Oncology (and Zacharias) Update

Who has two thumbs and two chemo treatments left?!?  THIS GIRL!!!  :-)

I am so excited to be nearly done with this phase of my treatment.  Don’t get me wrong–the Taxol hasn’t been too bad.  The first few weeks were rough, but it has only gotten easier.  The only side effect I’ve noticed is a little fatigue the day of treatment (thanks to the IV Benadryl I get before the Taxol) and that’s about it.  My blood has been checked weekly to make sure my body is handling the expected adverse effects of the chemotherapy.  So far, so good!  My hemoglobin is back to normal and my white blood cell count is holding steady–still below normal, but good enough to keep getting chemo.

My hair is even starting to grow back.  Kind of…  It’s very fine, and mostly white.  It will come in even more once the Taxol is completed.  While I do have a little fuzz on my head, I haven’t noticed any new growth in my eyebrows or eye lashes yet.  Generally speaking, chemotherapy drugs attack fast growing cells in your body, like cancer cells.  It often gets after some of the other fast growing cells in your body too, like hair follicles.  That’s why hair loss on the head, legs, and under arms is so common.  Eye brows and eyelashes don’t usually have the same fate because they grow more slowly.  However, I’ve had chemo long enough to suppress the growth of any new eyelashes or eyebrows.  So I’m in uncharted territory here–trying to fill in my eyebrows with a pencil.  Most days I can pull it off after several attempts…  The time saved from not having hair to style in the morning is now being spent on makeup!

I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday and got a rough idea of what is next.  I will be meeting with the radiation oncologist sometime in the next 2 weeks to determine exactly when I start radiation and how many zaps I’ll get.  I am anxious for this appointment…  The mother/woman/extensive planner in me NEEDS TO KNOW!  :-)   I will be seeing my oncologist again in 3 weeks for a regular check up and review of my labs.  After that, I will be seeing him every 4 months for the next year.  At these 4 month appointments he will be reviewing my blood work and looking at a tumor marker called CA 27-29.  I haven’t read a ton about it, but my understanding is that if this level is elevated, further tests and scans would be done to check for recurrence.  So let’s pray that doesn’t happen!

Now for the Zacharias update–complete with pictures!


The kids and I went on a little road trip at the beginning of October to southern Minnesota for a baby shower.  The highlight of their trip was swimming in Aunt Hannah’s hot tub.  Outside.  In the freezing cold.  Cousin Stella also joined us for a couple laps…


The next week was Tate’s turn for surgery.  He had the same surgery as Mia (trigger thumb release) but on his left thumb only.


Here he is after surgery with some random electrician who stopped in for 30 seconds to say hi.  :-)  (Sketchy beard, huh?)  Tate’s surgery was a success and he is already done with his occupational therapy.  His first few days were a little rough, just because his sister was constantly nagging him–“Use your fumb, Tate!” or “MOM!  Tate’s not using his fumb!” Etc, etc….

Over MEA weekend, we made the trek to Ashley, North Dakota for a Dockter family gathering and some pheasant hunting on the farm.  It was so awesome to spend the weekend there and catch up with family that we don’t see nearly enough.  Our kids played SO HARD every day and crashed every night.  :-)

001 (2)Here’s a few little guys who paused long enough to pose for a quick pic:  Hunter, Elliot, Tate, and Evan.  :-)  We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

We wrapped up October in the traditional fashion with pumpkin carving…

011 012 015…and of course—some trick-or-treating!

016I hope your October was as fun-filled as ours!

7 thoughts on “Oncology (and Zacharias) Update

  1. Thanks for sharing! Good to hear things are going well and pray that it keeps going well and on the road to recovery!!! The pictures are great! Take care:)

  2. Wow!!! Only 2 left, HOORAY. I am so proud of you and the way you have handled yourself and have let us all pray for you when you really were low or high. Your honesty amazes me and you let us in on your private thoughts. I am soooo proud to call myself your aunt. Way to go Cassie!!!! Love you lots and will continue to pray for you. Brenda Date: Fri, 2 Nov 2012 20:05:50 +0000 To: baumgartbrenda@hotmail.com

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