Greetings, fabulous people, thank you for all the good wishes as I sit here for Chemo #2...the nurses think it's hysterical that I am "live blogging" my chemo. Not too many young people in here and I don't think this happens often.
Great news to report today -- I didn't have a reaction to the Paclitaxel, one of the two chemotherapy drugs I am receiving. I had a reaction during my first cycle and if it happened again it could mean I would not receive this drug. And as I said to my oncology nurse, I want all the cancer killing chemicals they will give me! Two possible reasons why... I changed my regime and took a dose of steroids last night, not just in the morning, as I did last cycle. And I started on a slow drip rate that was gradually increased during the day, which reduces reaction rates. Because of the slow drip rate, the Paxil takes four hours to infuse. Now, at 4pm, I am starting on the Carboplatin, which has fewer side effects and is a much faster drip. I hope we get all these drugs in my system by 7 pm, when the Chemo center closes. It's a long day, and my butt is sore.
Today I used a smaller cold cap and got my hair wet to increase the chill effect, so even though I lost a fair amount of hair last go round, I have high hopes I will lose less hair this time. My main goal is to keep enough hair to look OK for JJ's wedding (and the pictures that will be around for decades)!! My oncologist said it's too early to be 100% but it looks good that I can attend his wedding in Anchorage, Alaska on June 4th. It will be four weeks after treatment #2, so I have an extra week to rest up. It means delaying Chemo #3 for a week but Dr. A assures me there is no loss in efficacy with a one week delay and she understands why it's so important to go. I will have blood work a few days before our scheduled flight and it a looks good we will go. Back to the hair loss: I have decided that each hair represents a dead cancer cell and that makes all the lost hairs easy to let go. It's a tangible sign of progress. Enough of the nitty-gritty on my treatment -- let me tell you about our big week.
My parents arrived 10 days ago and we have been really busy. Thankfully, they arrived just as I was perking back up so we could make the most of their visit. We visited all the iconic Oxford sights: St Mary't tower, Radcliff Camera, Sheldonian Theater's famous heads, Ashmolean Muesum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Natural History Museum, Blackwells bookshop, and toured New College (founded in 1379, that cracks me up) and Balliol College. We had a fabulous day punting on the Cherwell River in Ox. Possibly best of all, I spent Mother's Day (the US version; we had the UK celebration 6 week ago) with my Mom. She took me shopping for dresses to wear to JJ and Nahanni's wedding.
Farther afield, we went blue bell hunting at Wytham Woods, Oxford's research forest. A special thanks to Shelly, who drove us and took great family portraits among the flowers. Shelly has an amazing blog about all things Oxford and beyond, but she had never seen the blue Bells at Wytham, so I was delighted we could give her an excuse to finally check that off her list. We took the bus to London to visit the Imperial War Museum, Jim's must-see museum. Bruce drove us to the Cotswolds for a day's walk in Upper and Lower Slaughter, Burton on the Water, and Burford. We saw lovely stone cottages and many baby lambs. He also drove to Bletchly Park, site of the amazing effort to crack the German Enigma code. We were all humbled to see the sparse working condition of great men like Alan Turing. If you have not watched "The Imitation Game", watch it now. It was great to have the energy to live large! When I am feeling tired the rest of this week and really yucky with neuropathy on days 7-10 next week, it will be great to look back and remember how much we did together. Thanks, Mom and Jim, for making the big trip to support me. I know you are reluctant travelers and this was a hard trip. But we made great memories.
Hugs to you all and thanks for all the good wishes,