All systems go: A new treatment plan in motion

What a day, nay- what a week.

At work we areĀ in the midst of the course registration frenzy. During this time there are a lot of time sensitive concerns, a high volume of varying needs, and general stress. On top of that all I can think about all week is:

1.) I need to stop hacking a lung or I might turn myself inside out.

2.) What treatment plan will provide for me the best quality of life

3.) Pizza (because pizza is usually at the forefront of my mind).

My supervisors and colleagues have been very sensitive to my recent and ongoing challenges and stepped up in a huge way to ensure that I could rest my body and ease my mind. I didn’t realize just how necessary it was to just decompress until I got home, got into bed, and felt all my insides just ache.

STILL Fixing a Broken Squeaker:

Today was a big day. First of all, the coughing has gotten out of hand and although I had some relief after the thoracentesis, I underwent a second this morning. After performing an ultrasound on both lungs they determined that the left side was STILL worse than the right side and they again drained from the left side.

No Farva, that’s not Liter-Cola, it’s another full liter of my tumor juice.

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Sheila, my now fancy nurse-navigator, was a doll and went with me to observe the procedure and wiped the tears from my eyes and goopy nose while I periodically whimpered. The PA that performed the procedure was VERY good and although it was still a difficult procedure to endure, it wasn’t as traumatizing as the first time.

There is still some fluid boppin’ around in there but I can certainly breathe even better now. Slowly, we’re making progress. I just pray to the good heavens above that I don’t have to have this procedure done again anytime soon. Two in one week is enough torture.

The Treatment Plan:

Prior to draining the pleural effusion from my chest, I met with Dr. Robison to carefully weigh out all of the treatment options we have in front us. After great consideration, we agreed that we would try pairing Avastin (an antibody) and Taxol (a commonly used chemotherapy that I’ve had previously). There is research to suggest that Avastin in combination with Taxol yields more promising results than Avastin alone. The decision to start with a chemo-combination as opposed to Avastin on its own was also heavily influenced by the amount of fluid that has been collecting in my chest. The Taxol should do a good job of drying that up. Eventually we will be able to taper off the chemo and only use Avastin. I do not have a timeline for this.

The up-sides:

  • Will provide good quality of life
  • Minimal side effects
  • I DON’T have to take it at home (it will be an outpatient infusion)
  • Treatment will occur at Women and Infant’s in Providence (less than a mile from my apartment)
  • I already know that I tolerate Taxol well

Moderate-Bummers:

  • At least for the first few months I will need infusions once per week (still not as bad as the first time)
  • I may lose my hair again. But even so- I know I have a nice round head and in the grand scheme of things feeling well trumps having hair.

With all of that being said we are wasting no time! My first treatment begins next Friday and I plan to be there with the ever handsome and delightful Cory Tysoe. Little does he know that he will just have to just watch me pass the eff out once they toss some Benedryl in the IV (Benedryl naps for life!). Cory- you should probably bring a book…

So in short, it’s been a BIG week of mixed experiences and emotions but I’m still full of fire and will do everything I can to claim my life as my own and NOT cancer’s chew toy.

Mom, Dad, Adam, Cory, family, and friends (I’d be typing names for decades, sorry). Thank you for always having my back, always believing in my ability to be well, and helping me to navigate and endure the ups and downs of this disease.

So much gratitude…

Jess