Week 7-13 of Chemo: After 9 Rounds

Gosh it’s been two months since I documented an update mainly because treatment became part of my normal routine and partly because I have been unmotivated and tired most of the time. Sadly, my routine became, go get infusion, deal with the aftermath for the first week and then work on recovery for the second week and then the two week cycle began again. I’ll spare you the details as it will make this post difficult to read. That was April and May. Definitely not a walk in the park but a time of reflection, insight and searching for answers.

After 9 rounds of chemo…

I decided to stop the chemotherapy when the 2nd to what would be my last treatment did not lower my tumor marker levels as much as expected. After consulting with my new oncologist, who fully supported my decision, I got some PET CT-SCANs done to make sure there was no metastasis. Fortunately, there were no signs of spread and I would be a candidate for surgery. The scans showed the tumor size did not shrink much, a confirmation that the chemotherapy was not really working. It only stopped it from progressing. In fact it only stopped it’s progression up until my last treatment which was on May 31st.

The last but also the worst…

If there is such a thing as good and bad, joy and depression, peace and war, yin and yang… this last treatment was the epitome of such opposites. May 31st was one of my best feeling days as well as one of my worst feeling days all bundled up in one day. I was so happy it was my last treatment. It was also the worst of the side effects I’ve felt up to this point. It’s hard to describe the feeling… it’s like I was at peace with this whole thing but my tumor was not. It was not going to let me go without having it’s last laugh or something. Peace and war at the same time in my body. I will not go into the details, but here is a pic of my last cold cap therapy. In the beginning the cold caps were great. They helped me through infusion day and minimized the side effects following but during the last treatment, I could not wait to get rid of it. The cold caps are COLD! They are chilled via dry ice to negative 35 degrees before I wear them. They have to be secured tightly around the head to keep the scalp cold enough to minimize blood flow to the hair follicles. No blood flow to the follicles means minimal opportunity for the chemo to destroy them. You can imagine how uncomfortable it is to wear them. I had to wear them a minimum of 5 hours on infusion day, 1 hour prior to infusion and 4 hours after infusion. I could barely smile because it’s so tight.

So far, I still have most of my hair. It has definitely thinned out and the next few months will tell if the cold caps really worked or not. At this point, the only thing I’m concerned with and in some weird way am looking forward to my surgery on July 5th.

Post chemo…

It’s as if the tumor said “I refuse to die” and my body said “I refuse this chemo” because the last treatment did not do anything. In fact after the treatment cycle, my blood test showed an increase in my HcG marker levels. The 2nd time it rose since I started chemotherapy. I tried to keep a positive mindset and thought it might have been the residual of hormones that are left over when the tumor cells die off. I felt like the chemo worked judging by how sick I was following the last infusion. However, the following week’s blood test proved me wrong. It showed a bigger increase of HcG levels, the final confirmation that the chemotherapies I was given did not work. It confirmed my decision to stop and opting for surgery was the right decision because if I opted to continue with chemotherapy, the next drug they would administer is a multi-agent cocktail, “chemo soup” as my doc referred to it and would require hospitalization to receive it. No thank you!

I wished to have all this behind me by my birthday and although it is not going to be done until July 5th and then completely done when I fully recover from the surgery and finally done when I see zero on my blood tests months following the procedure, I am calling my wish fulfilled for now…

Thank you for those who continue to pray for me, check-in on me and support me in all ways from emotional to financial support. My family and I feel truly blessed and we are deeply grateful for you… you know who you are.

With an abundance of love,

Nikki

3 thoughts on “Week 7-13 of Chemo: After 9 Rounds

  1. Anna Jorgenson says:

    Cheering for you and praying for you and wishing all the best for you as July 5 approaches. You are a strong and beautiful woman. Here for you as you get rid of that tumor and recover. xxoo – Anna

  2. Seth says:

    Always rooting for you as your Alaska airlines flying buddy. Kick the xxx out of that tumor on the 5th. Your in my thoughts and keep smiling for us.

  3. Nikki I am here if you need me and will continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers, especially on the 5th and for that gorgeous hair to stick around. Blessings to you and your family. Love you!!

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