Okay, feeling better today. I think I'm past the anger stage. This morning I went to the radiation dr and got measurements/scans done to get set up for the treatments to my neck lymph node. He mentioned doing daily treatments for 2 to 3 weeks starting tomorrow. Hopefully, this tumor will shrink and the pain in my shoulder will ease up and maybe even my eye will go back to normal (not that I haven't enjoyed the "Popeye" look!). In addition to this large node in my neck there is also a large-ish node above my diaphragm. But Dr. S wants to wait and see if the chemo will shrink it before we do radiation there. If we start with too large of an area, it could be bad for my lungs. And I'd kinda like to keep those healthy for now! There are several other nodes involved but they have not enlarged too much, so we're hoping chemo alone will improve them.
I also met with Dr. S this afternoon to discuss everything. John and my mom went along. We all had the opportunity to ask questions and get clarification on things that we didn't understand. Like, for example, I wanted to know if the Taxol/Carbo didn't work the first time, why was it recommended to do it again? Dr. S explained that based on research and experiences of other patients, it's standard protocol to repeat the original treatment if the recurrence happens after 12 months. He said Taxol/Carboplatin are the best first line drugs and he felt confident it was the right choice. He made me feel better when he said that even if it hadn't gotten rid of the cancer permanently, if I had not had any chemo before, the cancer would've likely recurred much sooner, like within 6 months. So although I would like to have something super strong that would obliterate it entirely now, I feel safer following the common treatment plan based on years of cancer research. Because really, I'm no scientist or doctor, and I'm only looking at things as black and white. Dr. S explained that when cancer returns like this, it has mutated and may not act the same. So the Taxol/Carbo might, in fact, be able to obliterate it once and for all. Or, it might not work at all. We'll have to monitor the progress through scans and blood tests. If it's not working, then we'll stop and regroup and come up with another plan of attack. He admitted that my cancer was acting very "weird" the way it had come back in my neck/chest area. Most of the time, ovarian cancer returns in the abdomen/pelvis. But he felt we weren't "behind the 8 ball" just yet. He gave me some scenarios of cases worse than mine and that made me feel better - "Oh good! There are others who are suffering more than me!" Seriously, it gave me perspective to realize I'm not without hope. He made me feel hopeful, which is what I've been lacking. I love Dr. Salmieri.
So now I get the option of having treatments weekly or tri-weekly, the first being a smaller dose. All in all, it's going to be 18 weeks total. And I know from previous experience that it will probably drag out an extra 3 or 4 weeks with delays for low blood counts. At least I will be able to have treatments at Northside Forsyth's cancer center. We live just around the corner from the hospital and that's going to be a huge plus since last time I had to drive to Lawrenceville! And my radiation is going to be even closer, just behind the CVS!
I will lose my hair again and that's a tough one to swallow. I remember the first time and how loooonnnnnggg it took to grow back. It was 7 months total that I was bald. That's a lot of head wraps and scarves. I do still have my wigs, but I didn't like them much and probably won't wear them this time. Heck, I may just sport the natural look and come up with a crazy, bizarro story to go along with it! "This is what happened from swimming in the oil spill! BP owes me millions!!" Now that's a good one!