Monday, July 8, 2013

No, I didn't ride off into the sunset!

You know you are overdue to update your blog when you start to get messages, "Where are you?  Did you ride off into the sunset"?

Well, I haven't exactly ridden off into the sunset, although I have been doing quite a bit of riding!, but I have also been quite busy... busy figuring out a treatment plan, busy getting all my ducks in a row before I start treatment, and busy preparing myself and my body for this unexpected and frankly undesired second round of treatment.

In my opinion, one of the most important things about a cancer treatment plan is to believe in and have confidence in your plan.  Like I mentioned in a previous post, I knew that chemo, radiation, and switching Tamoxifen to an Aromatase Inhibitor was inevitable, but I was feeling like we were stabbing in the dark in choosing a chemo regimen.  If I am going to put my body through the toxicity of chemotherapy for a second time in two years, I want to be damn sure we are choosing the best plan.  For this reason, Shannon and I sought a second opinion, all of the stars aligned, and we were able to travel to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

MD Anderson has the reputation of being one of the best cancer centers in the country and people travel there from around the world to get advice and treatment.  Even the size of the facility is overwhelming.  Shannon and I estimated that the cancer center itself was larger than University of Utah Hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute put together.

"The Tree" in Mays Clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center

Our whirlwind trip of less than 24 hours was to attend the 2nd opinion clinic in hopes of coming up with a chemo regimen that we felt confident about.  Without going into nitty gritty details, and I could fill up pages with details, our expectations were met and we walked away with a plan!

MD Anderson has patient robes similar to what you wear at the Spa.  
Although it wasn't exactly a Spa appointment, I'll take a nice robe over an icky gown anyday!  

Yes.  Chemo, radiation, and switching to an Aromatase Inhibitor were all recommended, but the chemo regimen was tweaked a bit by the MD Anderson oncologist with reasoning and justification that made perfect sense to us.  It was a very worthwhile trip!

So without further ado, here is the plan:
1.  Chemotherapy to start ASAP at Huntsman:  FEC (5-FU, Epirubicin, Cyclophosphamide) x4 with 3 weeks between each infusion.
2.  Radiation:  Although I have NOT yet met with the radiation oncologist I am expecting radiation therapy five days/week for five consecutive weeks.
3.  Ovarian suppression and initiation of Aromatase Inhibitor.

Well that's the plan. Am I happy about undergoing treatment again?  Nope.  But I am confident in my plan, and believe that it, along with everything else I am doing to promote an anti-cancer environment in my body, will be effective.

Moving on.....

Besides figuring all of this out, I have been a very busy bee.  In the past few weeks, in addition to traveling to Houston, we have traveled to St. George, Utah to work on our condo twice and I have participated in two super-fun photo shoots; one for Deer Valley Resort and one for my race team, Epic Brewing/   Then, in my "spare" time, I have been taking care of my body and mind as best as possible to prepare it for this second round of treatment.  So basically, I have been riding all of my favorite trails!

Here's some photos from recent rides that just make my soul happy:

 One of my favorite places: Shadow Lake
 Outriding an afternoon thunderstorm on the Crest
 Dropping the Spine on my Pivot 429C
 Cruising along at 10,000 feet
 Pure joy
 The mountain wildflowers are popping with help only from nature, yet I can't keep my grass alive.  Hmm....
Oh the places my bike takes me: Desolation Lake

And some teasers from our Epic Brewing/ photos shoot:

Photo: CottonSox Photography
I'm pretty sure I was cracking up here when I saw "CottonSox" in the dirt under the bridge!    
Photo: CottonSox Photography    

Stay tuned as more updates and posts are in the works!