Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The next phase of chemo

I thought that today was going to be the last day of the usual herceptin dose and the last day of the 18 weeks of hard chemo.  Instead, it was the first day of high-dose herceptin that I will get every three weeks through October.  It is quite exciting to be in this next phase of chemo and to think about no chemo next Wednesday.  The only side effect that I am suffering with this heavy dose of herceptin is heavy drowsiness.  I took a nap this afternoon, and I am still feeling sluggish in the brain.  But hey, I'll take this side effect any day over the multitude of bummers I dealt after the other chemotherapies.

Despite the absence of chemotherapy next Wednesday, I am not free from my oncologist that day.  My T9 vertebral body biopsy is scheduled for 9 am next Tuesday, and I will get the results from Dr. Oncologist the next day (Wednesday).  I also have to go in Monday for blood work, to be sure my platelets are at least 100 before the procedure.  Let's graph those platelets now (shown at right) so that you can see why we expect them to be 100 by next week.  Dates are along the x-axis, and I don't remember what the unit of measure for platelets is but that unit is the y-axis.  For the sake of clarity, I'm only graphing the last half of chemotherapy, which is the only time we've been in the platelet danger zone (gray area).  As always, the hard chemos are arbitrarily graphed at a value of 100, and the easy (herceptin only) chemos are graphed at zero.

I am awfully nervous about the results of this bone biopsy.  I'm going to try and stay distracted until then.  I plan to go to work tomorrow, Friday, and Monday (unless there are other federal holidays that I've forgotten about), and the girls and I are going to get out of town and do something special this weekend.  Maybe go to the state historical museum?  Who knows.  Anything to stay away from the precipice of tears that I teetered on last weekend. 

Poke tally:

"port"  20
right arm 7
tummy  6
left arm  5
left breast  1
superior vena cava 1


  1. today I received a chain mail message, but I thought that parts of the quote embedded in the email was worth sharing:

    May today there be peace within.

    May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are.

    Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

  2. Yay! I'm the first to comment :)

    You are so brave. I know you are nervous but think about it: You birthed two babies without drugs and look at all you've gone through already. This is yet another stepping stone on your road to recovery and it will be over before you know it. Think of all you've done this last week already? Pretty cool how productive you are with your are amazing!

  3. I'm relieved that the hard chemo is in the past. I'm glad that you are taking some time to enjoy your wonderful children and stretches of life as usual. I'm so sorry that you are struggling with upcoming surgery and biopsy. I can't imagine how scary that would be, but I am thinking about you all the time and sending you strength. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I love you.

  4. Jesus is our oxygen tank when we dive into those deeper waters. Sharks will probably attack, after all deeper waters in the last place the enemy wants you. Our fears can keep us living comfortably and safely on the surface, but it is when we go deeper that we see the miracles and majesty of Jesus.

  5. Heather and family, Know that thoughts, prayers and hugs are with you and your family these next few weeks, as they have been throughout your journey since October. I'm in awe of your strength and resilience. Truly an Asman through and through:) One of my favorite sayings describes you perfectly: "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass; instead it's about learning to dance in the rain." Take time for yourself. The Waukee Hall's

  6. Hang in there Heather! I'm sure this waiting game is awful but soon you'll have some more answers! And meanwhile, it sounds wonderful to take the weekend and enjoy the time with your girls by doing something unique and fun.

    Also, on a side note, it takes a true nerd to deem going to a museum a fun weekend getaway ;) Love it.


  7. Over in the meadow, in the grass by the sun . . .

    I just found all the foam puzzle pieces that E, the distributor, placed around the house. Last one found in a monkey cup on the kids' dish shelf. Miss those misses! I love that you're going to get out and do something fun this weekend. The historical museum is a favorite. My fiber arts mailing list tells me there is a display of crazy quilts there currently!

    I just wanted to let you know that lots of people who do not read your blog are thinking of you. R from IA called today to offer his platelets to you - if you need them. Also, inquiring about you and the fam. You guys are such a heros to so many people. I hope that all our love is lifting you all up and helping you to feel filled with hope and courage. Your family is. . . . some kind of wonderful.

    . . . So they jumped and were happy in the meadow in the sun :-)

  8. excerps from Heather's published journal of our 1994 family vacation to Yellowstone (Heather age 13, Holly 12, Hilary 12, Ryan 11):

    11:52 Between Holly and this campground, it's going to be a bad day. This campground is called Madison and it's in Yellowstone. It has strict rules and you have to be quiet from 8pm to 8am. It isn't even dark at 8pm! Our spot is right by the highway, and so we have a very few itsy-bitsy trees. There are no showers. I dislike it. The Super 8 was better than this.

    3:59 Now we have seen Old Faithful. Thank you. Thank you. It wasn't worth it, though. It started to rain and it was cold. Brrr. Now we are going back to the campground. Oh, yea. I had some really good ice cream. I am soaked.

    2:40 Our brakes aren't working properly, so we're going to a brake shop in this town, Ashton. The siblings and I already visited the library. It was pitiful. Now dad is taking off the trailer/camper. We're at Buck's auto repair.

    7:08 There is a big elk. Mom is blabbing again. This time about helmets.

    7:27 Hilary and the dogs had to go to the bathroom really badly so we stopped on some side road and let them loose. :) Toodles!

    12:25 Quake Lake is cool. We went to the visitors center. It was neat, but boring. We were there way too long. Ryan is being a BRAT. He got in big trouble last night for it, and I hope he gets it today. We're goin' to the Tetons now.

  9. I would like to apologize for ruining your day in August, 1994. I love that journal, good idea to read through it, Dad!

  10. I love that, in the journal, the times are exact: 7:08, 7:27.

    Hilarious. What a fun reminder of your trip. My favorite is, "Mom is blabbing again. This time about helmets." Cracks me up.

    Sending super positive vibes your way!


  11. I am cracking up over that journal. Too much!!!

  12. 12:25 Quake Lake is cool. We went to the visitors center. It was neat, but boring. We were there way too long. Ryan is being a BRAT. He got in big trouble last night for it, and I hope he gets it today. We're goin' to the Tetons now.

    LMAO!!!!!!!!!!! If I remember correctly, Ryan was sticking his foot in your face and wouldn't stop. hhhhaaaahhhhaaa!

  13. "Mom's blabbing again...". HA! No wonder she had Gone With the Wind on her lap for three consecutive states and only ready 4 pages. ;)

  14. Too funny. Never thought Old Faithful was going to blow. Felt like we were bribing you guys to stay and wait with the ice cream. COLD and wet! Nothing about the "grassy knoll"?

  15. You still rock our socks off lady!!! Love, Shelley & Roger