Monday, July 29, 2013

Round Five, Week One

Wrapping up the week today, and it's been a pretty decent one.  Tuesday afternoon, Amy took me to my doctor's appointment, as Barry was still not feeling well.  I survived riding in her car that's older than she is, even with all its noises and shakes.  :)  (Love to tease her about it, but at least it runs and gets her where she needs to go!!)

Talked to Dr. Cutler about Barry's research into my anti-anxiety medication, Celexa---which has side effects of neutropenia and low blood pressure, BOTH of which are chemo issues as well, and both of which have been putting me in the hospital.  We tapered off my use of the Celexa, and I'm now off it entirely. Hoping that will improve my health issues and keep me out of the hospital for these last four rounds of chemo....fingers crossed!!!

Also discussed the new drug that I started with this round, which is less toxic than the one before--another helpful thing I hope!  It can sometimes cause an allergic reaction, however, so I get a Benadryl IV on chemo days before I get the actual chemo--and we altered my steroid dosages as well for these four rounds.

Wednesday morning it was off to chemo at 9 am, with a bag of snacks and books, since this new drug, along with the Benadryl, keeps me at the hospital for around 4 hours. I thought the Benadryl might make me fall asleep, since it usually does, but it just made me tired...I couldn't get comfortable enough in the recliner to sleep. So I just drank peach soda and ate Chicken in a Biskit crackers all morning, while reading and watching television.

Speaking of eating, my appetite was up all last week, and I gained some serious weight back. On Tuesday i weighed 116, and by Thursday afternoon I weighed almost 121...I was THRILLED!!!!! Who would have thought that, at my age, weight gain would be a good thing? LOL

Anyhow, came home Wednesday afternoon and KEPT eating like I was starving. Wound up with a bit of a rash on my chest Wednesday night/Thursday morning, but that was the entire extent of this round's side effects...no nausea, no queasiness. That was a relief.

Back to the hospital Thursday afternoon to get my Neulasta shot, to stimulate my white blood cells.  Without the Celexa, I've noticed that I'm feeling more bone pain as the cells grow....been having to use my heating pad on my legs most evenings since then. It's uncomfortable, but it's not unbearable, so I'm dealing with it.

Other than that, the rest of the week has been pretty quiet. I'm still on self-imposed "house arrest," so I'm doing a lot of reading and spending a lot of time on Facebook. Thankful for all the friends and family who offer me support and encouragement online and in real life---makes the days a bit easier to bear.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Round Four, Week Two

Last week was yet another busy week. Tuesday morning I had a visit from a good friend--an hour where I didn't have to feel totally isolated, and could think about something other than being sick. Unfortunately, that was the best part of the whole day. By Tuesday afternoon, I was feeling crummy again, and by Tuesday evening I was running a fever of 100.6---so it was back to the ER once again.

At least my stay this time around was shorter than the last few times. I went in Tuesday night, and I got to come home Friday afternoon. In the meantime, I had the same reactions to the antibiotics--diarrhea, vomiting, rash--and pretty much no appetite. By the time I left the hospital, I was done to 116 lbs (I was between 135 and 140 when I was diagnosed).

The weekend was pretty quiet, as I continued my "house arrest" just to make sure the white blood cell count had time to fully get back to normal. Monday evening I decided to take advantage of my last day before the routine started all over again, and went to my Bible study group. It was SO nice to be around friends and feel the love and support. Hopefully I'll be able to continue to show up there every other week during the remainder of my chemo sessions.

Also on Monday, Barry was feeling sick, and spent most of the day in our bedroom, sleeping and just trying to keep his germs away from me. Because of how he was feeling, I slept on the couch Monday night...or tried to--it's as tough to sleep just a few rooms away from him as it is to sleep in the hospital. :)

Tuesday was the beginning of round five, week one....which will be the subject of a post early next week.

Currently

Reading: NYPD Red, by James Patterson. Just getting started on it, so no real thoughts on it, other than the fact that I LOVE his books!

Thinking about: Some family issues that are coming to a head over the next few days. Tough love is kicking in big time, and I just worry what's going to come of it.

Feeling thankful: That I'm on the fifth round of chemo, with only three more to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Eating: Anything and everything I can get my hands on these days. I was done to 116 lbs. after my last hospital stay, and today I weighed in at 120, which is great.

Looking forward to: The end of chemo and possibly getting to meet my nephew in September while I'm resting my body before the surgery.

Watching: My soap opera right now, and looking forward to the Sneiderman trial starting next week.

Working on: Keeping my blog updated, and not much else this week.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Currently

Reading: Proof Of Heaven, by Eben Alexander. The author is a neurosurgeon who had no faith, no belief in the soul or the afterlife. He became deathly ill, was in a coma for seven days, and came back with a story of a totally different world and a totally different understanding of both this life and the next.

Thinking about: The Zimmerman trial verdict and the discussions it has spawned. So much discussion about race, and I'm not sure that's where we really need to be focused. And let's not forget safety in general. If one group of people in this country feels unsafe, then we should ALL feel unsafe--and I have to admit that, especially for children, I don't think we have the level of safety that we used to have. It's not even safe for a child in their own yard, fenced in or not...

Feeling thankful: For the support and encouragement of friends and family, and for not being in the hospital yet this round of chemo.

Eating: Apple butter sandwiches, cottage cheese, and fruit cups. Trying to find things that my taste buds can enjoy, and that don't turn my stomach. It's becoming a little more difficult all the time, unfortunately.

Looking forward to: Getting off "house arrest" and being able to be around people again...although that may have to wait two months if this two week "Sentence' actually keeps me out of the hospital.

Watching: Lots of TV movies since I don't have much energy these days and spend most of my day on the couch.

Working on: Genealogy when I have the occasional burst of energy that I can focus.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Round Four, Week One

Went to see Dr. Cutler and to get my blood work done on Tuesday morning. Discussed the recent hospitalization--agreed to lessen the dose of chemo this time around by 15%, to see if that makes any difference...and he "grounded" me for the next two weeks as well. I can't go anywhere till my next appt. with him on the 23rd now that all my appts. are over this week.

Wednesday morning was the chemo treatment. It went pretty well, as it usually does, but when we left I felt a little "weird"...not really lightheaded, but close to it. It only lasted a few seconds, though, so I didn't mention it to anyone.

Today I just went to get my Neulasta shot, and to get a refill of the nausea meds I take at bedtime just as a precaution. Still feeling pretty good, other than being tired and napping through the afternoon.  Just waiting to see what happens over the next few days.

Round Three, Part Two

Meant to update this a lot sooner, but real life took precedence over blogging yet again.

I had round three of my chemo on Wednesday, June 26th. As usual, everything went smoothly at the hospital, and for the next several days...no queasiness, nausea or vomiting, just the usual tiredness and a lot of napping. I started the at home antibiotics on Saturday, and went to church on Sunday, and to Bible study on Monday.

By Tuesday afternoon, I was starting to feel as if the fever might be coming on again. Tuesday at bedtime,it was running around 99 degrees, so I took a couple of Tylenol trying to fight it back before it got to the 100.5 mark that requires a trip to the ER.

Wednesday morning, everything all went crazy. I woke up and headed to the bathroom, and wound up on the floor beside the door of the bedroom, thanks to my lightheadedness. Once I got to the bathroom, I took my temperature and it was 101.7 degrees. I didn't take any more Tylenol. but I took my antibiotic, to see if that would have any effect.

Unfortunately, the lightheaded feeling continued any time I stood up, and got progressively worse. The temperature didn't go down, either, so I called in to the Cancer Center, to fill them in, and then got ready to head to the ER.

That's when the lightheaded feeling/weakness really kicked my butt. I took both my husband, Barry, and my daughter, Amy, to get me from the living room to the car...and we had to stop several times along the way so I didn't pass out/fall down.

Once I got in the car, sitting down again, I started to feel a little better again. At the ER, Barry got a wheelchair to get me inside, to triage, and back to the treatment room, where I went on a stretcher. At this point, I started to shiver, so I was given two warm blankets while I had blood work done. Then I had to go have a chest x-ray done (which I got to sit on a stool for, instead of standing).

Eventually I made it upstairs to a room, in the middle of the afternoon. Turns out the dizziness/weakness/shivering was due to my low hemoglobin level, so the first course of treatment was a blood transfusion. That took several hours, and lots of vital checks, so I didn't get a lot of rest on Wednesday evening/night. 

Once the blood was in, the antibiotics got started. We tried a different one this time around, in hopes of avoiding the side effects of the last two times in the hospital. It lessened it, but we still didn't avoid it. :(

I spent the 4th of July, and my birthday (the 5th) in the hospital, which was depressing, but at least I had visitors to keep me company There was also a second blood transfusion in there somewhere (all the days sort of ran together for me). It was Monday, July 8th, in the midafternoon, before I got to come home...just in time to start over again on Tuesday.
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