Someone pointed out that I neglected to fill you in on my last oncology appointment. Shame on me! I should be flogged with a wet noodle.
There is not a whole lot to report, I’m afraid. We are in a bit of a continue-thinking-and-reconvene mode. I saw the nurse practitioner and shared my concerns about the drug the oncologist would like me to take for 10 years. (TEN YEARS!!!) I told her that my primary focus from an oncology perspective is on maintaining a decent quality of life – as defined by me. I also acknowledged the need for a balanced approach, particularly since at this moment, I cannot fathom enduring any more chemo flowing through my veins, should this or another cancer rear its head in my body again. In light of that, I asked if she could quantify the extent to which this drug or class of drugs is anticipated to prevent or reduce the likelihood of either a recurrence or a new cancer developing in me, and if the fact that I was not able to complete the Herceptin protocol had any quantifiable impact on those chances.
Unfortunately she could not answer those questions. She gave me some information on the specific drug the oncologist has in mind, which did not include any information I had not come across in my review of available literature. So I am continuing to noodle it, as a former boss used to say, and will resume the conversation at an appointment in early August with the oncologist. Anyone interested in accompanying me, serving as a witness to the proceedings? Also, did anyone else notice that pasta keeps coming up in this post? Guess we know what I’m having for dinner…
The food theme could also be a result of the low dose steroid the nurse practitioner prescribed for me, to increase my appetite and help me regain the weight I originally lost with the pneumonia last fall, and the additional weight the chemo helped me drop. As a side note, although effective, I do not recommend the chemo diet for weight loss. As another side note, the steroid led to the institution of a new rule in my house: I am not allowed to watch crime procedurals by myself at night, particularly while experiencing steroid-induced insomnia and most especially not on days when I may have accidentally left home for a brief time with the front door unlocked. Fear not, with the exception of the attic, the house was searched and found to be clear of serial killers. Suspiciously cute puppies were omnipresent. I digress.
We discussed the osteopenia finding as well. In addition to the calcium and vitamin D supplements (which I located in gummy version!), the oncologist recommended (through the nurse practitioner) that I get a twice yearly infusion of a drug that helps your bones absorb and hold onto calcium. It potentially has a bizarrely specific impact on the jaw bone, so I am to discuss this with my dentist and get his OK before moving forward and requesting pre-authorization from my insurance company. Fortunately, I have a regularly scheduled dental cleaning next week. We shall see what he says.
Well, that’s a wrap for this week. I’m off to pick up a book at the library (how old fashioned of me!) and continue arranging books, photos, and other assorted treasures on my newly finished built ins… feel free to come visit and admire their beauty soon!