Appointment with my oncologist today at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute went pretty much as expected. All the results from the surgical biopsy still haven’t come in yet, but we’re starting treatment on Thursday anyway. If the biopsy results reveal some potential oddities or unexpectedness, we’ll add meds to the chemo cocktail. But the core treatment will remain the same, and consensus was that it was best to start treatment now (a bazillion yeses!) rather than wait any longer.
My treatment regime is currently slated to be six, 21-day cycles of the R-CHOP chemo cocktail (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) followed by radiation. Four of those cycles will be delivered directly to my cerebral spinal fluid via lumbar puncture…sigh. I’m also getting a neulasta injection after each chemo infusion to try to bolster my immune system since it’s already pretty compromised starting off the bat.
My first treatment, this Thursday, is expected to take something like seven hours (o.O!), although subsequent ones should be faster–five-ish hours or so. Debating if I should bring my laptop, try to get some work done, or if my smartphone and a book will be sufficient to keep me from imploding out of boredom.
Aside from the side effects I expected–nausea, hair loss, other various GI distresses, etc.–my doctor also said that the chemo might trigger early menopause. I wasn’t prepared for that possibility. Children were never an option for us, so early menopause isn’t really a devastating prospect, but I was kinda blindsided by the idea of it–having to deal with all the changes that come with menopause in addition to everything else.
My oncologist also said I need to avoid crowds in order to decrease the chances of me picking up a random infection or bug, which we already knew, but we hadn’t quite made the logical repercussions step.
I take the train to my day job. Public transportation is pretty much the definition of crowds.
So, for now, the plan is for Matthew to drive me to the capitol during my treatment on those days I’m well enough to go in. Also, I might ask my work folks to see if I can get a temporary parking space for the next six to eight months. I relinquished my spot in the capitol’s deck several years back when they jacked the price up. Not really keen on having to get a space again, but not really keen on having poor Matthew chauffeur me every day, either.