I didn't know what to expect from chemo. After just just the first round, I still don't -- my experience, you might say, is limited. But, now I do have a much better sense of why they call the second week of each cycle the "recovery week". Earlier, I'd been more focused on this as the week (at least at the beginning) where my immune system would be most impaired. That focus was consistent with my initial fancy that I'd be up and about, plenty of energy, just wanting to be careful not to pick up any errant germs or viruses.
That was all before I'd met week one, the knock out punch. Not even sure where it came from (though I have my suspicions!). I got home from my second day of treatment (two Wednesdays ago) at DFCI, the 'long day', which is when they administer the cisplatin - the most toxic and abundant component of my chemo cocktail. Felt fine, relieved to have the day over. Then, a hot flash. Then, chills. And then, with a few moments of light in between, it was Monday morning. It is not that I want to describe what transpired in between, that isn't the purpose of this blog (it is when I'm on the Israel Ride that I want to share all the visuals -- they are wonderful!!). It is just that I couldn't describe it if I wanted to. Wednesday evening till Monday passed largely in a fog. It is probably best that way.
Come Monday, the fog started to lift. And, but for one set back last night (fortunately, there will be other Shabbat dinners), I've felt better and stronger every day this week. By yesterday, I could even taste (and eat) food again! And, this morning, I managed an hour on the cross trainer at the gym - no records were broken, but it felt good to be there. Lest you wonder, the hour did not include the five minutes that I spent disinfecting the machine before I was comfortable touching it. Yes, I could become compulsive about that.
The most important update: Fran and I met yesterday morning with my new surgeon/specialist. He was excellent. He went though my recent medical history with us in detail, starting with his insight to the biopsy results from last November, continuing through what is going on inside now, during the chemo, and then giving as a very helpful description, with impromptu drawings and sketches, of what the surgery will entail. We now have a much better understanding of what they meant when we were told that the surgery would be "complicated", and comfort that we are in the hands of an experienced, focused professional. There is no constructive comparison between this meeting and our last meeting, a couple of weeks ago, with my (now former) surgeon. Fran pressed the doctor on his specific experience (he has done the surgery over a thousand times, about 50 times with my complications), his attention and focus on my case, and a myriad of other questions. It is good to have her there, advocating for my good care. The doctor responded, in detail, to all of our questions. He is was a strong advocate for the clinical trial that I'm in for the chemo, as it is a more aggressive approach than would otherwise be used. As he worded it, "we only get one shot at this". He left me comfortable that we are now taking that shot with the best team, and the best ammo.
I want to write more about how meaningful it is to me that so many have reached out, each in their own way, to me or my family. You are part of the journey, for sure. Even more important, you make it that much easier for me to stay focused on where I want to be at the end of this, not on the details of where we are now. I'll write more about that another time. For now, I just want to say thank you -- your kindness and thoughtfulness are more touching than I can say, and truly appreciated.
Round 2 starts Tuesday, at DFCI.
Shavua Tov. Have a good and peaceful week.