Three down, five to go

What is it about fire that draws people? Last night, we were sitting around a campfire in the backyard while the kids swam. The fire was mesmerizing – the heat, the smoke, the crackling, but most especially the smell of burning wood. I’ve always loved it.

When I was a kid, we had an indoor wood burner. My dad always had it burning in the winter, along with a beautiful fire in the fireplace on a cold winter night. Sunday night after our bath, we were allowed to come out into the living room in our oversized towels and warm up on the red circular rug in front of the fire. I never wanted to leave. And as we played outside on a freezing winter day, the wood smoke floating out from the chimney filled the air and our noses and reminded me that when I went inside there would glorious heat for my wet frozen feet and red, numbed fingers and hands.

I had my 3rd chemo treatment on Wednesday. I prepared this time by drinking as much water as I could choke down every day, and ate lots of protein (when I could eat). It seemed to help. Yesterday was my worst day- basically you feel poisoned. As my friend Kathy pointed out today (when she brought my family an incredibly delicious lunch of lasagna, veggies, garlic bread, and home canned peaches!) – “you kind of have been poisoned”. True. The chemo really is poison. It kills all fast growing cells. The cancer cells can’t recover from it, but the healthy cells can. It just takes a while.

The blessing this time was that I never felt so nauseous that I couldn’t choke down some water or food, or not be able to move (I was really sick for about 5 days after my 2nd treatment 😦 ). The worst is still the incredible weakness, and the pain. I get sore on about the 2nd/3rd day from my head, face, neck, shoulders, on down to about the middle of my back. It feels like you’ve been beat up. Your skin hurts, your muscles hurt. My neck and jaw area feel swollen and it even hurts to open my mouth. Still much better than the nausea I had last time! It has subsided some today, thankfully. Hoping it will be mostly gone by tomorrow.

The funny thing is that the little bits of hair left on my head is still growing. Some of the hairs are black, some are gray, and some are light brown. None of which are my natural medium brown color. 🙂 Another blessing is the scalp pain is gone (for good I hope). From about 2 weeks after my first treatment onward, I had an incredibly sensitive scalp. It was painful – similar to a sunburn. I had read it would be sensitive as the hair follicles began to be affected by the chemo meds, but it wasn’t just sensitive, it was downright painful.

As I said in an earlier post, the day after chemo, I get an injection of neulasta which helps promote blood cell regrowth. Because your blood cells grow in your bone marrow- you end up with a lot of bone pain for a few days afterward. After my 2nd treatment, with the scalp pain and the severe hip pain I could barely sleep or sit comfortably for 2 days. Supposedly taking a Claritin (loratadine), every day for the day of chemo and two days afterward, can help relieve the bone pain. They don’t know for sure how it helps, but it works for many people. I was too nauseous after my 2nd treatment to be brave enough to try to swallow anything extra, but I did take it this time, and it really helped. I was grateful for that bit of pain relief!

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Today, we spent a lot of time in the pool (the kids and Tim) and the hottub (me and whoever got too cold in the pool), then Tim grilled some hotdogs for a good old fashioned 4th of July summer dinner. Next are the fireworks in the yard – I love living in the country. 🙂 It’s been a beautiful day.

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