Yippee, Whoo Hoo, Hip Hip Hooray, by golly we are half way through Chemo treatments! Yesterday marked Cindy's 4th Chemo treatment and starting in two weeks she changes regiments. She will begin receiving Taxol. Taxol is an anti cancer drug which works by inhibiting cells from dividing. If a cell can't divide, it can't grow and dies. Taxol kills all the cells, but the good thing is that the normal cells will grow back and the bad cells....well they don't. Taxol belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. It's made from things like the periwinkle plant, the bark of the pacific yew tree, parts of the May Apple plant and the Asian "happy tree". I guess we could say Cindy is going organic! Side effects are somewhat similar to the other drugs with the exception that the nausea will most likely be dramatically reduced. yeah! On the other hand, fatigue will increase.
It seems that with each of the past treatments the nausea hits faster and harder. She is on edge today and trying to hold it all in - literally. We go in today for a Neulasta shot. She receives these each time she has Chemo and it is to basically help rebuild her blood counts back up, in particular the neutrophil - those marines of the white cells that fight infection. She will go in next Wed for her Nadir visit and they are just planning on giving her fluids to rehydrate since it has been a pattern now that she will need more fluids at her low point. (Nadir is basically the low point of her treatment cycle which for Cindy falls about 5-8 days after Chemo treatment. However I just spoke with her and it seems like it has moved up to day 2 already. They run a CBC - the blood count and will now give fluids and more anti nausea to help her feel better.) This next week will be spent trying not to count the hours, even minutes of each day, waiting for the time to pass so that she will feel better.
Next week is a big one in the Gardner household. Meg starts school again .... Ali turns 18 and then .... leaves for Snow College! Special prayers are need for Cindy to have the strength to see this all through. The remodel of the home is moving along and looking beautiful. The main, large tumor continues to shrink which is the greatest blessing of all. We know rough days are ahead but for now were are taking joy in the moment.
post script: The name 'happy tree' is a direct translation of the Chinese name xi shu. It is also called the "Cancer tree" or "the Tree of Life". )
posted by Libby