Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chemo Suite, Modeling Experience, & A New Battle Wound!

Well, round 3 in the double blind Ipi trial world came & went with few complications (minus some missing skin...more on that later!)

Mom & I headed into the City Thursday night for a little exploring in SoHo. I really do love that area. You see such a variety of people, shops, and restaurants. I can see why people want to live there. Plus, it was an absolutely beautiful night. There was a slight breeze & NO mosquitoes. The lack of mosquitoes was very exciting for me since they have been so horrible here on the Eastern Shore. After doing some minor shoppig, we headed to Little Italy for dinner.

Little Italy:
The one place where it is still
socially acceptable
for the men to sweet talk the women while
standing on the side of the street.

We had dinner at Angelo's.
Oh, and wine.
One glass...or two...
won't kill me.

Friday morning, July 1st, we woke up early and headed back into the City. We stayed at The Westin again in Jersey City. It is my favorite hotel that we have stayed in since our trips to NYC began in March. (March? I don't even remember!) It is pretty, quiet, clean, and the beds are called "Heavenly" for a reason. I would suggest the hotel to anyone.

I made sure to eat a bagel & drink some juice before my meeting with The Vampires. After my first Ipi round, I learned quickly that losing 16 little tubes of blood makes you feel loopy. As usual, my hand had to warmed before my veins would cooperate. Then I started discussing Vegas with the nurse & quickly forgot I was being drained of blood.

My meeting with my oncologist, The Wizard, was uneventful. I updated him & his nurse Mary on the updated symptoms (including the random white hairs!) and they both seemed excited that it seems likely I am receiving the drug. They warned me that round 3 is when people get hit with the most side effects. Guess we will see what happens!

The Wizard re-examined the left side of my neck due to the swelling & pain I am still experiencing. He said that we could do my scans early; however, he's hesitant to subject young folks to more radiation than necessary. Since I am already scheduled for scans in the beginning of August, we are going to wait. Like we have discussed before, I have had so much trauma to my body in a short span of time. It is no surprise I am experiencing such pain & nerve damage. He put me on a medicine specifically meant to help nerve damage. (I will fill in the name of the medicine when I go home. I don't have the bottle with me.) I haven't started taking it yet. I wanted to be home since ya never know how medicine can affect you.

After verifying that my blood work was wonderful & healthy, I headed into to the Chemo Suite. Although I had a different nurse this time, I got to see the spunky nurse from the last session. She is a spit fire! Love her attitude and that she remembers her patients. That is important to me.

All cozy & comfy in my little room. I have had the same room all 3 sessions. I'm a girl who loves routine, so this makes me happy.

Following the 90 minute infusion & 60 minute observation, I had an appointment with a dermatologist. I am trying to think of an appropriate Blog Name for him. When I first started this blog I felt like it was safer (and more fun) to use nicknames rather than their real names. I would never want to offend any of them. Let's see....the dermatologist at MSK will be called... Dr. Maggooo. Why? Because it is close to his real name & I am not feeling creative. Mom & I both really liked him. He asked for me to describe the last few months for him, then asked why I made the appointment to see him. I said, "Well, it is time for my 3 month check-up...and I'm paranoid!" He laughed. (I think I amused him...He either thinks I am ridiculous or charming. I don't think there was a middle ground.)

He asked me to point out a few of my concerning areas before he examined me. There was one on my belly & one in my scalp that had been worrying me. Then he began his full body examine. Boy, he was thorough! He moved my hair all around so he could fully examine my head. He spread my toes apart so he could check in between them. (And there were some other awkward moments but I won't explain those...) Let's just say, I have never been so thoroughly examined! He came across one mole on my right arm, looked at it, felt it, looked at it again, and said  "Has this always looked like this?" Unfortunately, no. It had started to get darker. He said, "yeah, let's biopsy it."

Dr. Maggoo then had a nurse come in to take full body pictures of me. Let me tell ya....AWKWARD! I won't even go into the details because thinking about it makes me feel bashful. The point of these awkward pictures is to monitor my moles. They will send me a book with the pictures so that I can keep a close eye on my skin. Pretty smart, huh?

After the awkwardness passed, another doctor took me to a room with this odd looking machine. I will post a full blog about this later, but basically the machine is better than an ultrasound because it allows the doctors to see my cells, etc. It is an non-invasive way of seeing if a suspicious area needs to be removed. Dr. Maggoo said, "You are seeing tomorrows technology today!" There are only 10 of these machines in the United States & only 40 in the world! Pretty impressive. There were 6 doctors in the room...I knew it was new technology when that many doctors crowded into a tiny room. (Totally felt like a lab rat...but a cool lab rat!)

Here is the suspicious mole--it looks funky because the machine left a ring around the area:

It was tiny! But, it was raised & black.

Two days later, I took the bandage off. My skin is so sensitive...the bandage gave me a little rash. The spot where he removed the mole is tiny but it is sore. Who knew something so small could be so sensitive?! The location of it--on the inside of my elbow--makes it very sensitive. The stitches will come out in 2 weeks. I will receive the pathology report in 7-10 days.

So, that's what is new in my world...16 tubes of blood, 3 hours in the chemo suite, 2 hours and 15 minutes with an outstanding dermatologist, and a little tiny bullet hole...Sounds like enough drama for one Friday to me!

Again--thanks to everyone for the messages, comments, and phone calls. Your support means so very much to me. XO!


Kate said...

Hoping for good results on the biopsy. Sounds like this dermatologist is pretty wonderful -- I'm so glad he spotted this little mole and will take care of it, whatever it is! Thinking of you always, and even though we've never met, rooting for you in your brave fight :)

HugsforStrength said...

It's amazing how you always sound so upbeat. There is a lot to learn from you. Glad to hear you are probably getting the drug. Everyone in the oncology world is talking about it. Hope the biopsy results are good. Maybe it was just a beauty would make sense since you seem like such a beautiful person!
Hugs for Strength

Chelsea said...

Thank you both so much! My Step Dad believes I will beat this because of my attitude...I hope he's right! ;-)

Rich McDonald said...

Yikes, that does sound like a bit too much drama for one day. But your great attitude and sense of humor haven't abandoned you, and I'd have to agree with your Step Dad. Hope you have a fun and relaxing Fourth; you've earned it. Take care.

Tim said...

I have to laugh at the description of your skin exam. I'm not sure exactly how it happened but I've somehow managed to end up with an all female posse of doctors taking care of me (including my oncologist and my dermatologist), so I completely understand the awkwardness. It's odd enough having someone examining EVERY inch of your body that thoroughly, but she wears one of those drop down magnifying lenses too... "No m'am, I'm not sunburned... I'm just blushing a bit"...

And then there's the story of the very young nurse who the dermatologist called in to help biopsy a suspicious mole that sat right at the top of my butt crack... (She struggled a bit trying to bandage that awkward location).

I still can't look her in the eye when I visit (I just give her an apologetic shoulder shrug)


Ranisa said...

I am hoping for good biopsy results for you! I am getting my pics in January. At this point...I have had kids and the idea of someone doing a FULL body check.....check away! Only I have a huge butt that is trying to keep up with my ever growing pregnant belly. I really shouldn't be worried about that...but.