Chemo – Round 1 – The Journal – May 26, 2011

// June 3rd, 2011 // Blog Posts

The Chemo Journal – Round 1

Round 1 Day 1 Outfit

Day One
I may regret saying this now but I was actually kind of giddy about starting the chemotherapy. I am not unwise to the side effects that are likely, but honestly, they cannot possibly be more taxing that recovering from major surgery and the port placement I had.

They have given me so many different medications for nausea, the only way I am going to get nauseous is if the anti-nausea medicine combo makes me nauseous. Tired? Eh who cares…i’m tired all of the time because of my ridiculous sleeping habits. Hair loss – taking care of that tomorrow. Getting rid of most of it myself. We’ll late nature do the clean up. Let’s see what else…here’s a list:

Common Side Effects of Cytoxin

  • Low blood counts.
  • Headache
  • Your white and red blood cells and platelets may temporarily decrease.
  • Hair loss. Temporary (alright this is a given, no surprises here) – usually begins 3-6 weeks after the start of therapy. Hair will grow back after treatment is completed although the color and/or texture may be different.
  • Nausea and vomiting, more common with larger doses, usually beginning 6-10 hours after therapy – there is something very wrong if all the anti-nausea medications that gave me can’t beat this back. They really mean it when they say don’t swap spit. If someone that hasn’t taken all of those preventative medicines gets chemo in their system through bodily fluids they will be barfing up a lung! I’m poison I tell ya
  • Loss of appetite – hey i can finally lose those 5 pounds i’ve been working on!
  • Loss of fertility – This could be a windfall; save my husband the trouble of the old “snip snip” procedure.
  • Discoloration of the skin or nails (see skin reactions).

Less Common Side Effects

  • Diarrhea
  • Mouth sores
  • Bladder irritation and bleeding (hemorrhagic cystitis)

Common Side Effects of Adriamycin

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Red-colored urine 1 to 2 days after receiving Adriamycin
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

I tell ya, I expect to lose those stubborn 4 or 5 pounds i’ve been trying to get rid of two days, what with all the diarrhea and vomiting.

Port Access

Oh and for all my friends out there who were wondering how the port is accessed, here is a photo (yes it is my arm and not my leg – i’m a little fat and my arm is swollen because of that surgery) of the little thing they stick in my arm that accesses the port. Just a cheap looking piece of plastic with some tubing coming out of it. Only hurt a pinch and I wasn’t using the numbing cream since it hasn’t been two weeks since the port placement. I get to use it next time.

Along with the two cancer drugs they gave me, they also added steroids and an anti-anxiety medication. I queried as to why in the world they would think I needed anti-anxiety medication – I mean really, me of all people? :) So those two with the lortab i’m already on it was one hell of a cocktail. Felt like I had thrown back six gin and tonics by lunch time.

Its about 6:30 – 7 hours after I finished and I am feeling a little run down but that may have more to do with being up from 3:00 – 5:30a this morning, doing all the chemo stuff, going to lunch, shopping, blogging, yada yada yada…..I think it’s time to slow down for the day. Tomorrow I have to go back around 3p and get a shot of Neulasta to protect my white blood cell count.

Hope my day 2 post isn’t too much worse…pray for me now.

Addendum – for any of the cancer activists our specialists out there here is a complete list of the injections I received in my first round:

  1. Saline Flushto clear the line
  2. Sodium Chloride – 500ml – hydration
  3. Lorazepam – .5mg – for anxiety and nausea
  4. Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate – 20mg – steroid to prevent allergic reactions
  5. Zofran – 18mg – for nausea
  6. Doxorubicin HCI – 104mg – this is Adriamycin, one of the chemo medications
  7. Cyclophosphamide – 1030mg – this is Cytoxin, one of the chemo medications
  8. Saline Flushused to clear the line
  9. Heparin (porcine) – 5ml – to prevent clotting at area of injection

Actual image of the dosage and administration sheet

Dosage Sheet for Round 1

Day Two
Pretty much the same as day one. Felt normal, slight headache but nothing ibuprofen couldn’t fix. Shopping, working, computer time, cooking, cleaning…felt like myself

Day Three
Oh jesus….did a truck just run over me? Didn’t even feel like getting out of bed until after noon. Slept on and off. Awful headache all day until Dr. Gunn called in Florinal. Then I could bear to have my eyes open. A little squirley in the stomach department. Appetite suppression is exact opposite of what I have. I want to eat all the time but I think that’s because maybe I feel a little pukey. Muscles are very weak. About 3 or 4pm I started feeling slightly more energetic. I have officially reconsidered my “giddy” comment above. It is worse. And to think it gets even worse with each additional round. Skeered!

Day Four
Woke up feeling much better than day three but headache is still with me. Drank a glass of caffeinated tea, coffee, and took 2 florinal. Still have a headache but it’s in the periphery. If my mind goes blank, its all I can think about but i’m trying to keep my mind busy. Don’t feel too tired or nauseous but I don’t think i’ll go running any 5k’s anytime soon. So it’s now about midnight on the 4th day and I would say I feel 95% of my normal self. Feeling much better and hoping when I wake up in the AM i’m back to my regular self (which is just lovely of course!)

Day Five
Still at about 95%. Queasy. Headaches. A little tired.

Day Six
Still at about 95%. Queasy. Headaches. Dizziness. A little tired. Maybe this is the new 100% – this does not make me happy. Frustrating if this is as good as it gets in terms of how I feel.

Day Seven
Dizziness and headaches continue. Occasional stomach queasiness.

Day Eight
Actually had one of the best days so far but about 4:30 started having awful lower back pain and extreme dizziness and shortness of breath. Went home and got in bed and felt a little better later on. Back pain continued all night

Day Nine
Terrible headaches all day today and occasional lower back pain. No dizziness! Managed to get a 15 minute walk in.

Day Ten
Started out the day with a 15 minute walk. Energy is great in general. The nagging headache is the only residual..oh and the metallic taste in my mouth that I had the first 4 months of both of my pregnancies. I would just pretend like i’m pregnant but for some reason that scares me more than chemo!

Day Eleven
Definitely on the other side of chemo side effects. What a relief. Now I know I have about 9 days of random suffering then good days. Knowing that makes it easier to cope.

Day Twelve
Normal day. Normal feels great. I know what the phrase “At least you have your health” really means now.

Day Thirteen
Developed a strange case of shaky hands…makes it hard to type. I’ve had this before for short periods of time – I always thought it was a result of hypoglycemia but this is lasting longer than normal. In the past, I actually feel like I have to ingest sugar to stop the shaking. This time the thought of sugar repulses me. Totally strange….especially for me because i’m typically thought of as a sugar addict.

10 Responses to “Chemo – Round 1 – The Journal – May 26, 2011”

  1. Jackie says:

    You got it prayers for you enjoy the meds and sleep off the chemo LU

  2. Mom says:

    Praying isn’t my forte but you know that I will do whatever it takes to make everyone else’s prayers help you out. Love you much

  3. Susanna Drennen says:

    I just like that took a picture of your outfit! Love th hat – hardy har har :)

  4. Ellen says:

    Many prayers are being sent you way and lots of love too

  5. Andree says:

    I’m blown away by your courage. You are amazing! Pretty please let us know if we can do anything for you. We’d be honored!

    • admin says:

      When I think of something I will let you know. Inviting me over to let me see you do some of that fire and glass magic would be excellent!

  6. Candice says:

    Stephanie,
    Every time I read your blog, I get the urge to make you a hundred more chicken pot pies…I guess I should supress that, since there are three in the freezer from earlier chicken pot pie making urges.
    You are remarkable. I love the way you express yourself.I love your haircut.

  7. You simply rock. I am in complete admiration.

  8. Beverly Smith says:

    You are definitely in my prayers. I am available if you need me for anything.
    Love to all,
    Bev