It’s amazing what a little extra blood can do

Thursday, April 18, 2019. It was nice to have a week off from chemo, even though I never did feel like I fully recovered. I was tired and weak the entire time. Not like the last time I skipped a week, and I actually started to feel normal. I’m sure it’s the cumulative effects of the 12 chemo treatments I’d had so far catching up with me.

I did have a little adventure while I recuperated. I drove myself to Redwood Valley for a Saturday brunch with a few dear friends. I haven’t driven since I started chemo in early January, so admittedly I was a tiny bit nervous. Which for me was weird since I’ve been commuting long distances for 17 years. That said, I had a wonderful time. It is so healing to connect with people face-to-face and not have every conversation be about the “C” word. I was pretty worn out by the time I got home, but it was so worth it.

I had my third MRI on Monday. And since I had an appointment with Dr. Rugo and a chemo treatment scheduled the next day, Steve and I spent the night in Novato. We had to be at UCSF by 1p for my MRI, and I was feeling a bit anxious since my last MRI experience was not so great. So about half an hour before we arrived I took a half a Valium. I don’t know if it was the Valium or what, but everything went super smooth and for some reason didn’t seem to take as long.

We didn’t have to be at UCSF on Tuesday until 1140a, so we slept in and had a leisurely breakfast. Such a treat compared to getting up and having to leave our place by 8:30a for our 3-hour drive to the City.

My appointment with Rugo was scheduled for 1p…and she was actually, almost, right on time. That was a first. Up to that point, our shortest wait was an hour and a half. Her NP (nurse practitioner) this week was Sarah. Very likable. Big smile. Very thorough  and a good listener. The first thing we asked was if there were any preliminary results from the MRI. There weren’t. So that was disappointing. She did let me know that she was concerned about how low my red blood cells were. She recommended that I get a unit of blood, and said, with my permission, she would talk to Dr. Rugo about it. She informed me of the very rare risks of having the transfusion (especially since I would not be getting my own blood) and had me sign a release. I would be given the blood as part of my infusion. And I would be watched closely for any adverse reactions. I’ve never had a transfusion before, so the thought of it made me a little nervous. 

Our meeting with Dr. Rugo was pretty routine. We talked about the April 22 tumor board meeting and what we hoped the outcome would be. We all agreed that surgery was our top priority. Rugo did talk to me about the possibility of doing one or two more rounds of chemo after I had recovered from surgery for a couple weeks. However, it would be the really nasty stuff—Adriamycin and Cytoxin (AC). Honestly, I’m hoping it’s a decision I won’t have to make. The argument is that the Taxol/Carbo has not completely dissolved the tumor between the muscles, and the surgery might not get it all either. If it doesn’t, the cancer will return. AC would kill any remaining cancer cells. It’s a strong argument, but the side effects (both short- and long-term) are especially frightening. I don’t know if I can even go theresteve

So I got my infusion (#13), although a smaller dose of Carbo than normal. And I got some blood. Getting the blood added an hour and a half to my treatment time, so we didn’t leave the infusion center until 8p and got home just before 11p. LOOOOOONG Day. Getting the blood gave me an amazing energy boost for a couple of days. My renewed energy level did start diminishing on Thursday afternoon, but my typical “bad” Friday wasn’t so bad this week.

Next up. One final chemo on Tuesday (#14). More importantly, the tumor board meeting on Monday morning. Rugo said she would call me after and let me know the group’s consensus. Fingers crossed, they will recommend moving forward with surgery. I’ll keep you posted.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. — Martin Luther King Jr.


4 Replies to “It’s amazing what a little extra blood can do”

  1. Fingers and toes crossed, lots of positive energy circling your shrinking tumor, and the recommendation from the board that you are now ready for surgery without any more chemo. This makes total sense as you have done plenty already to make this happen. Love you both. 💗

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