Taxol 9, Part 1 & 2

Part 1 (9/3/19)

Another delay. 

I walked into NYU feeling soooo confident. My blood counts were high the week before, I felt great, my cough was gone, I was positive that I would be cleared for treatment. While meeting with my doctors she told me that my neutrophil count was down to 0.9 and I would not be able to get treated. I was shocked. I asked how it was possible for it to drop from 1.5 to 0.9 in one week. She explained that my counts were only high last week because body was fighting off the cough. Once my white blood cells were finished doing their job, they plummeted. It made sense but I was still annoyed.

My grandma had come into the city to sit with me during chemo so instead of watching me sit in a chair, we went out for lunch.  We had a nice time together but I spent the rest of the afternoon sulking about my treatment delay.


Part 1.5 (9/9/19)

Once chemotherapy is completed, I will have a bilateral mastectomy. Today, I met with my breast surgeon, Deborah Axelrod, to schedule the surgery. I still have a few more weeks of treatment and then my body will need a few weeks to recover from chemo. The surgery is set for Monday, October 21st.

During the breast exam, my doctor was very pleased that she could not feel anything suspicious. I used to be able to feel my tumor easily and could even see it poking out of my breast. Now, my doctors have every reason to believe that it is completely gone. Though we already determined that I would be having a mastectomy, we discussed all other surgical options. Given that my tumor has responded so well to treatments, I would have been a good candidate for a lumpectomy, if not for my BRCA status. Because my chances of recurrence are higher than the general population, it makes sense to remove the whole breast. I am totally fine with this decision.

Part 2 (9/10/19)

After my delay last week I was more confident than ever that I would be treated. I have never had a delay two weeks in a row so I thought that there was no possible way that my counts wouldn’t rebound after taking a week off. Well, you learn something new every day. My counts were super low (0.7) and my treatment was being held again. I immediately started sobbing. These back-to-back delays have been super disappointing and stressful. With each treatment I feel like I am getting closer to the finish line and each delay makes me take a step back. 

I immediately had a million questions, Why aren’t my counts getting higher? What does this mean for my timeline? Will I have to reschedule my surgery? As I grabbed a pile of tissues, my oncologist walked in the room and said, “no more crying! I already wrote it my notes that we may only do 10 treatments instead of 12.” I asked if I would have to reschedule my surgery and she said “absolutely not, we will work around it.” We discussed the reasons for reducing my total number of treatments from 12 to 10 and any long term implications that may have. She assured me that there is no reason to be concerned about only completing 10 treatments. I was relieved. 

My doctor gave me a shot to help boost my white blood cells and instructed me to come back to the hospital on Friday to have my counts checked again. If they do not go up as much as they would like, I will get another shot. The goal at this point is to ensure that I am well enough for two more treatments, with my final treatment scheduled for September 24th.  

Chemo Status: Still only 8 Taxol down, but now only 2 to go!

In other news: Aidan and Cooper both started school this week. Both boys were super excited and ran right in to their classrooms.

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