I finished my chemotherapy four weeks ago. The last few weeks were quite rough and I am very glad to have that part of my treatment behind me! The very next week I began the next steps of my treatment.
First, I began the new dose of the Herceptin, which is much higher than the dosage I was getting with the chemo drugs. The good part is that there are no side effects with this therapy! The bad part is that it is given by infusion every three weeks, so I have to go to the Infusion Center for it. Really, it's not a big deal, but it is time I have to carve out of my schedule to see the doctor and then get treatment. Already I have four weeks completed with 36 to go.
Second, it's time for radiation therapy. I met my Radiation Oncologist, got the full razzle-dazzle of what he does, and why it's important for me. I had a "mapping" appointment where the technicians took a bunch of x-rays and measurements and placed tattoos on me so that they can be certain that I am lined up properly for treatment. Then it was time for the Oncologist and the Physicist to put together my actual radiation treatment plan. I had my test run yesterday. Everything went smoothly so today it was "Beam On" as they say.
When I finished my chemo I was very anxious to begin the next step. Every step forward is one step closer to the finish line. One step closer to cured. One step closer to normal. I thought I was prepared. I had done the hard part, this next step was going to be easy. I knew the routine and I was comfortable with it. And then I had to change facilities and I'm just going to admit it, but I don't really care for the new place.
The infusion center is very personable. It's relatively small and there is a lot of personal interaction with the staff, including the nurses who are taking care of other people. Pretty quickly I knew everyone's name, and they knew mine. Sure it may have been only enough to smile and say "Hi, how are you today", but that familiarity was comforting.
The new treatment center is much more formal. I'm pretty sure the sheer size of it makes that necessary, but that doesn't change the feeling of being nothing but a number. There seems to be a large staff and there are new faces, where they should be familiar, every time I go. Now that I'm going every weekday, I'm sure that I'll begin to see some familiar faces and this routine will become familiar too. Right now though, I'm not loving it and I'm looking forward to it being over.