And we are back. It's been almost a month since we were last here for chemo. Steven was feeling good today and even has a bit of hair coming in. I had mixed feelings about starting this again--I'm thrilled that it is working, but it is so hard to do. We had almost accepted chemo as a normal life routine. But it was an easy routine to let go and a hard one to pick up again. It is so hard to be apart from the rest of my family.
This morning we came bright and early to see the surgeon. Dr. Jones took out the sutures and replaced Steven's cast. He told Steven that he was as hard as nails, because Steven sat and watched him pull them out with hardy a flinch. Seeing his leg without the cast was a bit hard for me--there is no pretending when you see it in the flesh. His foot is on backward. Steven claims he was unaffected by the sight, but he was shaking as he looked at his leg. It is going to take some getting used to. It is now cast in flourescent green, just in case it wasn't eye-catching enough!
Before he started chemo, Steven had another hearing test. One of the potential side effects of Cisplatin is that it can damage some of the hair cells in the ear that help process sound. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it is happening to Steven. So far his hearing loss is considered mild to moderate in the higher frequencies and at this point he shouldn't need a hearing aide. However, we still have two more rounds of Cisplatin (we've had two already) and so he could lose more hearing. We both left the audiologists feeling a little down. I think "loss" is the best word to describe how we felt.
On a brighter note, he also had an echocardiogram to test his heart function (Doxyrubicin can affect heart function). That looked good--whatever they tested today got a higher score than his baseline, so that is good news. If I had to pick between the two side effects, I would pick the hearing loss. Not that we are out of the water for that either--they will keep testing.
Something else I learned today is that since Cisplatin eventually drops out of the regimen, so we may be able to push some weeks a little closer and finish up a few weeks earlier than we thought. If all goes well, we could be done by the end of September. And, once Cisplatin is gone, he may get to do the Doxyrubicin as an at-home infusion.
I wish I could say that I can almost believe that this will end. But that is hard since I can't even think ahead to tomorrow. While we were stroking some pet therapy dogs today and Steven was beaming, I could almost see him four months from now with his own dog and a stubble of hair and feeling as good as he did this morning, maybe better.