I happily put the four cycles of Adriomycin and Cytoxan behind me, and enter the less stressful world of Taxol and Herceptin. I've been told that Taxol has fewer and milder side effects, so I was cautiously optimistic about it. However, a few days before I started, a woman at Cherry Hill talked to me about HER chemo, and said she took a Taxol-like drug and just laid in bed and hurt for two months. Nice. (Actually, this woman was very nice and young like me (diagnosed at 37), and I really enjoyed talking to her. I wish she wouldn't have freaked me out about Taxol is the only thing.) I was also a little worried about Taxol because I know what to expect from AC, so a new drug was a little stressful.
I can officially say that Taxol/Herceptin KICKS AC'S BUTT. Remember the fatigue and nausea from AC? Forget it! Bone pain? Not so far! General misery from constipation? Let me put it this way: Taxol is dissolved in a solution similar to castor oil. I may have a little bit of the opposite problem of constipation, but it's WAY better. Way. Way.
The only problem with Taxol (so far, let's not jinx ourselves) is that I had an allergic reaction to it and my throat swelled up and I had a hard time breathing. No big deal. At least, it wasn't a big deal when you consider I had a full bevy of nurses with drugs like Benadryl surrounding me. My sweet nurse, Deanna, told me that since my heart rate and blood pressure didn't go up, I should be able to take my 11 more cycles of Taxol. Once the reaction was under control, they gave me the rest of the Taxol, and I kept breathing and everything. So, that's good. I may ask the nurses to hang around for my first 10 minutes of Taxol on Friday, but hopefully everything should be fine.
A lot of people have been asking about what the rest of my treatment will look like. So here's a review. I have 11 more cycles of Taxol/Herceptin, which takes me to my 36th birthday in early October. Then I have six weeks of radiation, which is five days a week. Yuck. That will end right about Thanksgiving. Along with the radiation, I have to keep taking Herceptin for a year, so until about Sabrina's 6th birthday. However, my hair WILL grow back with Herceptin, so by next school year, I should be good to go without a wig and look normal. I'm looking very much forward to looking normal. I'll also get my reconstruction next summer, as well as finally getting my port out. Then I'll just have some physical and psychic scars to remind me of my Year With Cancer. I'll be dang glad to get to that point.