#5 – So Far So Good

I had my fifth chemo treatment today. So far, so good. I am done with the two drugs Adriamycin and Cytoxin that were in my first 4 treatments, now I will just have Taxol for these last 4.

So far, I do not have the head fuzziness or weakness like I did from the other drugs. That’s a good sign. Tim and I took a walk tonight- almost a mile. I am still hungry and moving around well. But it’s only Day 1. The worst usually hits sometime at the end of Day 2 and lasts for several days to a week. So, we’ll see soon enough.

The first two drugs I had have a high frequency of emesis (nausea and vomiting)  of >90%. Taxol has a low frequency of emesis of 10-30%. If it works out that way for me it will be a very welcome relief from the sickness. Like the other drugs though, Taxol will continue to kill off my blood cell components, making me weaker as each treatment progresses.

The additional sife effects of Taxol include bone and joint pain, and neurological effects, such as tingling and loss of function in hands and feet. If that happens- the loss of function, or even severe tingling- I am supposed to call the doctor immediately. They will then postpone my next treatment until I have recovered and will give me a smaller dose next time. I am hopeful I do not have these more serious issues.

In the meantime, Chris told me the other day that ‘he knew I was really sick but he sure wished I could come into his room and tell them goodnight again’. So that night, I made the extra effort to go in there, tired and weakness notwithstanding. The smiles on Chris’s and Andy’s faces as they hugged and kissed me was worth all the effort for sure. I’ve gone in there and into Reagan’s room every night since. Maybe the stair climbing is helping my strength as well 🙂

My 5th treatment actually started yesterday afternoon with my normal blood tests and check by the doctor. Blood tests were ok- even with my lower than normal white and blood cell counts, neutrophils and platelets, they weren’t low enough to delay today’s chemo treatment. The cancer has shrunk down to about 3 cm by 1.5 cm. For those who have read ealier posts, you will know it is now less than a quarter of the size it was at diagnosis (5.5cm by 4.5 cm). This is a big relief and each time I am checked, I am told this is a really good response. Yay!

Reagan caught a baby perch in Grandpa's front yard!

Reagan caught a baby perch in Grandpa’s front yard!

We spent last weekend up north at my father-in-law’s (south of the  Mackinac Bridge). It was the first trip we’ve taken since I started chemo. It was Reagan’s 8th birthday wish- to spend it with her Grandpa. It was over a week since my previous chemo so I figured I would be feeling well enough for the trip. I was for the most part. The first two days, I was still feeling a bit bad, but after that, other than my usual fatigue and weakness, I was feeling good. I even went to church for the first time in a while- since my father-in-law’s church does outside mass on nice days.

Chris and Andy swimming in Lake Huron by the Mackinac Bridge.

I’ve been told by my oncologist that I should avoid places where I am in close quarters to a lot of other people – to avoid the germs. Thus why I have been missing mass- all the handshaking and close quarters is worrisome (plus sitting that long on a wooden pew is almost impossibly painful for me right now), and why I missed my nephew’s open house and my new cousins’ baby shower 😦 And I never know how I’m going to feel after a treatment.

Thanks to all of you for checking on me and praying for me. I apologize for the long wait between posts- I was just too sick to think what to write, then gone on the trip. I also wanted to mention that I saw Carmella (see the-people-of-chemo-part-1) today. She was looking good, so your prayers are working. Thank you.

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