Sunday, May 9, 2010

2nd Chemo

It's 2:30 in the morning, and that might give you an indication of how this chemo session is going.

Actually, all in all, this second chemo hasn't been anywhere near as rough as the first. With all the little stop-gap measures I've acquired, the side effects have not been as drastic, dramatic or traumatic.

On Tuesday, I received the second dose of the poisons. First I gave a blood draw to see how my immune system is doing. Received another gold star! My white blood count is even higher than previously, which is excellent, as is my red blood platelet count, and the indicator of anemia. This p
roves that the Neulasta shot is doing its job! Boosting my immune system! A very good thing!

Because of my good showing, we went ahead with the chemo drips. First, as before, was the bag with the anti-nausea stuff. This is what gave me a violent nasty headache last time, for which I took a pill an hour prior to my appointment. Aloxi is the drug used to prevent the serious nausea that has effected so many chemo patient
s in the past. Its most common side effect is the headache, which is helped by the pill, Imitrex or Sumatriptan, a very effective aid against migraine headaches. This drug, of course, also has as long list of potential side effects, but thankfully, for me, it helped! No screaming headache! BIG step forward!

As usual, with the second bag of joy juice, the taxotere (docetaxel), I was warned against the possible immediate allergic reaction of tightness in my chest, neck and shoulder areas. And again, thankfully, I had no such reaction. This is the chemical that caused my hair loss at two weeks. I st
ill have a little stubble in areas, after being so artistically shaved, but it appears to be lessening every day. Still have hair on my arms and legs, but it too is thinning out.

The taxotere also causes, among many other things, the mouth sores that disrupted my life after the first session. The 'miracle magi
c mouthwash' has been a blessing there - it cleared up the sores very quickly, and using it the morning of, and twice daily since (along with a daily Lysine supplement) appears to have prevented any more mouth sores. The tongue still tingles and burns, and makes everything taste ghastly, but there are no sores!

The next two bags went in without a hitch and I was on my way. It was another long day, and I was tired, but otherwise doing fine. The next day, Wednesday, I went back to the chemo palace for the Neulasta shot - the immune system booster. This is a simple shot in the arm - no big deal!

While there, another gal came in, obviously there for her first time - she was a nervous wreck, almost babbling with questions, comments, complaints. She had no one there with her, and the nurses were incredibly kind and gentle with her. She did quiet down when I asked a question of my own of the nurses - anything I can do to help me sleep? I've always been a great sleeper, and now, though I can often nap in the afternoons, I simply can't go to sleep at night. Jane, who appears to be the head cheese around there, said it's probably related to the steroids, the Dexamethasone, the pills I take the night before and the morning of the chemo to aid in anti-nausea and against inflammation and swelling. Among its side effects are difficulty sleeping (hello??), fluid retention (that which it's supposed to aid against) and impaired wound healing. What to do? She suggested taking a couple Benedryl before bed. Those haven't helped, and I get no help from Tylenol PM if I take it more than once a week or so. So here I sit, in the middle of the night, wide awake. And oh so tired. Jane did say my system should become accustomed to the steroids soon and revert to normal sleep patterns. Soon can't come too soon!

By Wednesday night, I was starting to feel the effects of the drugs - mostly in muscle aches and pains and general malaise - the 'flu-like symptoms' that were to be helped by a Claratin and Tylenol. Not. By Thursday, I was in major pain and distress, and bloody miserable. Nothing helped at all.

Those feelings were fairly short-lived. Friday dawned a little better. I still ache like I've been hit by a truck, but otherwise am feeling pretty well. Minor runs, minor headache, and tired, so tired. But my dear pal Suzie arrived from Honolulu to baby-sit me for a couple weeks, so my spirits are lifted. A couple bottles of bubbly shared, and laughter and stories, and things are bet
ter. I might actually survive this second session of joy juice. Only one really awful day per session is livable!

PLUS - we've all been keeping an eye on an owl nest here at the RV park.

The same pair of Horned Owls have come back to the same palm t
ree for six years now. The baby is the talk of the park!

And the tree is right in front
of my new summer parking space, so I've been eye witness to it's progress.

Tuesday, the baby fledged - tried to leave the nest for the firs
t time (or more likely fell out). He can't yet fly!

We found him (maybe her) huddled on the ground with Mom and Dad nearby, keeping a close eye out, and warning away any threats (that would be those like me wanting a picture).

He is so damned cute - and we were all so afraid for him. There are way too many predators on the lookout for such a tasty morsel.

No one saw him on Wednesday or Thursday, so we feared the worst. I heard from Jose, our very interesting Cuban maintenance fellow, that he
had spotted the baby on Friday.

Tonight Sooz and I spotted the little devil, close by my RV.

Dad was in a nearby tree hollering at us as we tippy-toed up to get a picture. He has started exercising his wings (so he wasn't injured in his fall!!), and can't yet get airborne, but he's alive and healthy and well-looked after.

My spirits soared at the sight of the little guy! Life will go on! Although I'm now sorry to say, perhaps not quite as nicely for the next couple days, because the damned runs just hit full force again - gotta go pop a couple Imodium!

Nite nite, hopefully!

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