Friday, March 9, 2012

Chemo, Round 1 - On the Wisdom, Wit, and Shoulders of Family and Friends

My treatment started in earnest this week.  I am in a clinical trial called "dose dense MVAC".  It is seen as more potent than the more widely used "Gem-Cis", and less toxic than the traditional MVAC.  The goal of the chemo is to reduce or eliminate the tumors prior to my surgery.  Either way, the surgery goes forward.  It is called neo-adjutant chemo therapy.  I'm learning so many new words and phrases of late.  I hope none of you ever need to learn them.

In any case, the chemo goes for four two week cycles.  The first cycle started this past Tuesday.  The first three days of each cycle are treatment, the next 11 are your body processing the treatment, then you repeat (just like shampoo...wash, rinse, repeat).  After the fourth treatment, we take a break of 4 - 6 weeks, then surgery.

That's it for the technical stuff, for now.

Mostly, I want to thank everyone who has responded so warmly to my earlier posts.  Your words of encouragement and good counsel are uplifting, at a difficult time.  Thank you!  You help keep this from being a lonely road.  And, not without consequence -- virtually everything that I read indicates that part of the fight against cancer is mental, physical, and diet, in addition to the insight and care of the team that I'm working with at Dana Farber.   At a time when it would be easy to be very down, the encouragement I've received from friends and family, on FB, via email, in private, etc., is truly uplifting.  I only wish that I had the energy to respond to each of you in person.   In time, hopefully, I will.

My Mom and Fran have both now put my oncologist through the grill. Hopefully their questions were answered.  He, of course, has the disadvantage of coming in midstream -- his focus is where we go from here, not how we got here.  Those questions are a bit moot, in terms of my treatment.  But, we will revisit them too.  Right now, they are not the focus.

And, my kids have been, well, wonderful.  This can't be easy.  But, they've all reached out and been very supportive.  I hear daily from Sara, in Israel.  Benji left for Toronto this morning, but has been a great help all week.  Adam is coming over again tonight, and Josh is here -- stuck with me!   And, ever supportive.  They are each a gift.

For now, lest you wonder, the short term effect of the initial treatment has largely been to sap me of energy.  Not sure how much of that is the treatment, as it's maximum impact isn't supposed to hit for about a week, or just a response to all that is going on.  I'd guess it is more of the latter, for now.   My big achievement yesterday was to take Taffy out for a walk -- he is loving this!   Today, I actually worked for a bit, on transitions.  I am privileged to work with a deep team that can manage through these things.  I enjoy my work, my colleagues, and my clients, so hopefully will continue to contribute some during the chemo.  I know that I won't be available through the surgery and recovery.

That is it for now.  Thank you, everyone, again.

Shabbat Shalom.


Faith said...

Wishing you continued strength and good spirits! When you're not up to blogging, can we get updates from your family through your blog? And I don't think I have it, but would you mind sending me your home address?

Sharón Benheim said...

Sending you supportive vibes and prayers! Wishing for you as little discomfort as possible and the strength to get to the other side of this.

all the best!