I saw the doctor who works with my oncologist on Wednesday. I had decided, as I showered that morning, that I would ask to skip another chemo appointment, to give myself a break in February. It turns out she was a step ahead of me.
She was ebullient when she saw me. Dr. B. is the doctor who examined me when I first went in with my abdomen looking like I had swallowed a large watermelon and when a cough or a poke caused me to be wracked with pain.
We've come a long way since that day, a little over a year ago. Dr. B. told me that she is "not worried about me." I loved hearing this. She reminded me again how very worried about me they had been and said that I have been given "a reprieve."
A very apt choice of words, I think, and reflective of the stark contrast in my prognosis in late 2006 versus how I am doing now.
And, while she was very clear that I am "not out of the woods for good," she, like Dr. G. my oncologist, is hopeful that I will continue to do well for a long time.
Dr. B. also said that my liver felt "amazing," all tucked up under my rib cage, where a liver is supposed to be.
So my doctors are ready for me to ease up a bit on chemo, at least for the next two cycles. This means that in February and March, instead of going for chemo two weeks in a row and then having two weeks off, I will go for treatment one week and then have THREE weeks off.
And then, if my CT scan is good (and my doctors have both said that they anticipate it will be), we will continue in this fashion for a while (the scan is set for February 13th. I'll get the results on February 27th).
I am giddy. The chemo and herceptin, drugs that have surely saved my life, have also been grinding me down. Now I have a chance to heal and get strong again, physically and emotionally (and perhaps even mentally. Maybe I'll even win a Scrabble game).
It's good to feel hopeful. I wrote in my journal this evening that I am starting to get greedy, imagining myself seeing my kids graduate from high school and perhaps even becoming a grandma some day.
But I try not to get ahead of myself, stay in the here and now (not my strong suit but I am working on it). And be grateful for the fact that right now, today, I am doing very well, indeed.