Golden Week

The calendar shows a three day weekend at the end of April and a four day weekend from May 3rd. We've closed our language school for the week even though the kids still have school for two days this week.

M's U.S. passport has just expired so we need to take her downtown during embassy business hours (the embassy has both U.S. and Japanese holidays so they're only open Tue. and Wed. this week) to apply for a new one pronto. So much for a perfect attendance record at jr. high, she has to be present when we submit the application, as do both parents as she is under 14 years old and the passport agency is trying to avoid international abduction issues. If only one parent can go, an expensive notarized letter with reason for absence and notarized permission to apply for a passport for the minor is necessary. The nearest U.S. style notary is AT THE EMBASSY...Japanese facsimiles of notaries charge about a hundred dollars for each signature.

Actually, J and L's passports have also expired but N's is valid until the summer of 2008. With no immediate travel plans, I think we can wait until summer vacation so we won't have to keep them out of school for a day to apply in person. I think that the embassy notary can notarize the necessary forms free of charge so S won't have to go all the way downtown again. J will be 14 by then and no longer need permission from either parent (Yeah, sure...J: Arrivederci! I don't need you old folks, I'm off to see the world.) I'm glad that we managed to talk S into a trip downtown anyway.

With treatment on Tuesday and the embassy on Wednesday, I'm getting out and around a lot these days. Hopefully we can go do the pool with the slides that everybody likes or cycle over to Nogawa park with a basket full of rice balls wrapped in seaweed on Thursday or Friday so the kids can say they actually went somewhere or did something during Golden Week.


Tokyo Tuesdays

I think I'm getting used to this weekly routine now. I manage to find the right part of the train where I'm likely to get a seat in the morning rush, make the transfer to the downtown subway smoothly and not forget to get off the train at the station near the National Cancer Center (only forgot twice, suddenly remembering "Hey! That was my stop!" just as the train doors close and the train pulls out). That seems to be the worst part of my Herceptin treatments.

The treatments themselves are pretty simple; hand my file to the chemo station staff, take the escalator back down to the reception lobby where I can pay my bill in advance at the accounting counter which is not yet busy in the morning, get a bottle of green tea, return to the chemo room to be assigned a chair, get set up for the IV and sit for an hour and a half in a nice reclining chair sleeping or reading while the drug and a saline solution chaser drip. As soon as I'm done, I can go right out the door and get the train home instead of waiting for 20 or 30 minutes at the busy accounting counter to pay my bill.

The subway and train home are not at all crowded so I can sit and finish my book. It takes about an hour one way and I'm usually home for a late lunch and a short nap before the kids come home from school.


X-Ray Results

Well, the good news is that the ugly spots in my lungs are no larger than they were 6 weeks ago (the largest of the five I could see in the x-ray is about 6cm long and 2 cm wide) and may be a little smaller even. Also, I remain symptom free unless anyone looks at me with X-ray vision and sees the blobs. It isn't as encouraging as I'd hope it would be but women in a Herceptin support group said that basically this is what to expect. Their mets shrank with additions of other chemotherapy drugs to the Herceptin.

As I am not lacking oxygen or getting palpitations, I'll wait until after May's CT scan before possibly starting with more chemo with my Herceptin. I'm glad that the Herceptin has stopped the advance of the cancer in its tracks and will continue with treatments to keep it that way.

I used my postal account for today's treatments and was comforted to see that more friends have contributed to my treatments. I really appreciate everyone's generous support through messages and contributions.

Today's treatment went well and I got home earlier than expected so here I am on the computer.



M has been admitted to the local junior high school and will begin her one mile walk there tomorrow morning with a big bag to carry all of her new textbooks home to be labelled with her name. Fortunately, by junior high school, the children can do this themselves and I won't have to write or stick her name on every tiny item she might need at school. The weather cooperated and a neighbor offered to take a family shot of the three of us so here it is:

I finally got over last week's cold and am ready to go tomorrow for an x-ray to see how the Herceptin is working and to get my weekly dose of it. I guess I'd better plan an easy breakfast and lunch for the kids who won't be up when I walk out the door or who will be home for lunch because the junior high doesn't begin school lunches until Wednesday.


Celebrating Spring

Back to School

Three out of four returned to school today for a morning. M's entrance ceremony will be on Monday. I have a very nice Anne Klein black pants suit to wear as a lovely woman in the breast cancer survivors yahoo group I joined decided to cheer me up with a box full of nice clothes and even some treats for the kids. M will wear her new school uniform, which is the same as J's but a few sizes smaller. I'm glad that I won't need any anti-nausea medications or a wig for this year's ceremony because Herceptin is not so caustic as the chemo-cocktail I was on a year ago. I'm also glad that I can go at all and am sure to shed a few more tears at how grown-up M and her classmates all look in their clean new uniforms.

Next Tuesday I'll get an x-ray before my fifth treatment to monitor how the regime is working. I'm hoping that it is doing the wonderful things that I've heard it has done. If not...the next step will be to add another drug to the infusion, probably one called Navelbine, and get the hats and wigs out again for a while. I am comforted by the fact that there are options that I may try yet but am still hoping that the easy to deal with (physically anyway) Herceptin is working its magic. I'm also comforted by all the support I've been receiving through my cyber groups, emotional and financial.