Midlife necessities

Midlife necessities
Midlife necessities

Monday, November 24, 2014

T is for Take That, Cancer!

Today was Chemo #5.

I've been fighting something for the past week, pretty sure it's allergies but it got me down. The wind, and cleaning out the garage with all the dust, plus an interrupted sleep schedule and a compromised immune system equals problems.  Prayed that I'd feel better today and that the results from today's blood test would be good enough for chemo.

My prayers were answered. Slept well last night, and felt better when I awoke. Sandy B. and her granddaughter were my escorts this morning. My weight on the scale was a few pounds less and my blood pressure was low. We did a recheck of the blood pressure but not the weight haha. I love taking someone with me to experience my blood draws and dressing changes. They are so interested in the procedures and ask great questions. Today Sandy asked the nurse what the "circle thing" was that she stuck to my chest where the catheter tube enters my skin. The nurse said it slowly releases antibiotics for seven days to prevent infection. Oh! So that's why I need a dressing change every seven days. Makes sense.

Sandy treated us to a tasty breakfast at the usual place near Kaiser, then she dropped me off in time for my 1:00 chemo appointment. Today was a tag team effort. I read a magazine while Rowena prepped my pre-meds. Pre-meds included saline for hydration, Dexamethasone for nausea prevention and to inhibit allergic reactions, Benedryl to "make me drunk" (Rowena said since I can't drink alcohol on Thanksgiving, she would get me drunk today! Actually it was to relax me because I was getting a new drug and she wasn't sure how my body would react). Mary arrived at 2:00 with water and snacks, and got to witness the effects of the Benedryl. She and Rowena were laughing at me because I really couldn't speak, and I was laughing at myself as I tripped over my tongue and slurred my words!

Once I had all my pre-meds it was time for the real thing. The third part of my ACT regimen, Taxol. It comes from a plant and attacks the cancer cell when it tries to divide and replicate itself. Some good, very detailed information on Taxol can be found here Taxol info. Because it's a new drug being introduced to my body, Rowena spaced out the drip to give my body time to adjust. If I felt "different" or my face got flushed I was supposed to tell Rowena, but luckily I felt fine. Today's chemo session took four hours, and it will be the same next Monday. Then it should only be about an hour every Monday after that.

A woman waiting for her dressing change came up to me and asked me if there was anything I could eat with my nausea. I was initially confused, because I haven't been nauseated. This poor woman said she is losing weight because she can't eat anything, nothing sounds or smells good, and she's having a hard time keeping food down. I told her that my anti-nausea meds have worked wonderfully, and she told us that she hasn't been taking her meds. Aha! I've been taking my meds as prescribed, on schedule, never waiting until I actually felt bad but instead taking preventive measures. Mary and I told her to take her meds on schedule, and then she said something that indicated that she didn't quite understand her meds and their instructions, but was going to ask the pharmacist. Thank goodness. I hope they straightened things out so she can eat. It's so important to understand all aspects of your illness, treatment and medications.

The bad news today - no wine with my Thanksgiving dinner. Rowena again made it clear that it's not good for me, so I will bring my non-alcoholic wine from World Market. Also, one of the main side effects is peripheral neuropathy (hands and feet tingle and go numb), which may get better by dunking my hands and feet in very cold water (what?). The good news is really good - nausea is not a main side effect from this drug. I still have my pills just in case I need them, but maybe I won't. And...Rowena said if I haven't lost my eyelashes and eyebrows by now, I most likely won't!!! I can tell that I 've lost some of each, but if I can keep the rest, woohoo!

On Thanksgiving I'm going to wear Gabby, mascara and a bit of eyebrow pencil. Looks like I'm gonna be the fancy one in the family!!!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good." Psalm 136:1 Happy Thanksgiving!

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