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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treatment Number 5: Just The Girls



Doreen, Melody, & Hilary



Yesterday was treatment 5 for me!!! I can hardly believe it! Only 3 more and I'll be on with my life! This was one treatment I was looking forward to in so many ways. First, it was my fifth treatment meaning that I am now over half-way done with my chemo. Second, I was fortunate enough to have two girlfriends, Hilary and Doreen, accompany me on this trip. I have written about both of these girls numerous times. Hilary and I have been best friends for 17 years and she has gone above and beyond for me through this entire journey. I am amazed by her generosity and kindness every day. Doreen is a breast cancer survivor herself and that is what brought us together. What a blessing she has been to me over the past 5 months. Our friendship is one that will last a lifetime and I am so thankful for her. Had it not been for breast cancer, we might have never met.

We left Springfield on Tuesday morning and headed up to St. Louis where we enjoyed a day of shopping at The Galleria and lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It seemed like every second we were chattering away. It was amazing how fast the three of us bonded and it was like we had all been friends forever. That evening we freshened up and rode the Metro down to Laclede's Landing. We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Asia. I have actually eaten there every time I have been to St. Louis. That would be a total of 6 times so far. If your wondering if I am sick of it, the answer is no. Asia has the best food and I have been able to try something different every time. After dinner we headed back to the hotel where we spent another couple of hours exchanging stories, laughing, and just being girls. What fun!!

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at The Majestic Cafe. By 9:00 we were at Siteman to begin my day of appointments. I was very fortunate this visit because I actually got to see Dr. Ellis and I was so glad that Hilary and Doreen had the opportunity to meet the man I had been telling them about. I was greeted with a warm hug from Dr. Ellis. We discussed several different things including the possibility of children after chemotherapy. Dr. Ellis said there is 50% chance or greater that my menstrual cycle will return after chemo. If it does return, then having another child will be an option for me. When I asked him the length of time I should wait before trying to get pregnant, he stated that there is no set time. As long as I am menstruating regularly, then I can get pregnant at any time. I thought this was very encouraging. The one thing he did stress was that I needed to have my ovaries removed by the age of 35 because of the increased risk of ovarian cancer. I also asked Dr. Ellis what happens after treatment. He said that as of now I am considered cancer free and I have absolutely no reason to believe that I am not cured and will not stay that way. He went on to explain that ordering unnecessary scans do more harm than good. Dr. Ellis said that for many women it creates a level of anxiety leading up to the scan that is not healthy. In addition, one cat scan is equal to 40 chest X-rays. After I am done with my treatment, I will see Dr. Ellis every three months for one year, then every six months, and then once a year for who knows how long. I hope to be followed for a very long time.

After my appointment with Dr. Ellis it was on to chemo. This is where things get a little foggy for me. Since I could have only one person in the treatment area at a time, Doreen was the first to accompany me. The treatment began just like any other treatment.....until it came time to give me the Benadryl. Now, I have never been one to take Benadryl and stay awake for long. Well, this Benadryl was given through a syringe directly into my vein. Let me just say I have NEVER done a drug in my life but I have to believe that the feeling I experienced from the Benadryl was similar to getting really high. Within 30 seconds of receiving the Benadryl, my head was swimming, my speech was slurred, and I literally almost fell over getting up to go to the bathroom. I would like to apologize to Doreen now for anything I may have said that she really didn't want to know hear. What happens in chemo stays in chemo! I can remember moving from the recliner I was in to a bed and then that's pretty much it. Hilary was able to come back for a short amount of time but I was to out of it to hold a conversation. The chemo treatment that my two friends were to "keep me company" at, was a doozy. I slept the entire three hours! Thank goodness they both came because they had each other to talk to for that entire time!

This is me on my Benadryl "High". Did I actually ask you to take this picture Doreen?


I finally woke up when my IV machine started beeping to alert the nurse that the medicine was finished. When I looked around, the other 8 people who had been in the same pod with me when I stared were all gone. I was the only person left. I was able to dial Hilary's number and before long Doreen and Hilary were back there to help me gather up my things and get on the road for our three hour drive. I love those girls! We got home at around 10:00 and the Benadryl was FINALLY wearing off.

It's unfortunate that our girls trip to St. Louis had to involve a chemo treatment, but it will be a treatment that I will never forget! Thank you so much Hilary and Doreen for being such great friends and taking such good care of me!

Eating Lunch at The Cheesecake Factory



Ready for our Girls Night Out



Me and Hilary at Asia



Me and Doreen.....2 breast cancer SURVIVORS!!



Hilary and Doreen



Breakfast at The Majestic Cafe

2 comments:

Robin said...

Oh Melody you look so beautiful!!! How are you feeling??? So happy to have met you! Tight Hugs. Robin
your benedryl story cracked me up!!

H P Austin said...

Our mini trip was fun. Too bad it had to end with chemo. I am so glad that we had that time together. Doreen & you were a blast to be with. Also I am so glad that you were "awake" enough to make it to the car. I was afraid I was going to have to carry you. Love HIL