Xeloda: Queen of the Jungle

And there she is, generic Xeloda.

During my first appointment, the in-house pharmacist came to give me the run down on my new little friend. Being the big-pill-swallowing-baby that I am, I immediately prioritized things and told him I wanted the smallest version of this pill possible. He did not look amused.

Any rational person would have wanted to slap some sense into my petty, small-pill-swallowing-self, but he did not.

After inaccurately attempting to convince me the bigger pill wasn't that big (with the all-to-unreliable thumb and pointer finger form of measurement), he gave up and went down to the hospital pharmacy to see if they would let him borrow the 2 pill bottles to show me the pills in person. He was merely going above and beyond to keep me from having to take 20 pills a day (vs. 6). It was noted and appreciated.

Large pill = 3 pills x twice a day = 6 pills
Small pill = 10 pills x twice a day = 20 pills

Here is a situation where "objects in the mirror are closer than they appear."

"Pills seen in photos online aren't nearly as large when you see them in person."

It wasn't a hard sell, and the larger pill was ordered. It arrived a few days later from the CVS Speciality Pharamcy, and I'm in business. Turns out the big pills go down easy with a few swigs of chocolate milk.

14 days on. 7 days off.

I'm on a 3 week cycle now, and my Avastin infusions will follow suit. After 3 years of chemo every 2 weeks, I think I can get quite accustom to only being infused every 3 weeks. This is glorious.


Oncologist: Take 2

I felt like I was walking into a magical fairy land at my first appointment with my new oncologist - and not just because it still had that new office smell. For the first time in 50+ rounds of chemo, I was going to walk out without that damn pump.

I can't believe I spent the past year letting a doctor discourage me from going on the pill form of chemo. I can't believe that opinionated, well-read and highly-in-control ME didn't push the issue more. What doctor thinks it's better to send a mother of young children home with her port accessed and a pump, when she could get the same effect from a pill? It will forever taint my opi$nions on what his ultim$ate motivati$on was for kee$ping me on the p$ump.  I'll just add it to the list of questionable things, and close the door on my time with him.

I sat down in my private infusion area for a quick dose of Avastin, and immediately hit it off with my infusion nurse. She played 20 Questions with me, and without going into incriminating detail, confirmed and validated my choice to move on to a new doctor. Let's just say I'm not the first patient in recent months to defect with the same list of complaints. This added to my internal smile, because I knew I was where I was suppose to be. Gone was that unsettled dread.

A long way from my humble beginnings in a 50+ chair open infusion room. Now I sit in my private throne room.
I'm back under the care of what feels like a team. I no longer see a doctor lording over his revolving group minions, but a doctor trusting and relying on a group of nurses and pharmacists to take care of me. Onward and upward, kids.


Smash Boob

Since I've always tried to be as proactive about my health as one can be when they are well informed, it was easily decided between myself and my newly assigned OBGYN that I should go ahead and jump the line a couple of years and get a mammogram.

No concerns or worries. Just taking care of business and getting a nice set of "baseline" images of the ladies while I'm young and not in any dire situation. I've always utilized preventative care (annual skin checks and pap smears) when it came to my own health - or at least preventative care I knew about. Had someone told me that I was at risk for colon cancer because of my family history, I can assure you I would have signed up for a colonoscopy immediately.

But more importantly, I was there. And once you've had parts of your lower body man-handled in ways you don't want to even know about (because you were sleeping so who cares!), a little boob smashing is child's play! Or so I thought. Apparently they can man-handle and position the ladies in ways even I didn't know where possible. Aside from my port being slightly in the way, it was quick, easy, and one less thing on my personal to-do list when it comes to keeping all the other parts of me healthy. And as with my most recent pap smear, it's always nice to get at least one healthy report back from a doctor.


3 Grateful Years Later

Thanksgiving rolled around again for me. It makes for an easily remembered anniversary. Or in my case, a cancerversary.

Last week I met with my future oncologist. After going over the preliminary history of my treatment, he asked what I understood of my situation. I knew he was just assessing how clearly I was grasping my reality.

I told him that I know I have a cancer that is treatable and controllable, but not necessarily curable. I know that ultimately this disease will probably end my life sooner than someone my age should expect. It won't be this year or the next, but I will probably run out of road much sooner than I should. I have never denied this, but have chosen to put it so far off into the future that it doesn't hinder me from living in the present.

3 years ago I wondered if I would see the next Thanksgiving. Now I live with no doubt I will see many more.