Monday, October 7, 2013

Cycle 3 And Some Good News!

Melinda's Season Of Cancer continues with her 3rd round of chemo starting this morning.  Today was the long day - blood tests, appointment with the oncologist and 4 hours of infusion of 2 chemo drugs.  Tomorrow and Tuesday will be shorter, just a 1 hour infusion of a single drug and some fluids.  Then it will be 3 weeks to recover and do it again...  Of course, every day is an adventure - discovering new symptoms and effects, but so far, cycles 1 and 2 have been remarkably similar...  Nausea for the first week with extreme tiredness, a week of slowly improving appetite, stamina and energy, and a week of feeling pretty normal.  Were hoping cycle 3 doesn't throw us anything new - we can tolerate what we've seen so far!

We are gratified by the response of family and friends.  I don't think there is a day that has gone by that Melinda hasn't gotten a couple cards or packages in the mail.  I'm thinking our mail person must be wondering what is going on with all the cards we've been getting!  No cards today, but a priceless piece of art - a painting by our 2.5-year-old great-niece Claire (with help from the folks, we suspect).  The picture at left shows today's gift, and the sharp-eyed among you might notice Min's bracelets, which she got in Saturday's mail - replicas of Wonder Woman's bracelets that repel enemy attack!  A reminder photo of Linda Carter is provided at right - other than the hair and tiara, a remarkable resemblance!  Yes, Melinda is a little more camera shy than normal, but isn't traumatized by lack of hair - she treats it more of an inconvenience (with Winter coming) and proof that she is kicking Cancer's butt!

Oh, yes, and my title mentioned something about good news...  Our oncologist orders PET scans after even-numbered chemo cycles, and a week ago she had a scan that we could compare to the one taken before the first chemo treatment to see its effect.  The doctor pulled us into the consult room to show the results on her computer screen that displayed two pictures - the earlier and later versions as we scanned slices through her body from head thru torso.  She pointed out the tumor between her lungs, slightly larger than a baseball that first alerted us to something unusual going on that was pressing on her airway.  The current image shows it reduced to the size of an olive - tiny compared to 6 weeks ago!  Other spots in her lung and pancreas have completely disappeared!  We suspected that with Melinda's improved breathing that things were improving, but now we have proof the chemo is working!  Our doctor is of the opinion that we're going to go the full 6 cycles to knock it down as much as we can.  There is no accepted protocol for "maintenance" once the chemo is finished, so after 6 cycles she'll be done, and she will go for checkups every 6 months after that...  So round about mid-December we'll be ready to properly celebrate, after an abbreviated "happy dance" today after our news!


Anonymous said...


Marker said...

So glad about your good news! Thanks be to God. You remain in my prayers, Melinda. --Marker

Marker said...

So glad to hear your good news; thanks be to God! Still praying, of course. --Marker

Emily Walsh said...

Hi there! I was reading a few of your posts and just wanted to say I'm so happy that the chemo is working! Even though medicine has progressed leaps and bounds, having a family and good support system is unrivaled. I just had a quick question about your blog and was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance, thanks : )