Here’s my promised update on how I’m doing a few days after my second round of chemo. I know I have a few new followers, so as a quick recap: I have 6 rounds of chemo planned, every three weeks, on Tuesdays. Before every session they check my blood counts, and if they all look fine, they proceed. If everything stays on schedule, my last round should be the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Lots more info on my overall treatment plan here.
On Tuesday, Jessica, the nurse assigned to me this time, gave me a copy of my blood test results. Great white blood cell count (the first number); borderline red blood cell count (the two lower red-highlighted numbers are what they monitor and those were close to the low end of the range). I’m not sure how low it has to be for them to postpone, but I’m told it’s fairly rare for them to postpone. I felt great, and everything proceeded as normal. The doc herself was a bit late, so the infusions didn’t start until around 10:30am, at which point Tad left (to go win some nephew brownie points by fixing his aunt’s printer, in nearby Escondido).
First I got my three “pre-meds” – all to prevent nausea. Then they start with the “red” drug (Adriamycin), which is a vesicant, which could cause damage if it escaped from the vein (don’t Google that). As a result, it’s injected slowly and manually, so Jessica and I got to know each other. She’s only been in San Diego for a few months; seems to be a nomad and moves around quite a bit. This drug turns my pee red and Elisabeth told me I should think of her when that happens (red is her favorite color).
Next they do the Cytoxan, which goes in the fastest normally, but it has been giving me a runny nose and a headache (during the infusion), so Jessica slowed it down a bit for me. The third drug, as I mentioned last time, is the tricky one – the Taxotere. They titrated it the first time, and Jessica did so again this time, just a bit faster. I had no reaction so next time they’ll probably pick up the pace.
Tad came to pick me up right on time. That evening I did have a dry mouth and a lowered appetite, along with some jitters (I think one of the pre-meds is a steroid), but much less fatigue than last time. I generally had a normal evening for the most part.
On Day 2 (Wednesday) I also felt not too bad. I’m having a bit more indigestion than the first time, but Pepcid works great for that. I also am trying to “stay ahead” of the GI issues more, and it seems to be helping, but it’s a fine line between C and D, if you know what i mean. I was able to bring the kids to school, socialize a bit there, and clear out my work inbox. I never took a nap but did go to sleep by 8:30pm.
As I write this on Day 3 (Thursday) I’m still feeling a wee bit more nauseous and less fatigued than Round 1 (although I’m going to take a nap here after I hit “publish”). I’m not surprised about the increased nausea but am surprised about my higher energy level. I’ve decided it’s due to a combination of not waking up at 2:30am on chemo day; not being jet-lagged from London; and not prepping for hosting a 10-year-old’s birthday party on Saturday!
As for the nausea, I’m doing a good job of staying ahead of it with the meds. Brothy soups continue to help – in fact I had a mug of hot bone broth this morning and that hit the spot. My freezer is now full of soups I’ve been making leading up to this week!