Treatment Update

I’ve waited to update until I had more than a line of information to give you all. 

Today (10-3) we drove back home from Roanoke so we could go to a consult with Dr. Greene. Although she doesn’t need any more gynecologic surgery at this time, she does need to have a minor operation to get her mediport. So we met with him and got that scheduled. He said that it absolutely makes it better (especially for your veins!) and that if he should ever get cancer, the very first thing he’d do is get a mediport.

He told us that there is a 1% chance that a collapsed lung can happen with this procedure, but that it’s not serious, not fatal, and is more of an annoyance (but a fixable one). Which they’d fix right away, of course. He likened it to the policy many stores have: “you break it, you buy it”, except for them, it’s, “we break it, we fix it”.  And, that he hasn’t had this happen in 5+ years.

Tomorrow morning, we go down to the hospital for pre-op lab work. This includes a CBC, Metabolic panel, an x-ray (I believe), and an EKG.

Sometime on Thursday afternoon, we’ll get a call telling us what time to be at the hospital on Friday morning for the surgery. There’s a chance she could get prepped 1-2 hours before the surgery even starts, although since she’s supposed to be one of the first operations, that is unlikely.

Also on Friday, we’ll go to an imaging center, which is in the Wellmont network, to get her baseline CT. Dr. Abu-Rustum told us that, of course, they’ll see a little bit of tumor left from before, but it shouldn’t be any more than there was immediately post-op, and not to worry. This is her starting point CT which they’ll compare the next 8 to (every 3 months for 2 years). 

We check in at 2PM for the CT, and it should be started by 2:30PM. Her operation has to be done and she has to be clear to start drinking her contrast drink by 12:30PM. Dr. Greene said an advantage to having the port done first is that he can leave the access point open, and they can inject the medicine for the CT through the port rather than having to stick her. (Right now, her arms are completely healed from all the bruising she sustained in the ER, ICU, and her regular room in August). 

Barring any complications with the above, she will start her chemo way too early on Tuesday morning (10/10). Originally, they wanted us to come in at ten to eight, and I begged for a later start date. That we’d have a hard time telling if she was feeling ill from the chemo or just because it was way too early in the day for us. So they bumped us up an hour. (Better than nothing!) 🙂

As a reminder, she’ll be getting gemzar and docetaxel. Dr. Musgrave told us she’d have chemo on Day 1, Day 8, then a week off, then start over. Day 9 may include a shot (this would end up being the patch version: Neulasta) to keep her white blood cell count up. I’ve read from a lot of people that this is an expensive, painful (bone-painful) shot. I’ve also read an account from a woman who has the same type of cancer (in remission since 2014) who only had to have the shot once, and then was able to keep her WBC count up with diet and exercise. So, that’s our goal! 

For a clear explanation of Day 1, 8, etc, from what we’ve been told, our understanding is that the first cycle would be 10/10, 10/17, off. 10/31 would start the second cycle. 

What we don’t know yet is how many cycles of chemo Teresa will be having. 

Before chemo starts on Tuesday, T will have blood work done, and we will have chemo education. We were told that if we can work it out, we can have the education done before Tuesday. An idea which I like, because that will give us time to think of questions to ask on the actual day, instead of thinking of questions after we leave from having the chemo done. So, we’ll try to do that (earlier education) if possible. 

As soon as I learn more about duration of the chemo, I will let you all know. 

For local-to-Abingdon friends, we will be in town until the chemo is done on 10/10. Then, as long as everything goes well, we will go back to my parents’ house in Roanoke. So, if you want to get together, come by the apartment, etc, to see Teresa, please let us know, either in email or on Facebook private messaging. 

If you have a cold, or anything else contagious, though, we ask you to catch-up via telephone instead. We don’t want to risk having to delay the start of the chemo. If you don’t have our home number, please let me know and I’ll send it to you privately.

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