The protocol

the fam

My precious family.

My doctor had decided on the next course of action, and it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to hear. First of all, the catheter that I’d had inserted into my chest to administer my chemo treatments would have to stay in indefinitely. I was so looking forward to having that removed. I always had to be careful that I didn’t hug someone too tightly and always be careful not to bump myself accidently in the chest area in general, because if I did knock the port by accident, it was painful and radiated outwards like a ring of fire. Not pleasant. It would’ve been really good to be free of that, but it wasn’t to be. Triple negative breast cancer patients don’t have the option of being able to take low grade chemo in tablet form at home. Like before, I would have to go into the hospital once a month and have my treatments there, which would take up an entire day. My doc wasn’t prepared to remove the port just yet, because he also wanted to make sure that I would remain stable for long enough to warrant taking it out. Low grade chemo given intravenously, together with Avastin and Xgeva injections would be my monthly routine from there on out.

So, this leads me up to the present day where a year and two months later, I am lucky enough to still be stable and in partial remission. I think I made the mistake of diving onto the internet as soon as I got home once the doctor had decided what protocol he wanted to follow, to look up what side effects and possible risk factors were associated with taking Avastin. As far as I know, it was removed from pharmacy shelves at one point due to the high risk factors involved, and I’m not sure whether it was or has since been reinstated, but one of the risks that scare me the most is internal bleeding. I blow my nose like it’s made of porcelain, and every time I go to the toilet, I have the undignified and in my mind, revolting task of constantly checking the toilet bowl for any signs of bleeding. I’ve got used to it now, and there have been a few times when my nose has started to bleed and luckily stopped after a few minutes. There have even been times when I’ve had some bleeding on my underwear that has concerned me, but that has very luckily stopped on it’s own too. It’s a psychological game between me and Avastin. It’s constantly trying to break me, and I won’t lie when I say that I do have my days where I am paralyzed by fear and uncertainty for the future. On those days I struggle to get out of bed and am barely able to function. I mostly lie about listlessly and aimlessly, unable to do anything constructive and suffer from debilitating fatigue. However, the next day I luckily seem to bounce back with my natural optimism kicking in again and my energy levels recovering. I am able to rush around, squeezing as much into 24 hours as is humanly possible. I suppose that one could call this bouts of depression, but you know what? I think after everything that has been thrown in my direction, I’m perfectly entitled to them!

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