Sunday, April 16, 2017


The treatment begins... in addition to the hysterectomy, I've been following this grain free, sugar free diet.  As I started to recover from the surgery and the C. Difficile infection, I was feeling really good about all the weight I've lost and how much more comfortable I feel in my own skin. But after three months, I was really starting to crave treats.  I visited with the naturopath who said that I might need to give myself a "power hour" once a week.  She also said it might be best if I at least waited for the chemo to start - at least the chemo would be killing any cancer cells.  Still, I wanted a good treat that wouldn't be affected by nausea, so I decided I wanted to do a Sushi buffet the day before starting chemo.  Yum! Great time to have a massive lunch with both my boys. 
My first chemo was March 17th (it was originally supposed to be March 3rd but was postponed due to the infection).  In the days leading up to it, I was so nervous.   Thankfully, the day I received the chemo I actually felt completely normal. I only started feeling a little strange on the second and third days. I became acutely aware of every little discomfort in my body.  By the fourth day, I took the anti nausea med as usual in the mornings  (I had been taking them every 4 hours the whole previous day), and then the nurse called me to check up on me. She was surprised I took the nausea meds because she said I shouldn't be experiencing any more nausea by the fourth day. So I tried to go without it and I was fine!
That  whole week I got really busy actually- there was a woman from our community who had suffered a heart attack and was on life support and I was going to the hospital every day to visit her.  It gave me the chance to see my friends very often, which actually cheered me up. And visiting this woman and her family was a good reminder to me about my own mortality.  I am hopeful for a full recovery, but I think it's important to remember that we are only on this earth for a short period.  We should be grateful for every day, and every blessing.  This woman's family was so kind and they were heartbroken to lose her.  I pray/hope/believe that she's resting in peace. 
I think being forced to go out that week and acting normal (many still don't know what I'm going through, and I kind of want to keep it that way) helped me to realize that I didn't feel as bad as I had expected to feel.    The only things that bothered me were that from days 3 to 8, I had the bone pain at night. Never during the day. But it was pretty bad.  I also had kidney pain if I didn't constantly sip water.  I was afraid to take Tylenol or ibuprofen for the pain because my liver was already dealing with the chemo, but by the 7th day I finally broke down and took one.  I slept so much better that night. The next night too. And then the following night, the bone pain had stopped. 
My hair didn't start falling out until day 13- then I kept shedding so much - even thought I still had quasi normal looking hair, there were a couple of ugly bald patches starting by day 16, so that's when I let hubby shave my head. He shaved it down bald, and now I wish we had left at least a cm of hair. Now I have stubble that feels weird against my pillow if I don't sleep with a cap on my head.  Velcro-head.  
For me, being bald is really not that bad. I wear a scarf around the house most of the time. Sometimes I throw it off when a hot flash strikes me, but the bald isn't bothering me too much. The only thing is that whenever he sees me bald, Mehmed points it out and wants me to put on a scarf. One day I pressed him about it and he admitted it makes him feel sad 😢.   Poor kid. I wish he didn't have to see me going through this.  I am trying so hard to make him feel confident in my recovery. Any time I crave carbs, he's my number 1 deterrent.  I have failed quite a bit in the weeks since chemo started.  I hope I can have the determination to keep it up as much as possible going forward. 
The only other thing of course is that I've been pretty tired and I find it hard to make myself clean up around the house sometimes.  Other than that, I would have to say that it was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. My second round has been postponed twice though because my platelet levels were too low to proceed.    My doctor is going to reduce my dose and change my schedule to every 4 weeks instead of every three.  That does worry me somewhat about how well the chemo is going to work at killing any escaped cancer cells.  I will get my blood tested again tomorrow (@4 weeks 3 days) to see if my platelets are high enough for another round yet. As of Wednesday they were still only at 77. So that's obviously a bit worrisome. I keep wondering if I should ask my doctor about getting IP chemotherapy instead of just IV. I read that the nausea and other side effects are worse but that it doesn't hit the bone marrow as severely.    I kind of hope that the lower dose will allow me to return to a 3-week schedule. If I only go every four weeks, I won't finish till August 8th. And that's if there are no further delays 😳... which is looking pretty unlikely based on my experiences so far. 
For now, I'll focus on the bright side: I'm going into my second round with an even lower dose.  That, plus the knowledge about how much easier it was than I thought it would be, makes me a lot more confident going into this second round about how I can handle the side effects.

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