Thursday, September 17, 2009

Chemo cycle 4, day 3 - halfway done with chemo!

Tuesday (9/15/09) I had my 4th chemotherapy infusion, followed up by a Neulasta shot the day after to boost production of white blood cells to prevent infection (as per usual protocol for each treatment). Both appointments went well and I'm on day 3 today which is the last day I take the precautionary steroids and anti-nausea meds. The steroids are annoying because they keep me up at night and make my head, face and neck red even though they cut the dose in half after cycle 2. It's not as bad as before but the part about keeping me up at night is a real bummer but that's OK it's just the first few days and then after that I just deal with my hot flashes and Cooper wakings to interrupt my sleep haha. :) I'm not complaining though, I promise - just updating. Prior to starting the 4th treatment, my blood work was run (standard procedure) to check my white and red cell counts...and they came back great - each treatment the #s are slightly lower than the previous but the doc says even though the levels are below normal for a healthy person, they're considered strong for someone undergoing chemo. Last time I had some stomach issues very early on (I think first night and into next day or so) but not this time thus far. No bone pain from the Neulasta either - I didn't even take the preemptive Aleve prior to the shot like last time - maybe I was feeling I didn't need it but I really just think I forgot (chemo brain) LOL....but so far haven't needed it...we'll see how the rest of the first week goes. This was the final dose of the first chemo series prescribed for me. Going forward I'll have the new regimen of carboplatin+gemzar for 4 cycles which are administered on day 1, day 8, then off a week and start again the following week...so 2 consecutive weeks of chemo (instead of just one visit in the first series). I'm told that this cocktail could be harder but the doc seems to think I'll do well given how I've done thus far. I told him whether I fly through it or struggle through it makes no difference as long as they're giving me the best most effective cocktail for the type of cancer I had/have - what matters most to me is that we kick it's ass and if that means praying to the porcelain bowl for days on end, so be it. Survival is what matters here. Somehow this seems to amaze them when I talk that way - I don't know, maybe more often people are afraid of the side effects and I'm not saying I wouldn't be a mess if/when they hit me the way it's hit others I know or have read about - I'm just saying that I'd take that over a less effective approach/drug that would allow the cancer to spread or come back. I can't remember if I posted what other side effects I had last cycle so I apologize if this is repeat info...I'm too tired to go back and read what I posted (sorry). So, basically it was fatigue (worst yet), ongoing eye twitching, chemo-brain forgetfulness and occasional silly mix-ups like putting something in the frig that didn't belong there (can't remember what it was but just that it happened - there's an example right there of the forgetfulness), and I dropped and broke two things from slight tingling in my hand/fingers on one hand but was reminded that adding the glutamine supplement to my cold drinks could stop that initial sign of peripheral neuropathy from progressing and sure enough it did correct it which is really good because if it had progressed they might have switched my dose or change the drug or whatever because that can become an irreversible condition - scary. Now, it's possible I'll have it come back or progress with the new cocktail in the final treatments but we have to just wait and see. But for now it appears resolved. I didn't have much leathery mouth like the previous 2 cycles so that was nice though it wasn't horrible when I had it either...just weird. Oh and a little bit of strange pelvic aching (not painful, just weird and weird physical feelings just make me nervous now so I mention everything to the oncologist when we meet and he examines me if he thinks he needs to check it out) which I presume is related to the shutdown of my ovaries - I mentioned it to the doc and he seemed unphased which is good. I also had 3-5 days of tightness in my throat gland area this past week so he felt my glands and didn't feel anything bothersome which was a relief and said I was probably exposed to something and am fighting it off. Lastly, I'm carrying about 5-7 lbs of water retention which is typical with chemo especially if you're not nauseated and vomitting and it can increase over time so I'm sporting a puffy chin/neck (and a little bit all over but not too noticeable except when getting on the scale) which isn't so lovely but it'll go away with time after treatment is over so I'm not concerned about that. So I think that's it...all manageable and tolerable - praise God!! I had a great meeting with my sister breast cancer warriors in my support group today. I love these women - they "get me" and I "get them". There are just some things that only someone who has been there or are going through it now can truly understand. I will really miss being with them the next two sessions due to my upcoming trip to CT. I depart on support group day and will be away for about 10 days so will miss the week after too :(...I'm gonna miss it but I'm going to really enjoy the cooler temps, crisp fall air that will greet me and Cooper in CT...but most of all I'm psyched to see family that I haven't seen in quite some time and to finally properly celebrate Cooper's first birthday, even if we're 4 months late doing so. OK...I'm pooped and Bob is home tonight (yay!) so it's time for some quality time and much needed hugs. Thank you all for your support, love, prayers and encouragement...it's instrumental in keeping my spirits up which is key to my progress. So, thank you, so very much! Love, Julie

9 comments:

  1. Whooo hoooo half way done!!!!!!!!! I hope you have a relaxing and fun trip! You are a badass!

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  2. Fantastic. It sounds like you are kicking butt and taking names again cancer. I bought two pink ribbons today for the Breast cancer walk here and put "Julie" on one and my co-worker's (a survivor) on the other.

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  3. Hi Julie!

    I was so happy to read your blog and to know that you are at the halfway point with the chemo! Congratulations! I am a 3 and 1/2 year breast cancer survivor, married with three kids. I live in PA and enjoy running in 5-K races. I could relate to your feelings of extreme fatigue during the treatments -- that was the worst part, but it does get better. So, my advice to you is to hang in there, keep up the good work, and know that I'm cheering for you!

    Have a good, fun trip, and if you get a chance, feel free to visit my website!

    Take care,
    Karen

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  4. Way to go, Julie! Half of it is behind you now! Your drive and passion is stronger than ever! There are many times I feel like playing the theme song from Rocky when I read your posts--your determination is inspiring! I'm excited for all of you that you'll be in CT soon with your NE family and friends! More excellent news! Praying for you!

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  5. Half way done, good for you
    Hang in there..... take care of yourself
    Hugs

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  6. I've been working all morning on changing out the bedding upstairs for my California gal. You will come to CT and find yourself embraced with down comforters, fluffy slippers and a big fluffy robe! Sleeping has been great - cool nights. Can't wait to see you. Dress warm LOL, Love Mom

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  7. Had my last 6th chemo yesterday (9-9-2012). I was diagnosed with stage 2 breat cancer amd had a lumpect and had 32lymps nodes removed but lucky it didn't get there. I am very grateful to hv caought at early stage. Not married and have no kids. Going to do 5weeks of radio theraphy starting 24th sept. It wz the hardest. Every day my life passed me. But now with the help of lopvely family and friends I'm being taken care of going to live my life for. But tht won't stop me still helping people who need me. Just be a big stronger, don't let people step all over u and most inportantly be a little seilish. Eat heathy and always smile. Xx

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