We finally have a plan. Chemotherapy starts this Friday, and we’ve got our social calendar mapped out through New Years Eve. If all goes well, that’s the end date for chemo.
When you are first affected by breast cancer, or any cancer for that matter, first and formost on your mind is “Get this thing out of me!” and “When do I start treatment?” What you soon discover is all of what I call the “busy work” to get ready for treatment. Body scans – check. Dental checkup and cleaning (apparently, chemo and teeth don’t get along) – check. Surgical follow-ups – check. All that’s left this week is flu shots for the family (and for anyone else who wants to be around Shannon) and getting her IV port installed. And all that busy work means that we are closer to the end game, which is kicking some serious cancer ass.
Chemo will be every two weeks for 8 weeks, 4 of the first drug and 4 for the second. From what we hear, Shannon is getting the ACT treatment, or Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Taxol, which we understand is the “gold standard” for this type of breast cancer. I am also shaving my head with her, which is nothing new. Sometime after the new year, she will start the first of 36 radiation treatments. Then, hormone treatments and ongoing monitoring to make sure this cancer doesn’t try anything cute.
Scheduling life to get Shannon to her appointments and Carter to and from day care and his doctor’s appointments is making for some fun times. I travel for work, and thankfully they are extremely understanding about me needing time off. As we move into the next few weeks, I’ll need to take less and less time off for appointments, and get to focus more on taking care of the family. Our support group of family and friends is tremendous. I already have a whole line of babysitters lined up to take care of my precious ones when I have to be out of town. It’s a blessing in disguise that this is happening over the winter, when travel for me is lessened. Other than the hair loss thing. This is North Dakota, after all.
We do have one big trip that’s been in the works for months before the diagnosis. Las Vegas for my high school reunion in 3 weeks, pending doctor approval. You see, when I was young and foolish, I fell in with a bad crowd, and briefly dabbled in witchcraft. I then hitched a ride West and got stuck in Vegas for a time as part of a traveling magic show. I was responsible for cleaning up the mess when the saw-the-wowman-in-half trick went horribly wrong. My tutors, Penn and Teller, taught me everything I know.
Either that, or I graduated from a Department of Defense Dependent Schools high school in Misawa, Japan, and we all decided Vegas was closer and cheaper than flying halfway around the world. I’ll let you, dear reader, decide which is more plausible. (Go Eagles!) We even may get to see Carter’s godfather, who will be in Vegas around the same time as us. Carter, though, will be staying in Bismarck with Grandma and Grandpa. Apparently, it’s 21 Years, not Months. Go figure.