This is the last chemotherapy cycle. I’m a little surprised because the first two days have been better than the start of the previous cycle; I must have overdone it with outings the weekend before my sixth infusion. My blood test results are generally good: white blood cell counts, liver function, electrolytes, coagulation, etc. I’m a bit anemic, as expected at this stage, and my potassium level is low, so I’m taking supplements for a few days. The doctor even prescribed a different medication against diarrhea that seems much more effective than Imodium. So while I feel tired, it’s been more in keeping with what I had come to expect before, with the chemo taking a few days to bring me all the way down.
Yesterday I was well enough after the infusion to go enjoy Happy Hour with my husband and our friend Dorene at Dim Sum King in Daly City. We had one order of each of the following: xiao long bao (a.k.a. Shanghai dumplings), crispy BBQ pork buns, steamed green onion and pork dumplings, cilantro hand-pulled rice noodle rolls, fried spring rolls, steamed tofu skin rolls, and green tea and sesame paste buns. Most came in threes which made it easy to split (except the XLB, four pieces.) Everything was very good and with Happy Hour, we can in under $35 bucks, tax and tip included!
Today I had an appointment at the Genetics Department in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights. We took the scenic route along Skyline Boulevard and the Great Highway to avoid traffic and have a more pleasant view. We returned the same way and swung by Pacifica to have a late, late lunch (or early dinner) at Rock’n’Rob’s Famous Burgers, overlooking Rockaway Beach and the pods of feeding whales and porpoises. The little side trips, friends’ visits and lunches make the medical stuff feel more like outings and less like the terrifying chores they are.
It will be a month before I have my genetic testing results, which may tell me whether I have some of the genes that most frequently lead to recurring breast (and other) cancers, or it may be inconclusive. The counsellor explained that results come back typically as negative 60% of the time, 10% come back as positive, and 30% as inconclusive, i.e., non-typical but too rarely seen to determine whether they’re a problem. I’m betting I’ll get an inconclusive result because that’s the least useful you can get!
The information, however blurry it is, will factor into deciding whether to opt for a lumpectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy under monitored anesthesia care vs mastectomy with sentinel lymph node biopsy, possible modified radical mastectomy under general anesthesia or even double mastectomy. That’s what I mean by “terrifying.”
Also, I’m too fat for plastic surgery and reconstruction after a mastectomy, so I would have to go flat or with a stuffed bra, excuse me, an external prosthesis.