Well, today was the day. All of my questions were answered, all of my concerns addressed, and now we go full speed ahead. My doctor, Dr. V, was compassionate, empathetic, and reassuring. I think she is a good match for me to work with on this journey.
What does this journey entail? Well, we are hitting the ground running. I have 2 prescriptions called into the pharmacy: zofran and lidocaine. Zofran is for the expected nausea, and lidocaine is to numb the area of my port before my infusions. I have a STAT order for my port to be placed with preference by the end of next week. Once I have my appointment for my port placement, I have to get some blood tests no sooner than 7 days prior. After my port is placed, I will start chemo within a few days.
My chemo regimen will be with FOLFOX. On Day 1, I’ll have a 4hr infusion, then 46 hours of a take home pump infusion. On Day 3, I return to the center to have my pump disconnected. Days 3-14 no chemo meds. Somewhere around day 12-14 I will have blood tests to make sure it’s safe to continue the next cycle as planned. Rinse, repeat for 6mos. Thankfully the cancer center is 1.9 miles away. I could probably walk if I feel well and daring. Maybe I’ll just swipe Colette’s electric scooter :) If all goes as planned and on schedule, I should be done with treatments near the end of July.
What happens when treatments are done you ask? The goal of this treatment is “curative.” This does not mean that in 6mos this will all be behind me. It does mean that I will continue to be monitored with scans and bloodwork to catch anything suspicious early. Dr. V indicated that the most precarious time is up to 3yrs post-treatment. Once I get to 5yrs post-treatment, the chances of recurrence are drastically reduced. I won’t be sporting “I beat cancer”paraphernalia, but I do intend to celebrate cancer-free milestones and anniversaries. As clinical as it sounds, I almost want to be more accurate and say “no evidence of disease” anniversaries. Jonathan’s list of days to spoil me just got longer: birthday, Mother’s Day, wedding anniversary, and now NED days. Time to open a running tab at See’s :)
Things that were planned that are hard to let go of: a 20th wedding anniversary trip in March, a LaCour family trip to France, and the Rivian R1S that we had ready for delivery in November, but must continue to be postponed. Yes, I know. Shallow and privileged.
I’m sure there will be a few more things to grieve as we find out how my body reacts to treatment. I’m not allowing myself to anticipate or make any assumptions, and honestly I wouldn’t really know where to start.
On an encouraging note, Dr.V seems to think heading out to the desert on Days 4-12 wouldn’t pose a problem as long as I feel well enough to get out there. I was thinking maybe I wouldn’t have that luxury, but I’m thankful that I do. Again, I know. Privileged. I am set up with all of the things and all of the access that I need which too many other people are not.
While I’m not sure I’m fully theologically aligned with the following prayer, I do find comfort in it:
Dear Lord, I ask for grace to endure the challenge that is before me. You know I want to live. You know, I don’t want my body to change. You know, I don’t want to be sick. You also know why I must meet this challenge, why I must go down this frightening path. I want to avoid it. I want the doctors to tell me the diagnosis was wrong. I want my life back the way it was. I do not understand … But I know if I put my hand in Yours, You will guide me. You will give me courage. You will comfort me. I ask for Your grace now and forever. Amen. ——Anne Thompson, from The Notre Dame Book of Prayer
I will continue to look for peace and comfort in words, wisdom, and friendship. I think that’s about all I can do at this point. Onward…