Chemo is safe for a fetus during the second and third trimester. It is not safe for a fetus during the first trimester during organogenesis, when cells are dividing rapidly. I’m not the only pregnant person to have cancer and received chemotherapy. Its obviously not ideal to have a pregnancy and get chemo, but honestly, the alternative is dying. So you do what you got to do.
Chemo starts early in the morning on Monday, August 1. Two drugs, Cytoxan and Adriamycin, get infused through the chest port every other week for 4 cycles. We chose Monday because then the office will be open to care for me if I have bad reactions. On the other Mondays, I will go back in to Roswell to have my blood counts checked and receive steriods.
If all goes well, the 4 cycles will take 8 weeks. If I need more time to recover between chemo treatments, then we’ll give my body the time. It’s okay.
After 4 cycles of Cytoxan and Adriamycin, I start Taxol right away. I get Taxol every week for 12 weeks. Mondays hopefully. Same procedure I think. Not sure when we’ll check my blood counts during this step, but I don’t know that we can plan for that yet.
If this chemo treatment goes according to plan, it’ll almost be Christmas. Baby bump and I will be about 33 weeks along.
Second, surgery. A lumpectomy is the current plan. Plus getting rid of the metastatic lymph node in my armpit. I presume there will be more imaging before operating, so that the surgeon knows where to start, and the team can see what progress the chemo has made!
Third, I have a baby.
Then I have a newborn. And a toddler. Both less than 2 years old. And fighting cancer.
The last thing I need is radiation.
I don’t have any details about radiation treatment yet. And that’s a bit because we need to focus on one thing at a time. Also, because we do not know yet. Radiation treatment will need to be tailored using the information we learn from surgery.
There’s a possibility that I’ll need more chemo after surgery, after the birthday. The tumor that gets removed will be analyzed for any living cancer, and that will determine if I need more or different chemo. Fortunately, after I have a baby, it’ll be safe for me to get any flavor poison! So we’ll play that bit by ear.
Oh, I forgot to mention. If I have a bad reaction to any chemo treatments, we can adjust. It’ll likely mean surgery earlier this year. And I don’t yet know what it might mean for the length of time I get to be pregnant. I’m sad by that thought. I guess that means I really do want to jump out of the burning building.
The good news is that we have a back up plans.
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