Well, it’s over. Six weeks of standing appointments to undergo daily radiation treatments and weekly chemo sessions are now in the past. My last chemo treatment was yesterday, preceded by lots of unwarranted obsessing/worrying on my part. “Will my white cell count be high enough…oh no…numbers look too low to me…obsess, obsess!” Another example of when to accept we’re not in charge, and that everything often works out for the best when we allow professionals to do their job.
So, I had my treatment despite a WBC count of 1.9 (normal being 4 – 11). Who knew being injected with what is essentially poison (Carboplatin and Taxol) would be such a cause for celebration? It was, and now it’s all over.
What now? Now we wait.
My oncologist told me yesterday that the radiation treatments are still working up to a month after the last treatment. The chemo works to make the cells more vulnerable to the killing effect of radiation. What are we killing/shrinking? Two tumors in my right lung. The chemo is also killing cancer cells, hopefully knocking back the squamous cells found in three lymph nodes, two residing outside my right lung. Kill! Kill! Of course, the chemo also kills healthy cells (hence the loss of my hair), and the zaps to my chest were killing healthy red cells in my rib cage. Hey, no pain, no gain!
Now I wait for my next closeup: a CT scan sometime in early April. Only this will show whether the chemo/radiation treatments worked. Naturally, I’m hoping for an NED (No Evidence of Disease) diagnosis. A Spring/Summer spent in remission sounds very sweet to me. But, even shrinkage to the tumors would be welcome. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I do feel that the tumor blocking the bronchus leading to the middle lobe of my right lung has shrunk. For two years, I haven’t been able to take a deep breath or laugh without coughing. Now I can.
I find myself missing the routine of the M-F daily radiation treatments. I’ll probably miss the once-per-week chemo sessions. Not so much the sessions, although I did grow fond of my chemo nurses and radiation therapists. (An unexpected goodbye hug from one of the latter almost made me dissolve into tears.) No, it’s the feeling cancer cells are being killed methodically that I will miss. Knowing that the radiation is still working to zap cancer for the next month helps…a lot!
The wait shouldn’t be too bad, as two weeks of it will be spent in Maui. If you gotta wait, why not wait someplace fabulous? I’ll look forward to daily snorkeling, whale watching, and a luau or two…all washed down with paper-umbrella-embellished virgin cocktails.
Here’s to waiting in style, with all fingers and toes crossed!