Yesterday I received the first dose of the 2nd part of the new protocol. Confused? Don’t worry, Ted can’t even keep it straight. When my original chemotherapy (Taxotere, Perjeta and Herceptin) didn’t agree with me after 2 (of 6) rounds, the oncologist switched me to a new protocol, which is comprised of 4 rounds of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, followed by 12 rounds of Taxol, Perjeta and Herceptin.
My day actually started very early…with a 3 am wake up to catch a 5:30 am flight from LAX to San Jose. I was in Santa Barbara for a meeting on Thursday, but needed to be back in time for an appointment with Dr. Priya at 8:40, followed by chemo at 9:45. Because I was early, I started my chemo early at 9:15, which was a very good thing. I was in the infusion center for 9 hours!
The infusion always starts with saline, and pre-meds. This time the pre-meds were Benedryl and Pepcid, both of which are supposed to help with the Taxol. That was followed by Decadron, a steroid, which I’ve been getting each treatment. Next was Perjeta, which I received at my very first treatment back in the end of January. It’s also the reason I am having chemo before surgery; Perjeta is approved for insurance if given before surgery, but not after. The Perjeta was given as if I was receiving it for the first time – slowly, and I had an hour waiting period to ensure I didn’t have an adverse reaction. Then I was given Herceptin, followed by Taxol. And, of course, magnesium. The 2 hour infusion of magnesium didn’t start until 3:40, and by the time it finished, and then the wrapup of flushing my port and Heparin all finished, it was 6:15.
Dr. Priya decided to go “all in” and give me the full loading doses of Perjeta and Herceptin. Velia, Dr. Priya’s nurse, came by the infusion center and said that she expressed skepticism to Dr. Priya about the wisdom of that. She said, “You weren’t here when Caroline went through this last time…” (Dr. Priya was on leave for the first 3 months of my treatments.) Basically, Velia thought that Dr. Priya was crazy to try it. We’ll see who’s right!
Today I’m feeling great, but I know from experience that if I start to feel poorly it’s about 3 days later. On the other hand, I also know what to expect, what I should and shouldn’t be eating, how to handle the diarrhea and/or nausea if it starts, so my hope is that things may be okay. I do feel fortunate that the Adriamycin/Cytoxan treatments went so well that I was able to continue working with few incidents and go on my business trips. My trip to Charleston was highly successful on many fronts. We had successful business meetings, did a little sightseeing in the pouring rain to Fort Sumter, and transported 2 cats home! I am involved in animal transport in my spare time as a volunteer, and I love it. One cat was a military reunification, and the other was an outright adoption of a kitty from New York. My next trip isn’t until August now, although work is heating up with a go-live date of July 15 for a database conversion.
At my appointment with Dr. Priya, I asked her if she’d had a chance to discuss with the tumor board about shortening the Taxol treatments from 12 weeks. She said there was general agreement that it could be shorter, but how much shorter is the question. She said that it would be at least 8 weeks, but that she was leaning more towards 10 weeks. It will depend on how well I tolerate the Taxol. So let’s hope I do well, and that there are no complications so that the Taxol treatments can be 10 weeks long rather than 12. If you recall, I have a vacation scheduled in September, and would love to be as far past my surgery as possible when I go to Maui. I know, first world problems…but I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to some relaxing, healing time in Maui.
It will be interesting having chemo weekly. Cramps my life a little, but it is what it is. Let’s just hope I tolerate Taxol well!