(Really Sour Lemons)

Monday, March 19, 2012

I swallowed a Ferret...

And other tales of Chemotherapy. 

My husband said I didn't cook it enough. I can feel it running around in circles in my stomach. Every once in awhile it delves deeper into my intestines, but mainly it's my stomach. It's the weirdest feeling. Ooh. It kinda feels like an alien baby in there, kicking around. Hmm. 

So the side effect are definitely cumulative. After the first cycle I said to myself "oh this isn't too bad. I can deal with this!" Now I want to cry when I think of having to do this two more times. The Wednesday after Chemo used to be a pretty good day. I'd get my Neulesta shot and then run errands because I knew I'd be out the next few days. I started feeling crappy on Wednesday already. I was couch bound on Thursday, Friday and most of Saturday. Dragging around on Sunday. Dang it, I have to go back to that place on Tuesday again! 

New side effects, besides the Ferret in my stomach... my fingernails hurt! They have weird little white moons and the rest are orange-y colored. (Wait, let me think... no, it's not paint!) They're not horrible looking, but they hurt when the nail is pressed or if I grip a pencil or paintbrush. 

My toes and bottom of my feet are very slightly numb. Sometimes the pads of my fingers too. Every three weeks at my Oncologist's appointment I am asked if I have any numbness and/or tingling in my fingers and feet and I say no. I was really hoping to get away with no neuropathy but I don't think I'll be that lucky. 

The hot flashes/night sweats are making me crazy! I call my nights "Shake and Bake". I'll overheat, shift over to the cool satin pillow to chill my head, then 10 minutes later I'll start shaking with chills. The first three days after chemo this was going on every 45 minutes all night long. Last night I think I slept 2 hours straight between episodes. 

And the fact that it's been in the high 70's to mid 80's in the middle of March, Does. Not. Help. I am constantly overheating, even during the day. I purged my closet of winter today. My hats all went back into the hat bin. (My personal Mad Hatter is crocheting me a cotton beanie!) Even wearing scarves is too hot. Around the house, I go without.  But I still have a problem going out in public with nothing on my head... yes, my brave attempt was at 10:30 at night to let the dog pee. In the dark. With no one around.

I don't know why I can't do it. It's not like I think someone will laugh at me. Who laughs at cancer patients? And if they do, I've got my lines ready. I'm not scared they will stare in repulsion. Or think I'm ugly. I really don't know why I can't do it. Maybe I don't want to be pitied? I don't look at bald women or cancer patients with pity. I see strength through adversity. I really can't figure out what is stopping me from going public. 

I'm guessing I will just get to the point where I'm fed up with being too hot and just "take it all off". Then it will be done with and over and I can get on with my life. 

Speaking of... my head is filled with peach fuzz! From far away it looks bald but up close I have a thin halo of fuzz. It makes me second guess my decision to shave it! No, seriously, it was falling out back then, but now it's growing back in places. Some of the hairs are about 1/4" long already (and WHITE I might add.) Very, very sparse; most of my head feels like sandpaper. But what's up with that? Even after cycle #3 it was growing in instead of the stubble falling out. The good thing is that the stubble/roughness helps hold my thinner scarves on my head. The bad thing is that it looks really... weird. Part of me wants to shave it all off again so it's nice and smooth. The other part of me says "what, are you crazy? It's growing!"

Well, this is long enough. I'm just dreading going to sleep. According to my "side effects cheat sheet" I should start getting more energy (check), My GI system should be royally screwed up by now (check), my appetite should start coming back (still waiting), my mouth should feel like I burnt all my taste buds off (check).

And next time I'll remember to cook the Ferret before swallowing it!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fasten your seat belts...

Well, I suppose it's just me that has to fasten the seatbelt... I was on top of the roller coaster, the peak, on Monday. Tuesday I started the steep slope down. WHEEEE! As of today I am officially 4/6 done with my TCH chemo treatments. (Or, as my daughter learning fractions would say, 2/3 done!) It feels good to be on the downswing, working on the second half. I have officially charted the day by day side effects so I know, in general, what to expect. 

The nurses today were wonderful. I explained that it was my daughter's birthday so I wanted to be home by 3:00 so she wouldn't have to be alone when she got home. They hustled and bustled and as soon as that machine beeped at being done with one bag of fluids, they were in there changing things over. I think we were done by 2:30. I had time to stop at the store to pick up some chicken so I could make my daughter's favorite meal for her birthday. And I made enough for leftovers tomorrow night because I know that by tomorrow night I won't feel like cooking :-) Who's got their thinking cap on now? huh? 

I'm feeling okay so far. It always hits me the next day. I already hiccuped a few times and I have that feeling where it's a strain to take a deep full breath. I have to remind myself to take deep breaths often to help clean out my system. And drink. And drink. And drink.

The past few weeks my eyes have been very watery. The slightest dry air or the slightest breeze will make them tear up. So much for eye makeup. I've given up on mascara altogether. It would last about 4 minutes before it's dabbed off. Same with eye liner. I guess the tearing irritated eyes make the rims of my eyes red like I have a lip liner on my eyes instead. Not exactly the look I'm going for! 

And neither is the loss of my cheekbones. I'm noticing a moon face staring back at me in the mirror. Pumped full of steroids, my cheeks have filled out into that distinct "I'm taking too many drugs" puffiness that sick people have. Sigh. So much for "Look Good, Feel Better."

Maybe this gorgeous spring weather we're having will help the "feel better" part. Until I start sneezing with allergies of course. Oh goody. More drugs to take. 

Sorry I'm not being very positive. To be honest with you, I'm tired of taking so many drugs. I never even liked to take Tylenol before this all this happened. And it seems every week I add a few drugs to the disgustingly long list. This week was Flonase nose spray to help stuffiness and prescription Vitamin D because my levels are way too low. I'm going to have to start of allergy meds SOON too now! 

I think I need sleep and a few days off to just rest and recuperate. Too bad the steroids wire my brain and cause insomnia! ACK.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I hate roller coasters...

Wow, it's been awhile since I've updated! All I can say is that the past two weeks have been quite a roller coaster ride. Starting at the bottom with Chemo Cycle 3. It kicked my butt this time. By far the worst yet, including #2 when I had to have surgery two days post-infusion. I was fine on Wednesday during the day and the fatigue hit that night. It normally keeps me down on Thursday and I'm up and around again on Friday. This time I was down for the count... Thursday, Friday, Saturday... I finally felt better on Sunday.

But it's not like I was in bed for three or four days. I still get up. (Although I don't always shower or put something other than sweatpants on!) I still manage to get the minimum amount of work done. I don't go anywhere, but I still function. I just feel like a zombie most of the day. And I sit in the comfy chair a lot. Or doze on the couch while watching stupid daytime TV. And my dog follows my every footstep. I feel yucky in general. I don't want to eat anything. Or think about food. Or smell food. I have to force myself to drink my 7-8 glasses of liquids a day.

Then when I started feeling better on Sunday, my daughter got sick with a very high fever. We couldn't control it, even with Tylenol. She vomited several times when we gave her some meds. I slept on the couch to keep an eye on her. Same thing on Monday. Her fever wavered between 103 and 104.5. When it spiked at 105.4 we manually cooled her down with cool packs and water soaked washcloths and took her to Urgent Care. I had to wear a mask the whole time because of the germs floating around. After urine tests and blood tests and a lot of waiting around, the Dr. came in and said they had no idea what was wrong but her white blood cell count was very high and we had to go to the ER NOW. So off we went for more tests. She got her first IV, CT scan and chest x-ray. No pneumonia, no appendicitis, but there was inflammation on her kidneys so they diagnosed a kidney infection and sent us home with a scipt for antibiotics.

Have you even been to a 24 hour Walgreens at 1:00 in the morning? Weird. The pharmacist was really really cranky. She obviously did not want to work the night shift. I tried to be extra nice but it didn't help. There was a lady there the whole time I was there, shopping for hallmark cards.

A the follow up appointment last Friday the Dr. explained that there are some areas of the kidney that show as abnormal so we have to get an ultrasound in a few weeks and then meet with a pediatric kidney specialist to find out what's going on. If the infection caused the abnormality or if the abnormality caused the infection. Dr. did say it's nothing major, her kidney function tests came back normal.

Anyway, Little C missed an entire week of school. My week was spent taking care of her and worrying about her. And worrying that I may have picked up something in the waiting rooms. But I seem to be fine so far... my counts are good, I was even allowed to go to the dentist Saturday for a cleaning and checkup, woohooo! 

Did I say woohoo about the dentist? Yikes. Maybe I am sick. In the head!