Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chemo, Day Two

Friday was my second round of chemo. Two of my sisters, Caren and Kathleen, plus their kids were in town to visit since we were all on spring break. Caren came with me for the chemo.

We had to wait longer this time--over half an hour, and by the time I decided I'd ask if they had an update, the nurse was on her way to call me back. We got another corner room, and the chair faced the window this time, so I could see outside more easily.

My nurse this time was another Lisa, and she was also excellent. She asked about all my symptoms over the past two weeks, told me my port incision looks good (even though it still stings on occasion), got me all hooked up for the IV, and started my premeds. I got a toasty, oven-warmed blanket and some apple juice and snacks (I'd forgotten how delicious Lorna Doone shortbread cookies are), and settled in. Caren and I kept ourselves entertained despite forgetting to bring Phase 10 cards while we waited for all the meds to infuse and kick in.

I've been really good about drinking my water, especially on the day of treatment, so I needed approximately eleventy trips to the bathroom while we were there. I got my Kool-Aid potion first; that's the Adriamycin, or Red Devil, and hopefully did a better job keeping my mouth cold during it. Last time, I had some unpleasant mouth sores for several days, and I know I didn't get it nearly as bad as many people. Apparently, keeping your mouth cold during the infusion and avoiding anything very hot for 24 hours helps prevent them.

Next was the Cytoxan, which is done through a slow drip. I remembered something weird happened during that one and that sucking on Life Savers helped. I couldn't remember quite what it was and I thought maybe it was a weird taste in my mouth. After about 20 minutes, I remembered when my sinuses started burning throughout my whole head. I'd been sucking on the candy, but when I hadn't felt anything for a while, I stopped. A minute or two later, it started. The candy kept it tolerable, and it started easing off almost immediately once I'd finished the medicine. Within 10 minutes, it was completely gone. After another IV flush, we were free to leave.

In the parking garage, we came across a small snake in the middle of the road. Caren freaked out; I looked for something I could use to scoop him up to move him out of danger. Alas, there was nothing, so I tried to urge him out of the way while Caren took a couple pictures to show what turned out to be the scariest part of the day for Caren. I was amused watching him hiss and flick his tongue at us.

We headed back home, where Kathleen and the kiddos were hanging out waiting for us. I'd talked up Matthew's Pizza enough that everyone was on board for a late lunch. I'm telling you, that crab pizza is the absolute best. Back home again, Kevin and I and the girls played in the yard with the dog while Caren and Kathleen packed up to head back home to North Carolina. I think Harper loved chasing Val as much as Val loved being chased.

They all left (sad face) just as the rain hit, so I Xanaxed the dog while Kevin went to pick up some Big Bad Wolf barbecue (best barbecue that I've ever had that my dad didn't make) for dinner. I'd been fighting a headache on and off for a couple of hours, and it was getting worse, so we took it easy for the evening and I went to bed early.

I didn't sleep well that night; I was up every 45-60 minutes to pee (remember how earlier I was all proud of how much water I drank?), but at least I could fall back to sleep fairly easily each time. I was up for good before 8:00, and the headache hadn't improved. It stayed just shy of the point where I was ready to give in and take some Advil (approved by my OB), but it left me feeling lethargic all day. I managed to make it to the grocery store, where my blood sugar bottomed out just as I was leaving, so I had an unplanned lunch at the Wendy's in the same shopping center (nowhere near as good as the places I'd eaten the rest of the week).

I laid down for a while when I got home while I waited for the Neulasta shot to warm up before injecting myself. It was easier this time, and didn't sting at all.

Kevin and I headed to the YMCA by our house when I got back to redeem the gift membership that was donated to the cancer center. The folks we dealt with were super helpful, especially the membership director of the branch that initially donated it--they're located about an hour from us in Ellicott City, but she set me up remotely so all we had to do was go in and complete the paperwork at the branch by our house instead of making the trek to Ellicott City. I'm really looking forward to being able to be in the pool again, as well as take advantage of the yoga classes.

I made baked spaghetti for dinner and finally gave in to my headache and took a couple Advil. I spent a couple hours working on FSA reimbursements while we watched some Archer and tried to keep the dog calm from the nasty and unexpected thunderstorm. I shouldn't have fought taking the Advil for so long. I felt so much better afterwards. I don't seem to learn this lesson, ever.

Sunday has been crap. I slept much better, but I have had no energy and just felt crummy all day. I told Kevin it felt like I was getting sick. He said, "Or, you know, like you have cancer?" So yeah. That. I have spent more time in bed than out, though I've been up for a few hours now, took a nice bath and mostly just camped out on the couch with Sheetsy. Kevin left just before 2pm to head to southern Maryland to watch WrestleMania with friends. I'm super jealous that he gets to meet our friends' recently adopted son before I do, but I just wasn't up for it, particularly since I have to go back to work tomorrow. So I'll get my fill of HGTV and go to bed early. Friends from church are bring dinner by in a bit, and I've already warned them I'll be in my pjs and not very good company.

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