Well, I haven’t posted a plain ol’ fashioned health update in quite awhile. Mostly because there hasn’t been much new to report. I’m rocking along with the chemo, and am about halfway through at this point. Despite what I was told in the beginning – probably so as not to scare the hell out of me – chemotherapy seems to be a pretty cumulative experience, at least for me. The more I get, the more I feel the side effects.

Don’t get me wrong, the side effects aren’t something I cannot endure. I may get queasy, but I’ve never thrown up. And my energy may wane after treatment, but I’m still functional. I’m one of the lucky ones.

Honestly, the thing that affects me the most negatively are the side effects of a drug called Neulasta. Neulasta is a white count blood booster with which I am injected once every three weeks. Not only does the shot itself hurt like a mother, the side effects include bone, joint and muscle pain; heavy duty fatigue; and wicked headaches…like a really bad flu. But it’s worth it so I don’t get sick. So far, so good in that regard.

As you know, I was on quite a downward streak with my CA-125 protein levels, the cancer marker. A month ago, after two months of treatment, I had experienced an 83% decrease, which is phenomenal. However, when my levels were tested last week, they appeared to have plateaued…no notable increase or decrease.

This was a bit concerning to me, as I had been experiencing some abdominal pain over the past few weeks. The story I had been telling myself was that the cancer was regenerating itself and growing inside me…the pain was from new tumors setting up shop.

I told this to my oncologist who said that, first of all, this was pretty normal. In fact, she said that I would likely think that every ache or pain for the rest of my life was due to a recurrence of the cancer. I can see that already.

Second, she said, she was not worried. She said that the abdominal pains were likely the result of my insides being hosed down with deadly poison nearly every week. And, she said, if the lining of my abdomen was inflammed, this could skew the CA-125 results. So, not to worry.

Of course, I was still worried and she knew this, so to ease my mind, she ordered CT scans of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. I had the scans Friday night, and should get the results in the next day or two. I’ll keep you posted.

The waiting is hard. I continue to see new friends and acquaintances thrive in treatment then take turns for the worse, never to bounce back. This disease is brutal, just fucking brutal. But I still hope to beat the odds. Because despite all of this cancer business, life does go on. And I am enjoying it immensely for the most part. I am loving our life on the hill, my husband, baby and me. Cancer or no cancer, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I just want it to continue. And I’m going to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

On that note…our little Magnolia had her four-month check up today with the pediatrician. She’s sprouting like a weed, that girl. She has grown four inches in four months. She’s 2 feet, 1 inch tall and in the 84th percentile for height. At 13 lbs, 14 oz, she’s around the 50th percentile for weight. With chubby cheeks and fat little thighs, you can tell she’s thriving just by looking at her.

Her latest trick? Laughing. Her silly daddy can get her going better than anyone. And if a baby’s laughter can’t cure whatever ails you, I don’t know what can.

So, onward. I’m going to continue to submit weekly columns to the Stir on the Cafe Mom platform. If you’d like to check them out, go to http://thestir.cafemom.com/column/mommy_has_cancer. They’re typically being published on Tuesdays or Wednesdays if you have some time to kill. (The Stir is a great website, period…you can get lost on there, in a good way.)

We continue to be amazed and astounded in the wake of the love and support we receive from you folks every day. It is what shores us up and keeps us going.

Now go call your mama or someone special in your life and tell her that you love her.

Love and gratitude,
Jo

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