Sunday, January 27, 2013


We had just been informed of the chemotherapy treatment plan and what that would involve.  It was a ton of information to take in and try to understand.  It was also really hard to grasp the fact that Dr. Oncologist was actually talking about ME and not someone else.

My Kids & I - Animal Kingdom, Summer 2006
My oncologist confirmed that I was going to lose my hair and it could start as soon as a couple of weeks after the first treatment.  I was going to be at high risk for infections because my white blood cells would be considerably reduced and I would have a weakened ability to fight infections.  If I got a fever I was going to have to go to emergency at the hospital right away.  I was going to be prone to bruising and bleeding because I would have fewer platelets than normal.  I was going to have my sense of taste and appetite affected.  I was going to have to rethink everyday things and really pay attention to things that I normally wouldn’t have.  If I heard someone coughing for example, I’d have to move away from them right away.  If it was one of my children then I couldn’t be around them.  Who would look after them?  How could I not hug them and snuggle up when they got sick and try to make them feel better?  I couldn’t floss my teeth or go to the dentist because of the potential bleeding.  I would have to constantly wash my hands.  I couldn’t take anything with ASA but only Tylenol.  I was going to have to avoid certain foods and drinks.  I was going to have to drink lots of water.  So many things to think about.

I was given some fact sheets on the two different chemo drugs that I would be getting for the first four rounds.  Basically this was the scoop on the ingredients in the “cocktail” that I would be served.  The first one was called Doxorubicon (Docs-oh-RUBE-i-sin) which is also known as Adriamycin.  Some people also call it “the red devil”.  Besides the side effects that I already mentioned, this one could cause irregular heartbeat, trouble breathing, swelling of the feet, diarrhea, itching, and skin rash.  Just lovely.  The second drug that I would take in combination with that one for these first four rounds of chemo was called Cyclophosphamide (sigh-clo-FOS-fa-mide) which is also known as Cytoxan or Procytox.  This one had the usual side effects and also included dizziness, confusion, agitation, missed menstrual period (hey a bonus!), weakness, swelling of legs, bladder pain, hives, and yellow skin or eyes.  Wonderful.  Even the names of these drugs just screamed “chemicals” and I know they are to help but couldn’t they come up with some better sounding names?!?

Mike & I - Epcot Centre, Summer 2006
A different cocktail would be served for the last four rounds of chemo.  You’d think with words like “cocktail” and “rounds” that this would be a lot more fun right?  I wasn’t having any fun at all and I probably would have quite enjoyed disappearing to the closest pub for a round and then on to the bar for some cocktails.  Anyway, the next drug combo lined up for me was going to include Docetaxel (doe-she-TAX-ell), also known as Taxotere, instead of the red devil.

Well that was fun wasn’t it?  I was also given a time to go to a teaching session at the Cancer Centre about chemotherapy.  Great.  I was going to learn a whole lot more of this fun stuff.  Dr. Oncologist answered whatever questions we could muster up at the time and then promised that we’d get a call soon to set up the dates for the first chemo session.  Then we wished each other a good weekend and we left.  I think he had a much better weekend than we did.

We got a call right after the weekend.  I would begin my first treatment on September 7.  Lucky number 7.  That was only a few weeks away.  I had to prepare.  Where would I start?

I Want A New Drug - Huey Lewis & the News


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  2. Hi Tracy
    After reading all of your stories ... all I can say is WOW! You survived this stupid, crazy illness and I'm so happy for you and your family. I didn't realize the first time you found the lump was the telephone call from Trevor regarding Louis. It was a crazy couple of years back then. With Marie getting this stupid, crazy illness too and beating it, there must be something in both of your bloods. It probably had alot to do with your strength and the support around both of you. When Louis got sick we just didn't think that we deserved this. I spent every afternoon with him until god decided to take him away from us. I think of him often and miss him a lot. I'm so happy that you did post your story with us because it helps us or me anyays understand what you go through. I was at the Sudbury Wolves game last night and about 30 kids from Camp Quality were sitting behind us, so very happy watching the game. If I'm correct, I believe all of these kids have faced cancer in some way. It's just not fair.
    Wade and I and the boys have been without a family doctor for the past 2 years and just recently got a new doctor. He ordered a bunch of blood work for me to have done. He also wrote up a req for me to go and have the test that I've been dreading for many years, I call it the "M" test. I keep making excuses not to book that appointment because I'm such a big chicken but after reading your stories I will be booking my appt tomorrow morning when I get to work.
    I will stop rambling on here, I just wanted to say thanks so very much for sharing your pain but happy ending and I look forward to your next story.
    Your friend always
    Lana :)

    1. Hi Lana - Thanks so much for your comments. Yes it sure was an awful time when Louis was ill and Marie just getting through her own battle with breast cancer. You all must miss him terribly. I am glad you have found a family doctor and that you are going to make an appt for your screening. It really is not so bad considering the alternative. So proud of you Lana! You can do it - you are a strong woman and I am very glad to know you:)

      Take care and let me know how it goes!



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