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It’s been 2 weeks since I last posted and that’s because the first chemo session pretty much kicked my derriere. I am now 6 days out and am finally starting to feel semi-normal–even 50-60% normal would be an improvement at this point.

On Friday, the 13th (perfect day for chemo, right?), I had my first dose of Taxotere. Chemo days can be long and boring and I usually expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 8 hours at the cancer center. I arrived at Taussig around 8:30 am and had my port accessed for the first time. I was always fearful of having a port given the chance of infection, but it’s actually been a blessing in disguise–all it takes is 1 small needle prick (instead of 4-5 it usually takes phlebotomists / nurses to find a good vein on me) and I’m good for both blood draws and chemo infusions.

After the blood draw, I met with my oncologist and then went to my assigned chemo room to await the lab results. Chemo cannot be given if my white blood cell count – among other things – is abnormal so the pharmacy will not dispense anything until the lab results are reviewed. Once I passed that hurdle, I was given my pre-meds, i.e. medications given before chemo to cut down on the chance of an allergic reaction and to prevent some side effects. Typically, I get Benadryl (for allergic reactions), Zofran (for nausea), Decadron (a steroid that I think also helps with nausea and counteracts allergic reactions), and Pepcid (not sure for what really). If you’ve ever taken a Benadryl pill and felt sleepy, imagine that stuff shot straight in your vein–instant comatose state!

Once all the pre-meds were done, I started with the actual chemo which is about an hour-long IV infusion. And after the Benadryl, it’s easy to dose off and just sleep through the whole thing. And before I forget, I also had a Lupron injection (in my hip) to suppress my ovaries on the same day. And, I am still taking 12 daily pills of Indoximod (my trial drug). In hindsight, it might not have been a good idea to hit my body with so many different drugs at the same time but I just wanted to get it over with.

I was tired but fine when I came home on Friday. Unfortunately, Saturday-Tuesday were a completely different story. On Saturday, my face and skin around my eyes turned red and I developed a low grade fever. On Sunday, the red face was gone but I spent the day in bed with vertigo, awful body aches and a fever that kept going up and down. Around 5 pm, we decided to make the trip to the ER since any fever can be dangerous to someone receiving chemo treatment (low white blood count and all that). We spent about 7 hours there (did I mention I really hate ERs?) and were sent home after all blood tests came back normal. They did take additional blood for cultures and those results can take 3-4 days, so I guess better safe than sorry. Monday and Tuesday were more of the same minus the fever: extreme fatigue, feeling like I’m in a haze, body aches, abdominal pain, etc. Today I’m only dealing with a sore throat and occasional nose bleeds – minor annoyances in my world – but I can actually function, stay out of bed and get some things done.

That’s my life in a nutshell over the last 2 weeks and I’m hopeful that every day I will feel a little bit better…until I have chemo again on 12/4. But if my last experience with chemo is of any indication, the first treatment is the hardest.

Coming up:

  • I believe I’m done with my first cycle of Indoximod on Monday and then I have a week off before my next cycle begins
  • Next chemo is on 12/4 which means I can celebrate Thanksgiving sans the side effects (love the holidays!)
  • My first CT scan since my diagnosis is on 12/11. Fingers crossed that we’ll see some improvement but I’m trying not to think about it too much since we just started treatment

Till next time…