. Then the heavy-hitters, Taxotere (1 hr) and Carboplatin (30 mins) started. I guess I sailed right through it. I was up to pee probably 5 times while I was there, but in my defense, everything is ran through with saline and we were there 5 hrs! But it went just fine. Since it was Halloween, everybody was dressed up, Renee was a boy scout, and so there was a lot going on around us. The mood in the treatment center was light and positive, could be because that's how I felt too. Then we left and made our 3 hr drive home to our babies who had gone trick-or-treating with my parents. They had tons of candy and smiles all around, so good to come home to!

Before treatment started yesterday, we met with our drs. First the surgeon, who said the incision looked great and is healing nicely and gave us our beautiful path report that stated that no residual cancer had been found in what she re-excised. Praise God over and over! She also told us that after chemo and radiation our recurrence rate is only 5%! So low! And that she will be monitoring me with mammograms and breast mris from now on. Perfect. Then it was on to our oncologist and we had tons of question for him! Seriously, like a whole page full. So we talked for forever about them and then he told us that my echo that I had on Tuesday was a little off! What?! Well, yeah that's pretty much what they said, too. I guess a normal heart when it squeezes and pumps the blood out, will pump out anywhere from 50-75%, mine was pumping 50%. They said for someone older, it would be normal, but for a healthy 30 yr old who runs 30 miles a week, they were just really surprised. They said they didn't know why it was that way, but they are just going to monitor it very closely. They are going to do a repeat echo after my 3rd treatment. They are doing this because the Herceptin, the most crucial of the drugs I am taking, can cause this number to go down. And mine is already at the lower end of normal. So please be in super-prayer that either the first test was a fluke (they told me the test should take 45min-1 hr and it only took the tech 20 min), or that if it is right, that it is just my normal and that the Herceptin will have no effect on it. It is a small percentage that it will affect it, but it is possible. And this drug is the one that essentially makes my condition CURABLE. I am going to stay on my knees that there is only better numbers or no change for the next echo. So I now have a cardiologist on my team, too. I must say, though, that they are so thorough. I love knowing that I have a whole team on my! Are you ready for the third shocker of the day??! I know, how much more can you handle, right??! We were getting all our scripts filled there at the pharmacy in the treatment area (so handy) and our insurance company was denying payment of the $6000 (yeah not a typo) Neulasta shot that I have to have the day after chemo. It is to boost the white blood count that is beat down after chemo. So finally, about 30 mins before we were getting ready to leave, they sent approval, Praise Jesus!!!, but said that we would have to pay a percentage. Now our prescriptions are in tiers $15/30/45/60...but this shot is some sort of specialty drug and our part is $770 per shot! Oh my gosh! Yes, they totally paid the majority, but we were in no way prepared for this! And then all my other scripts were, or course, in the $60 tier, so by the time we had left we had wrote a check for $1000 worth of meds. Depressing. So worth it, but man! At least I only need 5 more of those Neulasta shots. I guess I will be getting good drugs for Christmas! Ha! But oh well! God will take care of us. God doesn't give us more than we can handle, and (BONUS!) He helps us handle what we have been given. Praise God!

The Lord has guided us through this entire experience. We have taken hold of His hand tightly and are not about to doubt what miracles He can perform. We are not wavering in unbelief, but believing that God will lead us through the fire, unscathed...and actually come out better on the other side. I am already a better and different person than I was 6 weeks ago. I have learned to put God first before ANYTHING and to trust Him without relationship with Jesus Christ has grown so much. I value my time with my family more, and I appreciate my friends for everything they have done for us. I have learned to completely rely on God and trust that He will provide.

"Thank you, Lord, for using cancer to draw me closer to You and put all my perspectives in the right place. Please let this time in our lives, as well as the rest of them, be used for your Glory and that others will be able to see you through me. In Jesus Precious Name I pray. Amen."


Healthnutcutie said...

Wow, what a full day. Rest, rest, rest. How awesome to have such a supportive team and family! I hope you don't feel to horrible and we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers over here, expecially with the heart, I have been in a similar heart-problem place before and things worked themselves out fine. God made our bodies and they are quite resilient machines! Love the haircut and you look great. Sending my big belly hugs ;-)

VeggieGirl said...

You can do it!!!!!!! :0)

Gina said...

you're amazing :D
keep up that positive attitude!!
i'm thinking about you and praying for you every day

Mrs. LC said...

Erica, your heart is so beautiful. What a great statement of faith, to just know and hold true that God will continue to provide, despite all these "obstacles" you seemed to have encountered. For a lot of people, the news about the insurance, the echo, let alone the cancer would have broken their faith. I can only hope that one day if/ when I go through such trials, I will have a shining faith and be filled with such a light and joyous spirit, just as you seem to be. :) I prayed for you multiple times yesterday, and am so glad to hear everything went well (more or less)! I will definitely continue to be praying for you, your health, the insurance/ finances for the meds, and your heart. :)

Wow, longest comment EVER! That's just how much you inspire me. :)

HangryPants said...

Reading your posts - you are so amazing! You have such a great attitude and make me feel more grateful for all I have!

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