December 29, 2017
The day that should have been my last chemo infusion. My original treatment plan I had to have 6 chemo infusions that consisted of Taxotere, Carboplatin, Perjeta and Herceptin then I would continue on the Herceptin for an entire year. Herceptin is a HER2+ targeted drug not a chemotherapy drug. It’s used along side Perjeta which is a chemotherapy drug, this is also the drug I am allergic to and was removed from my treatment. Looking back on this treatment is hard since I know these infusions were unsuccessful. I also want to say that my infusion center does not have a bell to ring and I remember at the time I was confused on why it didn’t because I kept seeing people post about ringing the bell when they finished treatment. However, now I understand not everyone gets to ring that bell so I am grateful there isn’t one at my infusion center.
By the time I reached chemo #6 I was a week behind the original schedule due to my body and Perjeta having a disagreement (that’s a nice way to put it). I made it! These chemo infusions were one of the hardest things I had put my body through. I lost all my hair, I gained the lovely steroid weight, and I was mentally and physically drained. By the time this treatment rolled around I wasn’t fully recovered from the previous treatments.
Walking into this treatment I was so tired, I was just looking forward to my Benadryl before infusion so I could take a nap. I was told the more the chemo builds up in your system the more the side effects linger which would explain the exhaustion and other unpleasant side effects.
However, I had no idea what my cousin Jessica had been planning for me as a celebration of finishing chemo. My mom and I were each given a gift that we could not open until I was at treatment. Once mom and I opened our shirts my phone flooded with the beautiful and strong women in my family sending photos of themselves in the same shirts. Needless to say I was in tears and felt like each of them were in the room with us.
The rest of the treatment I was pretty much sound asleep. The plan after this treatment was my Herceptin infusions would be delayed until after my mastectomy which was scheduled for February 8, 2018. Why the wait? My cancer care team; which is my breast surgeon, oncologist and plastic surgeon, wanted my body to heal and for the chemo to be through my system before my surgery was to take place.
After my diagnosis and treatment plan was established a great friend of mine, Tom, told me if I made it through chemo there was a ticket to the Patriot’s first playoff game at Gillette Stadium in January 2018. He told me this back in September 2017 when I first began and January seemed so far away. There were a lot of factors that had to happen but not only did I make it through this chemo but the Patriots made it to the playoffs with a bye week, which I really needed for my own recovery. On January 13, 2018 I was sitting in Gillette Stadium to watch the Patriots beat the Titans!