This week I completed Taxol infusion 8 out of 12. I am still tolerating the medication fairly well, but have had some issues with neuropathy in my fingers and toes. I am trying medication this week to cope with the symptoms because I really don't want to lower my Taxol dose at this point. As of today, my eyelashes and eyebrows are barely holding on...I officially look weird.
As the number of chemotherapy sessions wind down, I realize I have not posted about next steps. I have gotten the question from friends and family recently about when and how everything will be proceeding following chemo completion. To be honest, I am not totally sure. But I do know a body scan and surgery will be the next steps. I also know that there will be some amount of time between chemo completion and surgery to allow my body time to heal and get my blood levels back to a better place. No, I don't know how long that will take or how long is recommended to wait. Personally, I am worried about waiting too long for fear the tumor will start growing back, but that is probably just my cancer paranoia talking. I will be undergoing some sort of scan, or potentially multiple scans following chemo completion to determine the effect the chemo has had on the tumor. I am assuming the results of the scan will play a role in the surgery planning. Fingers crossed the cancer is gone (or what my oncologist calls- complete pathological response). I know I can't feel the tumor any longer on my own so that has to be a good sign right? Bring on the scanxiety- or anxiety related to scan results (no, I did not make this up- there are whole blogs dedicated to scanxiety).
I am not working right now, and I'm not sure if I will go back between chemo and surgery or not. We will see what the doctors say and how long of a period there will be between chemo and surgery. I am also not sure how long the healing process will be following surgery. At this point I am leaning toward bilateral mastectomy, especially with my genetic results which put me at increased risk for breast cancer throughout my lifetime. I just don't want to risk getting breast cancer again, once is enough for me. If getting both my breasts removed now means less worry later, then I am all for that. During surgery, I will have at least a few lymph nodes removed under my left arm- my sentinel lymph node biopsy tested positive for cancer prior to treatment. Pending pathology results of the lymph nodes and breast tissue, I may or may not have to undergo radiation therapy following surgery. As my oncologist warned when this all started, we are going to throw everything at this cancer to make sure it doesn't come back. Not exciting to think about now, but better in the long run I suppose.
I haven't thought much more about the genetic results in terms of my lifetime gastric cancer risk, I am just trying to get through all this first. I will be getting a baseline endoscopy at some point in the future, and we will go from there. Trying not to worry about it now.