“The status is not quo.” I would very much like for this status to never become “quo.” Cycle two had too much drama. I’m still bruised from the port re-install and this new one is bothersome and makes driving very uncomfortable. Being a passenger is no problem.
I am theoretically halfway through the four treatments, but not through all the side effects. I now get quite tired very easily, the kind of tired that settles in around and behind the eyes and about the shoulders like a shawl (one I knitted, of course). I have some very lightweight hoodies that fit loosely on the head and are helpful for the change in temperatures while also giving me some measure of retreat. Kind of like swaddling.
Speaking of my noggin, I still have some hair. Go figure. It is not enough hair to keep me warm. In fact, I get quite cold (see above). I also made some bandannas out of batiks and other fabrics I love, some from my stash. They’re a nice change from my previously made beanie style hat, though I also still like those!
Looking ahead, we’ve added more surgery to the plan. It was decided last week that a hysterectomy is necessary. I had thought that a D&C before cycle 1 had resolved the issue with a “nope, no cancer here” finding, yet here we are. Scheduling the procedure was awful with too many doctors having their say in the matter. I had hoped to get it done between chemo 3 and 4, but no such luck. They’d rather prolong my incapacity to the max. Recovery will be about 6 weeks and I don’t yet know how this will impact radiation. My hope is that it won’t be delayed more than a couple weeks. Henceforth, I shall think of July 17 as “Menopause Day.”
Meanwhile, I shall endeavor to remain in the present. Planning this stuff forces one to do too many days’ worth of trouble in advance.
Second cycle of chemo on Wednesday was an unmitigated disaster. My port was “malpositioned,” meaning “impossible to access,” while highly effective as a means of torture. I had very good support with me, and the nurses gave me more Starburst Jellybeans than I could comfortably eat. Guilt is wickedly effective.
The radiology department finally got involved, and they offered to:
- Go on torturing me because it is fun for them
- Bring me back another day when I could have anesthesia
I’m taking option 2 with threats on anyone attempting option 1. Jim’s the enforcer, so, you know….
New plan is port surgery at 7:00 Monday morning (5/13), which means there will be good parking. Radiology will leave the port “accessed” so they won’t have to re-stick an already tender, damaged me to complete chemo cycle two.
My limbic system is driving the bus, but I spent a very lovely, sunny day with my son doing some fun things and some business things. And now, my daughter is home for the summer! I’m about as bruised as it gets (oh, wait, no – I’ve had knee surgeries, mastectomy, reconstruction and lumpectomy). In short, I’m finding life exceedingly difficult physically and emotionally.
Thank you all for your prayers, your cards, your friendship. I need them all abundantly.
I woke up Monday feeling so much better! The port has healed up so it is irritating but no longer painful. Driving is even comfortable enough now! I’m taking Tai Chi and restorative yoga classes at the cancer center (free stuff is awesome!). Yesterday I did a workout at my gym. Body weight stuff only. Not impressive, but it did get my quads lit pretty good! I’m planning on workouts tomorrow then Tuesday of next week.
The big news this week is hair loss. It is starting to come out. My nurses tell me it will take a while, but I probably will not have any hair by the time of the next chemo. Cycle 2 of chemo is set for Wednesday, May 8. I will see my doc on Monday the 6th for labs and adjusting medications to deal with the side effects, which were as advertised, miserable.
This week seems like a reprieve and I will be looking forward with great anticipation to this part of cycle 2.
The slate of events in honor of Chemo Kickoff Week are as follows:
Monday April 15 (tax day): Final pre-chemo workout at Power Strength Training. Just when my hamstrings were recovering from their removal from the couch, my doctors have advised that the next two weeks should not be spent pushing sleds around even though they deserve it.
Tuesday April 16: Port placement bright and early (7:30 AM, EDT). It’s a bummer but might save some abuse of my veins during chemo.
Wednesday 17: Chemo 1. We arrive at Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion downtown Grand Rapids for a mid-morning appointment. Labs will be drawn, and the pharmacy will mix my particular cocktail of two chemo drugs. Before administering those drugs, I will have a course of steroids, Benadryl and anti-nausea meds. We expect this process to take four hours.
Thursday, April 18: Neulasta injection that you see advertised on TV. I will indeed be getting that same protocol administered not by arm as in the commercial, but by belly, which interferes with sleep and clothing less than the arm band placement you’ll see.
Thus ends chemo cycle one, except for the lab work the following week and the crash in white blood cells that make social contact and business as usual inadvisable due to infection risk. Should infection ensue, there will be dire consequences to chemo and my well being. I haven’t found a way to make that funny yet. Maybe someday.