A New Path… Xeloda.

I taught yesterday morning and received my scan report. It’s a hard choice to decide to read the report on my own, but I want to be prepared and be able to have clarity when I make decisions. There are a lot of new bone lesions, more liver, and the breast and lymph node are active again. There was one part that said the esophageal area lit up as well.

I was able to cry a bit with my friend heather who is a nurse when she came to see me once we arrived. Then it was time to see Dr Stopeck and Hermina. We discussed Donnie’s email from the night before. She said I was just on everolimus and had progression with that therapy.

She said that she feels I have heterogenous cells and the biopsy would not tell us anything new, as even if the cancer flipped, the options on the table would all work for triple negative.

She is also stopping the faslodex hormone therapy and holding off of the zoladex until a blood test shows ovarian activity.

Dr Stopeck said the CA125 is now a good marker indicator for me with the breast and lymph node activity. She felt the node and also remarked the breast is firmer upon examination.

She mentioned a new clinical trial she is starting on Friday but said it is too early and the dose would be too low for me now. She also said she wants to

hold off on the araura kinase trial as it is still too new.

She feels xeloda is my best bet now. The other options like doxil etc are all IV chemos and she feels that based on my scan and the fact that although the cancer continued to spread, the liver isn’t all that active in uptick when we looked through the scans.

Her plan is 500 mgs of xeloda. She said my BSA was a good number and I should tolerate the higher dose well.

She is planning two weeks on and one week off with blood tests on the off week.

I’ll take four pills twice a day.

Diarrhea and nausea are possible side effects. Good times.

She also discussed hand and foot issues and suggested udder cream.

She is meeting with someone about a lotion next week which is showing to help xeloda patients with the hand and foot issue.

She had originally wanted me on xeloda before we chose verzenio, and feels confident about this plan of action. When I last spoke to Donnie, he had said that he also thought xeloda was a good option as well, and had mentioned it in a prior conversation in December. I was concerned he had suddenly said to not take it the night before, and my herbalist also said to not take it.

This is where I pray for discernment.

I’ve got one of the top oncologists in the country, a leading researcher and expert who I love and loves me telling me she feels this is best bet. I’ve got a Chinese herbalist telling me to stop all chemo and go to Mexico. I’ve got a top expert on supplements and food telling me to do a different chemo.

All while trying to decide which one to choose that will help me live.

I’ve felt the word xeloda in my heart, and even joined a Facebook support group. Two friends of mine were on it and both had three years on this drug.

Three.

We looked closely at the scans, and I saw my clear brain, lungs, spleen, ovaries, kidneys, bladder and esophagus. THe report had me confused and I’m glad they are all clear. There isn’t cancer on the scapula shoulder area, and we said I’ve probably been hunching over and guarding my breast.

In fact, I’m doing it now.

So I’ve got to retrain my body to open up my chest area. We mentioned the pain in the areas where the cancer is, and we both said it’s probably a good idea to stay away from pain medicine so I can tell if the treatment is working by less pain.

We discussed how she has seen patients go the “no chemo” route and it not ending well. I’ve seen people not do chemo and get to NED. I think for me, a blend of both worlds is what I need. I emailed my other specialists and I start next week.

Then?

I went and danced.

My union had a party for the retirees of the district, and we honored my principal. It’s hard having an end of year party while in the midst of report cards, class orders, packing up and still teaching… and it’s on a Thursday.

But we did it, and we danced away. I feel like the old dinosaur teacher as we have so many young teachers staring out, but they taught this old dog a new trick with my phone and we all laughed. It’s called boomerang, and it reminded me of how quickly we all bounce back all day long. We may get shaken up a bit, but we steady ourselves. It felt so good to laugh and celebrate and dance. It reminded me why I love my class dance parties.

My sister took morgan and quinn to hulling night at the Strawberry festival . She gave my kids memories on a night they could have been home worried about me at the hospital.

Best sister ever.

Today is meet and greet day in a lot of ways. It’s kindergarten orientation, and my class gets to go play on the playground while the new batch of next years kids come to visit . It’s always a shock when my five and six year olds leave and suddenly my room is full of four and five year olds again like in September. I realize how much growth has gone on in this little room, and how sad I’ll be to let these children go. Our new principal is also coming to meet us, so it’s a day of first impressions all around.

Tonight is family night at the school, maddie has a ROTC event, Quinn has tennis, Joe has a game, and rob has been invited to a benefit for the theater.

It’s been a week.

Someone I went to high school with had a heart attack and passed away yesterday, leaving behind his wife and children. A woman who I’ve known my whole life also passed yesterday after living a full long life. I’m sending both families love.

We never know when our time here will be done. As scary as this whole cancer journey is, I’m still here.

Living, laughing, dancing.

My children are blessings, my husband is my rock.

I am a lucky girl.

May I continue to be lucky and blessed and be healed for forty more years. May all who come into our building today feel the energy and love we have for each other and our children, and continue to add to the love.

In Jesus’s name, amen.

Xoxo

Keri

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