New Baseline CT Scan, Chemo

My tests last week at M.D. Anderson went just fine. Bloodwork and x-rays were normal.  The post-surgery CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis was clear and is the new baseline for future scans.  Lots of “post-operative changes” (aka radically-altered terrain on my insides) so it isn’t that fruitful to compare previous CT scans to this new one. Whew.  I guess I was holding my breath a little more than I realized.

A couple of weeks ago, I had my first post-surgery chemo treatment (5-FU only) for three days.  All my familiar side effect friends came creeping back. Additionally, the chemo has aggravated my neuropathy so it is very uncomfortable again.  The good news is that it’s just aggravating and not actually damaging the nerves since oxaliplatin is out of the mix.

During last week’s “off” week, I couldn’t understand why I felt so much more tired than during last year’s six months of chemo.  This time I felt fatigued to the bone.  I was wiped out by noon day after day, wondering when I was going to bounce back.  Then it dawned on me. Last year’s chemo was weekly so I was getting a steroid every week.  This time around my chemo and steroid is administered every other week, leaving me hanging during the off-week with no steroid. Apparently, the steroid was doing a great  job and masking some of the deep fatigue last year. This time around it has taken me about a week and a half to start bouncing back.  Just in time for this week’s chemo treatment.

Now that my expectations are reset, it will help me mentally prepare for each chemo treatment.  Hey, by Thursday of this week, I will have completed two out of the six chemo treatments ordered this time around. Not bad!

The current plan is to finish three months of chemo, go back to MDA for more tests and CT scans sometime in April and, if everything is still clear, then I will just visit MDA periodically for follow-up scans and doctor visits. Probably every three months for the first year. But I’m not there yet so I will keep my head in the chemo groove for now.

Just gotta keep punching through!

4 thoughts on “New Baseline CT Scan, Chemo

  1. We are all pulling for you here at AAI. I think of you all the time and pray for relief for you. Today is a beautiful day here in Austin and it reminds me of what a beautiful and wonderful person you are.

  2. For Ivanna’s off-week doldrums, my plan is to substitute Caffe Medici Espresso (Espressoid?) for the missing steroids. It’s a bit cheaper, and goes better w/ scones. I’m checking with the doctors if she can use her Powerport for easy access.

  3. Hey Ivanna:

    I’m so glad to hear that your follow-up went well but sorry to hear about your extreme fatigue. Has everyone brought you books to read or not, and are you too tired to read? Let me know, I have many great books to send your way.

    Can you drink coffee and can you please do something about Rick Perry before we move back to Austin? The NM gov is just as bad, Susannah Martinez. She’s a tea party-approved gov.

  4. wow, that’s complicated! I hope the next 3 months fly by as far as chemo goes, but that you enjoy some slow time with the family…

    It’s funny you were hanging out in the same MD Anderson CT scan waiting room I was, just a handful of days apart. Weird.

    Keep up the progress, Ivana!

    Your cancer buddy,


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