Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Chemo Day!!

Today was my very last chemo treatment!

I'll start at the beginning...  I arrived and delivered the goodies to the receptionists and the chemo nurses.  I posted this yesterday, but here are the goodies I got for them:

I also dropped off a big box of popsicles as a donation for future patients.  Certain kinds of chemo can cause severe mouth pain and mouth sores (I experienced bad mouth pain after my first treatment).  Eating popsicles while receiving this type of chemo can help as the cold restricts the blood vessels in the mouth which keeps the chemo from being absorbed there.  I ate a popsicle during my second treatment and had much less severe mouth pain.  They were out of popsicles for my third treatment (they found some ice cream as a replacement) so I decided to bring some as a donation this time.  My awesome dad bought a huge package of 100 to contribute - he's the best!

Everyone was thankful for the goodies, but they were even more excited that it was my last chemo!  Lots of smiles and hugs!

I met with my doctor and got a couple bits of good news!  First, I won't have to get the Neupogen shots after this round.  Since I don't have another chemo to prepare for, it doesn't matter as much if my white blood cells drop.  We still expect them to drop (so I'll have to stay away from anyone who may be sick and go to the hospital if I get a fever over 100.5), but won't need the shots.  I'm so happy about this... the last round of shots caused severe bone pain that caused me to be on prescription painkillers for several days.  Happy to skip that this time around!

The second bit of good news from the doc is regarding my radiation treatments.  We originally planned on 4 weeks of treatments (5 days per week - so around 20 treatments).  Recent studies have shown that a lesser amount of radiation is just as effective in people with early stage Hodgkin's Lymphoma (like me!).  She still has to discuss it with the radiation doctor, but we my be able to get away with about two weeks of radiation (so approximately 10 treatments)!

So I finished up with my doc and headed to the infusion room.  My massage therapist Sarah showed up to surprise me and hang out (her office is literally next door to the cancer center).  My good friend Brian also came to hang out and keep me company and drive me home.  The picture is a little blurry, but here we are:

Look who also showed up:

This is my awesome friend Brandi who always seems make me laugh by butt off :)

I finished up my infusion in record time (no port issues this time!).  As soon as I finished up, I got to ring the bell to signify the end of my treatment.  Here's what the bell says:

Ring this bell, three times well
Its toll to clearly say
"My treatment's done, this course is run
And I am on my way!"

So I rang that bell three glorious times as loud as I could!  Then hugged all the incredible nurses who took such amazing care of me over the last few months.  Here they are:

Had it not been for this amazing group of women, I could not have gotten through all this the way I did.  If you're ever looking to complete a random act of kindness, consider doing something nice for an oncology nurse.

So here's where we go from here:

October 21: PET scan to see if there is any cancer left on my lymph nodes (there won't be)
October 23: Meet with oncologist to review test results and where she tells me I'm CANCER FREE and can start radiation
October 28: Meet with the radiation doctors to discuss my radiation treatment (I'll have radiation to make sure any residual cancer cells that were hiding on the PET scan are all dead)
November 4 (maybe): Begin radiation - not positive they'll be able to start me on this day, but that's the tentative plan for now

One more little piece of exciting news... My mom is coming to visit!!!!  She lives in Texas and didn't think she'd be able to visit until Christmas.  But thanks to her kind boss and my generous father (who lives here in Indy), she's coming for a long weekend in November!  I have so many supportive people here, including my daddy and my big brother, but it'll be so nice to be able to hug my mom!

Ok, that's all for now.  I feel good so far today, so I'm going to try to eat a little bit of dinner (pizza - don't judge me).  Then I need to get LOTS of rest so I can stay awake for the Pirates game tomorrow night - oh, by the way the Pirates are in the POST SEASON!!



  1. With tears running down my cheeks, I have to say I just can't wait to HUG you either. Thanks for booking my flight and a special THANKS to your Dad for providing the means to get there. That means a lot to me.
    So glad for the good news and glad to hear you are feeling pretty good today.
    A special thanks also to all your great friends and family who given of their times and finances to help Josh and Melissa out during this time. Josh, words can't really describe how thankful I am that you are taking such good care of my baby. We share that deep love for her. Thanks! You are all awesome!
    Love, Mom

  2. I know one of your nurses, Tammy! She is an awesome gal :) glad you are over this hump....well on your way to a full recovery! Yay! So proud of you!
    Love ya, Katie