Last Tuesday I met Sharon.  <3 

Besides being a lovely ginger, Sharon is the Oncology nurse who taught me everything I need to know about my soon-to-start chemotherapy treatments. My “chemo teaching” appointment lasted an hour and 45 minutes, and I was accompanied by my mom, both kiddos, and Jason (thanks to speakerphone technology).  🙂  Between our ten ears and eight hands, I think we received aaaaaaall the info and literature we could possibly need.  Well, to get started anyway. 😉

Here’s the skinny:

  • The chemotherapy portion of my treatment plan has been lengthened by 5 weeks. That brings my chemotherapy total to 25 weeks. The newly added “last 5 weeks of chemo” will also be coupled with radiation. Yikes. (Insert high-maintenance joke here.) 🙂 Once that’s all done, I’ll continue with the remainder of the “previously planned plan” (a month of healing, surgery, a month of healing, then 24 weeks of radiation).

  • The docs will be “Dense Dosing” me for the first 4 cycles of chemo. Generally, chemo meds are delivered once every three weeks. “Dense Dosing” is a more aggressive approach, where they deliver the chemo meds once every two weeks. During a typical three-week chemo cycle, patients often have several days at the end of the cycle where they feel increasingly better, and find themselves having more energy. With the “dense dose” portion of treatment, I most likely won’t experience these affects, since I’ll receive my next dose of chemo before the affects have time to kick in.  I can definitely say I’m excited it’s only for 8 weeks.   I’ll call this the “basic training” portion of chemo. (I did it once, I can do it again.) 😉

  • On each Chemo Day (totally deeming that a proper noun), I’ll start my visit with a brief physical exam and some blood work, just to make sure that I’m healthy enough to receive treatment. Once deemed healthy, I’ll receive several meds through my port before getting the actual “chemo drugs”…some to combat side affects, some to boost immunities, etc. All activities combined, my Chemo Day visits will be six hours long. 🙂 This sounds excruciatingly looooooooooong, but, I’m lucky to have chosen a treatment center that practices Integrative Oncology, so I don’t foresee any complaints (not to mention – what’s SIX hours compared to actually kicking cancers butt for a LIFETIME??)

  • I hear you asking, “What the heck is “Integrative Oncology?”  Welp, it means a whole lot more than what I’m about to convey (on every level), but most immediately (and superficially???), it means that during the time my chemo lifeline is pumping, I will be visited by:  

Gretchen – a certified massage therapist – who will provide relaxing hand and foot massages intermittently throughout the visit
Lynne – the nutritionist – who will discuss my diet, and ways to combat any problems that may be going on (what to eat when you don’t feel like eating)
Greg – the music therapist – who will have my playlist ready in advance per the questionnaire that I was asked to complete
Fido – or Spot, or whomever the pet therapy dog is for the day – who will sit with me, and comfort me, and love me (with or without hair and eyebrows) <3

  • I am so-so-so-very-pleased with the Oncology group that I chose.  The staff is extremely nice, and very attentive.  The minute I walk through the office doors I feel an overwhelming sense of safety and security.  And, hey, I have to tell you this too….   All throughout the office there are chips and cookies and fruit and drinks….there’s a refrigerator for my home-packed lunch (or they said I can call in a delivery)…there’s portable DVD players…there’s a library of DVDs…..there’s a library of books (yes REAL books!)….there’s a library of PUZZLES….the list goes on and on and on. I kinda see an “I shoulda got cancer sooner” post building here, but then, yes, that IS DEFINITELY getting way too kerried away…. 

Now, we just need a date.  🙂  I will update you as soon as Sharon calls me with one.  Until then, please hug each other extra tight for me!! xoxo

<3 K

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