I’m home from treatment #9 of the paclitaxel. Blood work looked good. Even had another uptick of white blood cells. Doing OK. As usual, post infusion, I’m feeling like I have the flu: joints ache, extra tired and heavy. Drinking lots of fluids to flush this stuff through my system. Seems to help. Three more to go!
Had some sort of disappointing news: Doctor said that there is 4-6 weeks of healing before starting radiation. Sigh … so even later into the Fall until I’m all the way done. But, he did make a referral so that the radiation doctor will start to work me into the schedule. So hopefully I’ll have a consultation in the next couple of weeks and have a better idea of the next phase of treatment.
This past week my brother Craig and nephew Charlie drove over from California to help around the house. Was a good visit and great help. Craig cooked some delicious dinners (even for my trashed taste buds) and he and Charlie took care of a long list of yard chores that had been ignored for a while. But they also had some fun time: enjoying the “Func on the Unc” festival at Riverbottom Park, and a photo expedition to Black Canyon National Park. And a little Astro photography in the back yard.
New side effects showed up this week. The neuropathy has started … couple finger tips are numb, have a couple of nerve zaps in my fingers, and my toenails have become highly sensitive. Kind of feels like I did a major hike with slightly small hiking boots that pushed down on my toenails. Over the weekend my taste buds changed … most things are pretty dull tasting with bitter after taste. How wonderful.
Blood work looked good this week, so another treatment today. Had a nice nap in the recliner at the Cancer Center. Only 4 more to go! Good news … white blood cell count actually went up from last week. Not sure why, but maybe it was the better sleep with weather not quite so hot, plus the humidifier so my sinuses don’t completely dry out by morning.
Finally got in to see the dermatologist. Nothing to worry about. The blotches on my forearms are pre-cancerous cells reacting (being treated by) the paclitaxel. Free bonus treatment. The blue dot on my head she thinks is a blue nevus … nothing to worry about. Just a flat dark blue mole. So I go back in 3 months to double check things.
Time for another nap… zzzzzzzzz
Wednesday was another treatment day. 7 of 12. Still doing well, but seems to hit me a little harder each time. Energy level is still down, even though it’s Saturday. Blood test numbers are still OK for treatment, but getting lower. The doctor warned that there may be a point before we get done where I may just have to hang out at home and not expose myself to other people. Next treatment session may be when neurological symptoms start to ramp up. So far, just have slight numbing of my palms and soles of me feet. The doctor said that I may get tingling and/or buzzing, starting at the ends of fingers and toes.
Yesterday was another treatment. 6 of 12. Half-way through chemo cocktail #2. Numbers still ok for treatment. White blood cells keep going down, but were still a ways from concern. Red blood cells going down too. So that explains why I’m tired most of the time and get winded doing much beyond walking.
I did sleep ok last night. Took a little while to get to sleep, but then was out for the night. Today was an ok day. Tired and my legs are achey … hopefully that’s a sign that the big bones are working at making white blood cells. Feeling a little antsy all day and could not nap this afternoon even though I was tired. I’m afraid the pre-chemo steroid is messing with me today. Hoping that I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
I did go to the gym on Tuesday. I did the warm-up with the group, then went off to row while they did the workout. It was a little frustrating to set the resistance down lower than usual on the row machine and still get winded at 2 minutes. I ended up doing 5 minute bouts, and then walking around catching my breath. But I got three done for a total of 155 calories. Felt good, and had a great afternoon nap after. Today I took Kiani for two 1/2 mile walks. Hopefully that helps me sleep tonight.
Thursdays are “Flu Days”. Post treatment is aches, fatigue, puffiness. I did figure out that I’m about 73% done with all the chemo treatments. 64% of everything. Hopefully done with chemo mid-Aug. Radiation completed around end of Sept. Still sounds like a long way to go, but guess I’ve come a very long way. All this started Jan 22 with a lumpectomy.
Good news is that I actually slept fairly well last night. Really focused on pre-bedtime wind-down: Sleepy time tea, melatonin, Benadryl and relaxation. I used my NatureSpace app to listen to “Electric Desert Sunset” and pretended I was camping on Locust Point … one of my favorite places. Did the trick. Slept pretty well. Only up a couple times during the night.
Five treatments down, seven to go. My doctor is out of town for this treatment and the next, so no doctor visit. They did do blood work and the other doctor looked it over. All good for treatment. So another nap in the recliner in the infusion room. Just got home from that. Feel very tired; hands and feet are puffy. Time to hang on the couch and watch mindless videos.
Last time, the night after chemo (Wednesday) was terrible for insomnia. Thursday was a little better, with only up half the night. Regular sleep cycle started back again after Thursday. The Doc did give me a Rx to help with sleep, but haven’t resorted to that yet. Guess we’ll see how tonight goes.
Guess I spoke to soon about the sleeping well. Last night was terrible. I guess the steroid they give me with the chemo drugs really messed with my sleep. Even with the routine of sleepy time extra tea, melatonin and benedryl, I was wide awake until 3am last night. Finished one book and started another. Finally felt sleepy at 3 am, but tossed and turned until 5:30 when I gave up and got up. Tried napping mid-morning. No go. Hoping for a nap this afternoon…. but waiting for a call back from the nurse to see if they can give me something else to help get to sleep on chemo nights.