The Chemo Journal – Round 4 – July 18, 2011

July 24th, 2011

I think the fact that I am on Day 7 and just now writing this blog post indicates this round was a killer. The good news is that it was my last round of A-C. Taxol begins on August 8. I’ll be honest…I have tried to devise ways to get out of going through that regimen out of pure terror. A large majority of reports of Taxol I have read online indicate its a breeze compared to A-C but then I have read a handful that claim it’s worse. Those are the ones that scare me. In all, I think I have tolerated the A-C without the most extreme side effects like nausea to the point of vomiting (I have it but I haven’t actually vomited), but then some of the others have really debilitated me for days on end. Keep reading and you’ll see.

Day One (Monday)
Not a bad day at all. Went to lunch with a friend (this has become a regular occurrence because I know this will be the last meal I get to eat without feeling like crap afterwards). I only ate a few bites of it, but I think it was because I was running my mouth 90 miles a minute because of the steroids they give you during chemo. Probably hypes me up even more than normal. Ran a few errands, and had a couple of other friends over for a quick dinner that I didn’t cook! Went to bed and rested pretty well.

Day Two (Tuesday)
Neulasta day – the dreaded day. This time the shot actually hurt – they gave it to me on the right side of my stomach instead of the left. Apparantly I have more nerve endings on that side. They won’t do that again. I felt pretty decent until about 7p that evening. Then it would be all downhill. I’m convinced its the Neulasta that causes most of my problems, but I do think it is necessary. My WBC was 3.8 before this round and that is actually kind of low. The normal range is 4.8-10.8. It was 6.6 the round before and had worn down to 3.8 even though I got the Neulasta last time.

Day Three (Wednesday)
Day three might as well have been a continuation of day two because I kind of lost track of day and time. I slept from 7pm day two until around 10pm day three. I would wake up for about 10-15 minutes at a time, long enough to drink a few sips of water and use the WC. And I think this is where it all went wrong. Imagine a body riddled with toxic chemicals, and having no appetite at all, not adding in any nutrients, and having slept all darn day, not really hydrating very well – its a perfect storm for the most massive headache known to man, not to even be outdone but the worse migraine in history. It was literally so bad, that I contemplating calling 9-1-1 but I couldn’t bear to open my eyes long enough to stare at the glaring light from my iPhone to make the call. Here I was wishing for a normal hard line phone that doesn’t glow like the midnight sun. And to add insult to injury I could actually hear the blood circulating through the veins in my head at every pulse. Each pulse made the pain infinitely worse. Finally I was able to yell loud enough to get bucks attention to come upstairs – it hurt to even whisper. He called the doctor’s hotline at NEGA Cancer care. No one called back. It was nearly two hours later, and I didn’t want to wake buck up because he had been up all night trying to help me with massages and meds, so I took a deep breath, squinted my eyes so I could barely make out the numbers on the phone and dialed the number again. This time I got a call back and the recommendation was go to the ER and wait three hours to be seen (and I wasn’t going to brave the lighting in that joint with the light sensitivity I was experiencing) or come into the clinic in the morning. Frankly I was so sick at the thought of walking through those doors I was having a panic attack. Going into that building welled up in me the memory of the whole night and made me want to vomit. Luckily I fell asleep about 5am and slept until 11a on day four.

Day Four (Thursday)
By the time I woke up the headache had subsided a bit. Maybe I’d hit my wall of pain and had become numb to it – I don’t know but I was very thankful. I immediately started drinking water – as much as I could get down without it coming back up. I’m pretty sure I drank two days worth in a few hours because I was constantly going to the WC – every 20 minutes or so. I napped a few more hours and by about 2:00p I told Buck we had to leave the house. Being there reminded me of the awful headaches and nausea. We went to his mom’s in Greenville, SC for two days. My kids had been there since Monday so I was happy to see them. Spent most of day four sleeping after we arrived. Headaches came and went, had a little more of an appetite, and slept most of the late afternoon, evening and through the night. Consistent joint, muscle and bone pain all day.

Day Five (Friday)
Was definitely feeling stronger and the headaches were less and less frequent. Was definitely getting my appetite back. Wasn’t ready to brave the drive back to Athens or face the scene of the aftermath of chemo – my bedroom – so we opted to spend another night in Greenville. I even worked up the energy to convince Emma (my 8 year old arch nemesis) to let me and Grandmama take her to get her haircut. She had a big rats nest in her hair that I didn’t have the strength to deal with. I decided to let the paid professionals brave that battle. Ended up cutting off about three inches and wow what a difference. She even likes brushing her hair now. We’ll see how long that lasts. Again significant joint, muscle and bone pain in lower body.

Day Six (Saturday)
Woke up feeling pretty decent, save the chemical taste and resulting nausea. This has become a common thread through all the days of chemo recovery. I don’t mention it much in the earlier days because there are other side effects that make that one look like child’s play, but when all the others are gone that one is a particularly annoying one because it affects your taste buds, your appetite, and how you feel all day long. It just makes you feel “yucky” if you can imagine what that feels like. Like constant morning sickness.  Still pretty fatigued and would get partial black outs when I would stand up or sit up from a laying position. But was feeling decent enough to get in the car to go home, and sleep in my own bed (wasn’t too excited about that actually). I did have pretty extreme joint, muscle and bone pain in my lower body but took aleve twice and that helped a lot.

Day Seven (Sunday)
Actually feel pretty good. Don’t have boatloads of energy but only feel about 20% yucky instead of 80% like the day before. No headache, no muscle, joint or bone pain, just a little fatigued. And I can look at my computer without cringing and share all of this with anyone that cares to take a read. I’m crossing my fingers today takes an uphill swing….

Day Eight (Monday)
Was pretty fatigued today. No pains or anything major…just tired. Took a three hour nap and felt better.

Day Nine (Tuesday)
At about 90%. Had a follow up appt with plastic surgeon. Needed another nap but other than that a pretty good day.

Day Ten (Wednesday)
Felt completely back to normal. Went to Atlanta to help my niece get her apartment setup. She is starting law school at Emory in a few weeks. Did a painting for her, and created another art piece for her apartment. Did some shopping, had lunch…was a great day!

  1. Jackie says:

    Keep it up you are a strong girl and proud of you wish I could take some of the treatments for you l