Things are progressing well with my treatment. The last of the steri strips that covered the dissolvable stitches came off and the scars aren't too bad. Don't get me wrong -- I don't love them and they're taking some getting used to, but they're each about 3 inches long and will fade and shrink with time.
I met with my oncologist, Dr. Gradishar, who came very highly recommended from several people. It was a short and to the point meeting, but I was able to (finally!) figure out my chemo schedule, which had been my biggest concern up to that point. We have several important weddings this fall as well as the holidays, which made planning a little tough. My first round of chemo will be on Wednesday, September 28 at 8am. I go every three weeks until my last round on Wednesday, November 30. This schedule allows me to make all of the weddings and doesn't fall close to holidays. So I'm a happy camper.
I haven't been to a wig shop yet. I've gotten several good recommendations and I know that I need to go sometime in the next two weeks. But once I go, that means that chemo is real and rapidly approaching. True to my procrastinating nature it keeps getting put off. Maybe next weekend ... The wig is a precaution since chemo affects everyone differently. But I think the smartest thing to do is get the wig and count on my hair falling out so that in the off chance it doesn't, it will be the loveliest of surprises.
Speaking of lovely surprises, big news: we're having a baby!
Surprised? Welcome to the club! My blood pregnancy test on the day I was diagnosed (June 16) was negative, and a short 3 weeks later we found out I was 5 weeks pregnant. As of yesterday, I am 15 weeks (or, in non-obstetrician terms, almost 4 months) pregnant.
Before you freak out (believe me, we, including both of our families, have done plenty of that), the chemo that I will be undergoing is okay during the second and third trimesters. In case you're interested in reading a little more about it, here is an article on the topic that we found very, very reassuring: http://houston.culturemap.com/newsdetail/06-14-11-when-breast-cancer-and-pregnancy-collide-groundbreaking-new-study-gives-more-hope-to-cancer-children/
We've waiting this long to officially share the news because we wanted to make sure that the baby is doing well and that everything is progressing normally, which it is. We also wanted to talk to my oncologist and develop a game plan, which we have done. As a general rule, chemo and radiation should happen within 10-12 weeks of each other. For obvious reasons, my radiation will have to wait until Baby Gough makes his or his big entrace into the world. BUT my doctors don't want to delay my chemo for fear that it will give the cancer time to do something sneaky, so from the beginning everyone has been operating under the assumption that Baby G will arrive several weeks early. With my current chemo schedule, I will be 26 weeks along when I finish my last round of chemo. Add 10 weeks to that and I will be 36 weeks -- not even full term. As my high risk OB has told me, my delivery date is going to be a moving target. They don't want to deliver any earlier than the have to, but they also don't want to give the cancer yet another chance to do something sneaky by delaying the radiation. My official due date is March 6, but I would imagine the actual day will be sometime around Charlie's 28th birthday, February 20, but time will tell.
As I said, things are going really well. My first trimester was rough, to say the least. It's a good thing Charlie is a shoe in for the husband of the year award, because I couldn't even look at anything but Eggo waffles and Taco Bell bean burritos for about a month, couldn't stomach going to the grocery store or anywhere that smelled strange, and was basically confined to the well air-conditioned areas of our apartment. He was so patient and supportive and always willing to run out and get me Sunny D or applesauce or whatever sounded good to me at the moment. It's been a slow road back to eating normally, but I am thankfully finally feeling almost like myself. I've had 5 ultrasounds so far and Baby G is growing just fine wth a strong heartbeat. One upside of this, ahem, complicated situation is that I am getting plenty of attention from both of my OBs, regular and high risk, which means lots of ultrasounds :)
The moral of the story is that this baby is an incredible blessing. Two days before finding out the big news I was agonizing about what to do (ask my friend Katie -- it dominated our twice-per-year meeting!). IVF or no IVF, that was the question. I knew what the ultimate answer was going to be, i.e., no IVF, but it certainly didn't make the possibility or even probability of never having children of my own any easier to accept. With this baby, I've never so profoundly felt God's work in my life, and I am thankful every day for this little, tiny answer to a prayer I didn't even know I would have to say.
Charlie and I are both very, very excited about this baby. And I hope this explains why we've both been somewhat absent in the last few months ... it's been tough keeping it a secret!
|5 weeks -- there's a baby in there!|
|9 weeks -- baby took surgery like a champ|
|11 weeks -- starting to look more like a little person|
|11 weeks -- little legs sticking up|
|15 weeks -- hey, Baby G|
|15 weeks -- can't wait to meet you in about 5 months, baby|
|The day we got the big baby news|
|15 weeks (and new short pre-chemo 'do)|