Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Treatment Plan

This morning I had an appointment with the chemotherapy doctor. Her name is Dr. Warner and she is really really nice. She spent about an hour or longer with us explaining everything and being quite thorough.

I'll start at the beginning though. We got to the hospital and before they even take you back to the doctor they check your vitals. So I stepped on the scale (you don't even want to know...not eating for 9 days did a number on me) and the nurse took my blood pressure. She looked at me kinda weird and did my blood pressure again. Then she asked "Have you been vomiting? Diarrhea? Are you dizzy?" Um no...why? Oh don't worry, my blood pressure was 70/51. And my heart rate was 145. So......they took my blood pressure and heart rate I think 6 more times and sent me straight away to get an IV and some blood tests. Apparently I was crazy dehydrated and they thought I might even need a blood transfusion. Luckily I was fine after a liter of fluid :) Oops!

Dr. Warner's nurse came in first and talked to us a little bit about the chemo and asked me a bunch of questions like family history things and such. Finally after we'd been there at least 5 hours already (probably only 1 hour) Dr. Warner came in to talk to us. We discussed the type of chemo I'll be getting, the side effects and when I'll be starting. I will be getting two drugs: Taxol and Carboplatin with the possibility of a third drug Avastin. The Taxol I will be getting every Monday and it takes about 1 hour. The Carboplatin I will be getting along with the Taxol every 3rd week and it also takes about 1 hour (so every third week I will be there about 2 hours). The reason they want to do it every week is because recent studies have shown that giving a little bit smaller dose, but more often is more effective. When you wait 3 weeks in between treatment it gives the cancer cells time to grow again after the drug starts wearing off. This way the drug won't have time to wear off so it kills the cells more effectively. The third drug, Avastin, is a very new drug and has not yet been approved by the FDA for ovarian cancer treatment. However, all new studies have shown it is very helpful in treatment. Depending if my insurance approves it or not I will also be getting it. It is not a chemo drug, rather it is a protein that helps stop the body from giving cancer cells all my nutrients and it also helps the chemo drugs get delivered better to the cancer cells. It is almost $10,000 for every dose though so if the insurance says no....we won't use it :) Dr. Warner said that yes, it is helpful in treatment, but the advantages are quite small for the amount of money it is.

Also, because my cancer is epithelial ovarian and endometrioid type, they are going to have to do another surgery to take out the rest of my reproductive system and probably remove the two spots on my liver. I can't remember how many rounds of chemotherapy they said they'd do before looking at surgery again. One round of chemo is a 3 week block by the way. So after a few rounds of chemo they are going to do another PET CT scan to see how the spots on my liver are responding and depending on that and stuff then they will schedule another surgery to take out my ovary and uterus. There is not enough time to harvest my eggs because it takes about 1-2 months and I need to start treatment ASAP. I will never have kids so don't ask. And no I don't really want to talk to you about it either so please don't start offering me advice.

Sorry there are no pictures today! I should have taken a picture at the City Creek Mall with my mom. We went there after the appointment to hang out and stuff. It was fun. I will start chemotherapy on July 9th. I will be getting a port placed in me on July 5th. I get to start running in 2 weeks :) I can still go to Lake Powell (I'll get a week off of chemo! Yay!) I will lose my hair sometime between 3-6 weeks after I start treatment. I might gain weight. I will probably be really fatigued. I think that's all the stuff we talked about.

**Update: I didn't really say how I am doing otherwise! I am feeling so much better from surgery! I am moving about basically as normal, just a little slower and not quite as active. I am eating completely normal! Okay Sterling just said I may still look like the Hunchbelly of Notre Dame....I'd say he might be right. But I am feeling really good, no pain and no nausea. I can almost laugh pain free but I can't quite cough yet :) I have gotten good at not using my stomach when I sneeze, so that is not a problem either. Sorry I forgot to add this earlier! Thanks so much for all the support, we really appreciate everyone's prayers and love!**


  1. thinking of you both...thoughts and prayers coming to you from DC. Thank you for the wonderful examples you set and the optimism you have in such a tough situation.

  2. We check in every day with Cynthia and your blog and want you to know we are constantly thinking of you and offering prayers in your behalf. We love you.

  3. Girl, to see you smile through this is so strengthening! You are one powerful woman! loves and hugs from St George!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  4. You are amazing! Your courage is inspiring. Stay strong.

    -Brooke's sister

  5. Kalina you are so amazing! I hope your treatments go well. You are in our prayers. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you.

  6. Hi Kalina-
    I know that we don't truly know one another, at all really, but we are technically cousins in a way, so I thought I'd let you know that I am following your blog and your in my prayers every day. You're definitely inspiring, and your positive attitude is contagious. Just wanted to let you know that you are thought of and loved by many, many people. I hope you continue to feel better!

  7. Hey sweetie, I have ZERO advice to give! I just want you to know first, that I wanted to come and give you a very gentle hug on sunday but you looked inundated and tired so i opted not too. Second, you're a great woman of faith. you're writing says it all.

    I love you,

    Shelly Hanson

  8. Hey Kalina! You ROCK!! I'm so inspired by you that I am running a 5K on July 21st in Logan. Wanna come and put me to shame? Paul, my friend that you met, is "running" it with me. The sucky thing about asking you to come with me is even if you're on freaking chemo treatment that day and tired, nauseated and walking the whole way, you'll still be faster than Paul and I COMBINED. Ugh, I'm so pathetic! But I'll run because I love you.
    Much Love,
    P.S Don't tell Paul I said that... He's been training for 2 months already.

  9. Kalina,

    I just thought I would tell you that we were opening up our window this evening to get some light into our place and lo and behold there you and Sterling are walking the block at a healthy and brisk pace! So great to see you!

    I must admit, I must be the worst home teacher ever. We missed church the day the ward found out, and I didn't find out about the whole thing until the whole world knew for about two weeks! Sure hope you guys don't hesitate to ask for anything!

    I don't need to tell you that you are inspiring, and blessed with a wonderful attitude!

    -Andrew and Ashley

  10. No advise...just prayers and admiration for your courage, strength and faith. We will be praying for you and your family.


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