Monday, November 14, 2011

A Timeline (Part 2)

Here's some more about how the last year has gone...

January 2011
*A few weeks after my first round of chemo I had repeat scans done and miracle #1 appeared...a mass that had shown up on my spine before chemo was completely gone...GONE!  The doctors were amazed.  I continued with chemo sessions every 3 weeks and scans every few weeks.

*I went in for a routine CT scan on January 21 and instead of heading home after the scan I ended up admitted to the Clinic with a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in my lung).  I had no symptoms and felt great, but was so thankful it was caught!  I started blood thinner injections and the PE was resolved by my next scan.  Unfortunately, I still have to do twice daily blood thinner injections...not fun.

February 2011
*On February 5, my sister, family & friends held a benefit in my honor to help raise money for our medical expenses.  I was completely overwhelmed at the success of the event!  They did an amazing job and I was so touched that so many people came out to support me!  I have never felt so much love.

*The chemo began taking a harder toll on me as each session happened.  I would feel really crappy for the first week after (no appetite, really tired & just completely drained), I'd feel slightly better the second week and the third week I'd feel great...unfortunately I had chemo every 3 weeks, so it was a never-ending cycle.

March 2011
*I had a repeat bone marrow biopsy to check the progress of my cancer and was completely floored when it showed I was in "nearly complete" remission.  I was given the option to either stop chemo and just monitor the cancer or I could opt for 2 more rounds and see if I could get complete remission.  I opted for 2 more rounds.  Dr H said he still couldn't believe how well I was responding to the chemo.  He was so pleased.

April 2011
*After noticing some hearing changes, Dr H switched the type of chemo I got for my last round.  I still have some hearing loss(a side effect of cisplatin), but overall it is very minor.  I finished my last round of chemo on April 7 and then it was just a waiting game...3 weeks and then a repeat biopsy to check for complete remission.

May 2011
*May was a busy month for us medically.  On May 5th, I went to the Clinic to see Dr H and get the results of my biopsy.  It showed I was in COMPLETE remission!  Since then, we have started to doubt whether I was actually in remission.  There were no scans of my tumors to check them and now we know they were obviously still there.  Another important event took place on May 5, but we had no knowledge of it or that it would become important to me...that's the day that my current chemo (everolimus) was approved to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.

*May 10th, Will had his second heart cath since his birth.  The doctors tried to balloon his aorta to make it bigger, but unfortunately it wasn't successful (he will see his cardiologist, Dr Awesome, in January to determine what our next step is, right now its just monitoring him).

*Just 2 weeks after getting the great news about my remission, I had a few days of the same severe back pain I had experienced in the fall.  Dr H immediately scheduled an MRI of my back for me, it didn't show anything, and we were relieved.  We would later learn it was because the tumor causing the pain wasn't in my back, but was in my pelvis.

*May 25th, we left for a MUCH NEEDED family vacation to visit friends in South Carolina and then to spend a week with my family at the beach.  It was the first time we felt like a normal family in a very very long time.

(To be continued again...)

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