5th and Last!

Chemo

My fifth and last chemo was today. Bright and early. I needed to be in Denver by 7:00 a.m. which meant leaving here at 5:30 a.m. I sang along with Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs and realized just how meditative that could be. It is all about paying attention to breathing, letting right brain take over, watching thoughts go by and paying little attention to them, and generally moving in the direction of bliss. This is what I have loved about singing, and I don’t do enough of it now.

Dr. G came in and gave me a scare by saying that after today I’d be 87% done. And I was like, “No, wait, last time you said I could do five, not six.” So we got that straightened out. As a follow-up I’ll have a CT scan in three weeks, he said, just to verify progress. Today’s CA-125 was 9, about 1.5 up from my last testing, but still in the low range of “normal” which is 0 – 35.

He also said the tumor tested as HRT positive or HST positive, something like that, which meant that it was very responsive to chemo. And if it recurred in the future, Dr. G would use an oral chemo instead of the infusion. But we both said that that wasn’t going to happen.

News from the Week

Exercise Physiologist

This last week I saw my exercise physiologist twice. Joanne. She is awesome. She has been working exclusively with cancer patients since 2000. I have picked up a lot of good info from her, as well as enjoying the time, and learning new things. And getting my body strengthened back up. We’ll really hit it hard in another week or so after all the chemo is done. I had to laugh a little bit when looking at myself in the mirror and doing arm work and said, “I have little chicken wing arms now!” And she said, “Yes you do. But we’re going to take care of that.” Overall, she is like all the other practitioners who are really happy with my unusually good progress.

Mistletoe IV

I had also scheduled a mistletoe IV on the same day, as both locations are very close. A parking lot separates them. So, very close. We keep upping the dose.

Also I have gotten back my Biofocus results which show how effective different strains of mistletoe are in my own body. Sounds like Helixor is the one to go with.

I have to say, it is a bit hard to sit in the infusion room there, as it is set up much more communally than the one at the hospital. Therefore a person can sit and chat with others.

And frankly, some of their stories are shocking and a bit scary.

This time one woman is 11 years out from her appendix cancer diagnosis, and had a relapse 6 years ago, has had 7 surgeries, and is still fighting to keep it knocked down. She had been a music educator so we had that in common.

Last time another woman was 15 years out from her ovarian cancer diagnosis, and she was saying how she’s had 93 chemo treatments! But now her bone marrow won’t tolerate any more chemo, so she’s doing mistletoe.

I’m glad on one hand to be starting this process now, rather than much further on down the line. But at the same time, it is frightening to imagine “managing” this cancer for 15 years!!! At least not “managing” it with chemo. I’d much rather manage it with integrative medicine and overall good health. Prayers and positive vibes would be welcome in this direction.

Friends

On my two trips to the Boulder area I have had the privilege of seeing two of my friends: Elizabeth, artist extraordinaire, and Maria, with whom I grew up, and who bought from my parents, and lives in now, the house I grew up in. It is so nice to have those connections and support through this experience. Maria and her husband Yanni are preparing to sell said house and downsize now that their kids are grown. So it’s nice to have the opportunity to have a few last good-byes to the old place. I hope the new owners love and appreciate it and grow their young family happily in it. They will be the fourth owners.

Wig Shopping

I had an appointment for a better wig last week. I had a one hour fitting with Probasco’s in Loveland. Matriarch Probasco herself helped me. Our families go WAY back through a church connection in Fort Collins, so many reminiscences were had. I am happy with the wig. It feels a lot more like me than the one I was able to get for free from the American Cancer Society. I will use it in professional settings as I am getting back to work. It was costly, *and* I’m viewing it as a work / money earning investment. Madame Probasco said often insurance will pay for a “cranial prosthesis” (I almost wrote prophylactic! 😳 Can you imagine?!  😂) Insurance paying would be welcome! I will check with my primary care physician to see if she will write a prescription for it.

Practical Detail

And last but not least, I’ve been working a bit with Grant at his company Practical Detail helping him think through and schedule the work that is lined up ahead. We are grateful there is plenty coming down the pipe. And because of that, being realistic about estimating steps, and time to complete those steps will be super helpful. I get to use my CM (Construction Management) minor in this, as Scheduling was one whole class. It is a very skilled art. Generally they say, do a good, thoughtful estimate of what you think it will take, and then double it, or maybe even triple it. And if you have to open up a wall or a ceiling to do some work all bets might be off because you NEVER know what you will find. Fun.

Funds

So again, the Fundly site was going to be harder than we thought, and has been cancelled, so you can forget that. I do appreciate receiving your support in the form of moolah, aka $. It helps so much while I’m waiting for long-term disability (LTD)  insurance to, I hope, kick in. Grateful for Grant, my Dad, Grant’s folks, and so many others who have supported in a variety of ways. As I said, luckily Grant’s business has plenty of work in the pipeline. And maybe in a month or so I can start getting my private practice up and going again. Or go for a part-time, low adrenaline job, or maybe even a full-time low adrenaline job. We’ll see.

Still no movement on the records necessary for the LTD to be able to evaluate my claim. If you are a praying sort, or a positive visualization sort, or anything of the kind, can you send out some positive energy to the medical records people? I am getting the impression that they are severely overworked. Thanks!

Bell

There is a big brass bell on the wall of the infusion center that is for people to ring when they have had their last infusion of their treatment. Today was the day for me to ring it! One of my Mom’s best friends, Dianne, came and spent the end of my infusion with me, and was there to witness the Bell Ringing, as well as the Certificate of Completion that was given to me by the nurses in the infusion center. I wasn’t expecting that. Having  Dianne there was comforting. And I realized that I’ve bookended this process with my fiancé Grant and one of my best friends Kelley at the first chemo, and one of my Mom’s best friends at the last chemo. I like that.

Celebrating

For celebrating the end of this process (I really intend to NEVER have 93 chemos! I intend to stop right here!) Grant and I had dinner at the Himalayan Bistro in Fort Collins. Yum! I was good and skipped the rice, lentil soup, and sigh, naan. Love naan. But I was being good, and that means at least Paleo if not Keto. Then we came home and had a little organic red wine, Our Daily Red, and toasted, by me: “An end to cancer,” and by Grant “It has been a sacred, challenging, and wonderful journey in many ways.”

Now to continue celebrating with a good night’s sleep.

2 thoughts on “5th and Last!

  1. PATRICIA A. MCNULTY August 17, 2018 — 4:28 pm

    CONGRATS, ANDREA (AND GRANT). REST WELL DESERVED.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci beaucoup Patou!

      Like

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