Gotta keep on keepin' on.......

Cancer again...that's 3 times in 2 years. This time it’s not breast cancer, but a new one called squamous cell carcinoma. New cancer, same old fighting spirit! My blog is still named for one of many songs that kept me going the first time around. Driving home from an upsetting appointment, I turned on the radio just as this line from Steve Miller Band's Jet Airliner was playing: "I've got to keep on keepin' on"....so I did just that. And I'll do it again.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

And the surgeon says....

he agrees with my oncologist. Let's continue with chemo, since my response has been so good thus far. The lymph node in my armpit is now hard to find, the mass in my breast has shrunk from about 5.6cm to 2cm (that's just the dense tissue part....the cancerous part inside it was originally only about 2.7cm, so imagine how tiny the cancer is now! For background on tumor size/type/etc, see How I Found My Cancer.)

Everything is responding so well, they want to continue with the 4th treatment of the strong stuff (Adriamycin and Cytoxin, or A/C) and then move on to another drug called Taxol. And THEN, after I complete all 8 treatments, they'll do a lumpectomy (at this pace it's likely, said the surgeon, instead of a partial or full mastectomy) and also remove the lymph nodes in my left armpit. And then I'll have radiation. Probably.

Or at least that's the plan for now. It's different from the original plan: I don't remember anyone saying they'd definitely remove the lymph nodes. I thought it was a possibility, but now it sounds like a probability. I also don't remember "radiation" in any discussions, but a lot after my Sept 5th diagnosis is a little blurry. But whatever....at least we have a plan.

I'm not exactly sure I'm thrilled about continuing with all chemo up front. I was kind of hoping to get a break in between and do the surgery followed by the last 4 chemo treatments. Not that surgery is exactly a "break", but you know what I mean! At least this way, my husband reminds me, I'll get all the chemo over with so that after surgery all I have to do is recuperate. And I do get a 3-week break in between the 4th and 5th treatments, thanks to Thanksgiving. There's a bright side, too!

Speaking of bright sides, here are a few. Thought I'd end on a happy note:

  • The next chemo drug, called Taxol, is supposed to be easier on my stomach than the A/C. Hopefully that means fewer crackers, more lasagne! I have not been able to tolerate Italian food (my favorite) since chemo started.

  • My treatments fall nicely around Christmas and New Years, so I can enjoy somewhat normal holidays.

  • I still have my eyebrows!

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