Back in September, right before my first surgery, my HCG levels were at their highest – 145,000. HCG levels are considered negative when they fall below five, and since this number is currently being used to measure whether or not the tumor is still in my body, I have been waiting for this number to be negative for a very long time. On May 14th, I got a call from a nurse letting me know my numbers were at 2. All I could say in that moment was “I’m so happy,” over and over again. When I got off the phone, my eyes started filling with the happiest tears I have ever shed. The moment I had been waiting for for months had come. Chemo worked – and fast. I had crushed cancer.
It’s not quite over yet
I start my first round of precautionary chemo this Friday. I will most likely need two precautionary rounds before I am officially done with treatment. I am so extremely grateful that my body has reacted so well to the treatment. When I first found out about treatment, we were told it might be six months to a year of chemo. If everything continues to go well, I will finish treatment in about three months. It’s been such a long journey to get here, and I am so damn happy that this part has gone by pretty fast.
Round two kicked my ass
After my first round of chemotherapy, I was relieved it had gone so well. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as bad as I had heard. I understand that chemotherapy treatment differs greatly depending on the type of cancer being treated, and I was grateful it seemed as if my treatment really wasn’t all that bad. On the last day of my first round I was telling the nurse how happy I was that I hadn’t gotten sick. She told me that some people don’t get sick until the second or third time they go through chemo. That statement was enough to scare me into never thinking it was going to go that smooth again and my second round proved that for me.
It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t like the first round. It started out fine, but as time progressed, I began to feel more and more nauseous. My good friend, Benadryl, was no longer my good friend either, which was a complete bummer. I compared getting Benadryl that weekend to feeling like you might throw up and then getting pumped with something that instantly made you feel drunk. Now when I think of Benadryl, all I can think of is the uneasiness that came that weekend.
I spent as much time as I could sleeping and powering through it. I barely ate all weekend, fearing anything I would eat would come right back up. I left the hospital and went home on my last day feeling defeated and worn down. I felt like everything had come crashing down – my positive spirit had started to break. It took me a few days to get out of the funk I had put myself in, but I finally started to feel better. Knowing that I have to do it again, I have to stay strong for myself and keep fucking going.
Boosting those White Blood Cells
My second round had started a week later than planned because my white blood cell count was too low. Chemo treatments kill the good, along with the bad, and it’s important to keep your white blood cell count up to help your body fight infection. My counts had gotten so low that if I were to start chemo when it was originally planned, it would have knocked out any sign of white blood cells I had left. To give my white blood cells a boost, I was given shots that stimulate bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. I never really knew what it felt like to have your bones hurts until I took these shots. They did their job and boosted my numbers back up and got me ready for treatment for my second round, and also helped me get ready for my third round that is coming up this week.
Let’s do this
Round three starts this Friday, and I’m ready for it. I have worked with my provider to switch up my anti-nausea meds to try something new and I’m crossing my fingers that they work. Seeing my numbers fall to negative after two rounds has me wondering why I have to go back for more, but I understand they want to make completely sure that the cancer is gone.
After chemo is over, my HCG levels will be monitored monthly for a year to make sure there is no sign of the cancer coming back. I’m definitely looking forward to only having to go to the lab once a month, instead of six times a month! That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, but here I am 🙂
Thanks for checking in with me,
Turns out I’m not the only one who looks good in my wig…