Archive for the ‘My 4th Chemo Treatment’ category

Day 20 after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 7, 2010

Today I am feeling Really Good!! So far I have been blessed with 2 whole days of feeling good during the past 20 days. That is the lowest amount of ‘feeling good days’ that I have had thus far in all the treatments. My energy is good, and except for some hand shaking I have no noticeable side effects. I slept well last night without taking a sleeping pill. I went and got blood work done this morning. The technician had no problem finding a vein & drew blood with no problems. I did some shopping. It is well over 100 degrees outside so I am mostly staying in, getting food ready for the next few days, mentally prepping for the next chemo treatment and working on projects.

Tomorrow I will get a check up and meet the oncologist who is taking over for the previous one. I’ll call this one Dr. R. Then I will have my 5th chemo treatment. I am going to try eating Lemon Sorbet during the infusion of the ‘Doxirubin‘  in order to keep my mouth cold. I am hoping this will be palatable and I do not get nauseous or throw-up during that infusion. I definitely need to keep my mouth colder than the last time because there was a noticeable increase in uncomfortable mouth side effects  as noted in this blog. Then it’s on to another round of side effects!!

I am still very uncomfortable with the situation at my job. I spoke with one of the employees today when I called for a question about a health insurance issue. There is still no information on the situation with the principal. It is ‘confidential’ per school board directive. She told me they have the contracts for next school year signed by board members with starting and ending dates but no employees have gotten copies of those. She is going to recommend to Audra [who I surmise is acting principal] that the employees be sent copies. That would be nice (and professional!).

Notes on What Happens After the Chemo Treatments are Done

June 7, 2010

From a conversation with the original oncologist 4/27/09:

What Happens after the Last Chemotherapy Treatment:

  • I will get a PET Scan 4 weeks after the last treatment to see where the lymphoma situation is at, re: cancerous areas
  • There is no standard oral treatment [medicine] after the last chemo treatment
  • Hopefully the Grade 3 lymphoma’s will be cured, that is the object of the chemo treatments
  • The Grade 1-2 may or may not be cured by the chemo
  • The Follicular Lymphoma is not necessary cured by the chemo
  • The goal of the chemo was to get rid of the fast growing cancer cells [Grade 3] so they will Not come back
  • Usually after the chemo treatment they see no active lymphoma.
  • The Grade 3 lymphoma’s are gone forever. That’s what the chemo is treating. They do not want it to come back.
  • Regarding the The lower Grade 1-2 lymphoma’s:
  1. There is a HUGE variation in the post chemo response.
  2. We are Hoping for a 3 year remission.
  3. Many people go many years without relapsing. The “R2CHOP” chemo treatment that I am getting  is very intensive.
  4. Some people relapse after 8-12 months even with only a low-grade lymphoma.

As far as the timing of the CT Scans: there is some flexibility as to when they do one. So far he has followed a protocol. But there is some flexibility as to when they do the scans. I should get a CT Scan at the end of the treatments, and possibly another one before then.

19 days after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 6, 2010

In Phoenix. Celebrated Ben’s birthday today with brunch at a nice restaurant. Feeling pretty good. No fatigue: I wonder if it was exacerbated by the altitude in Pinetop possibly? Hands shaking a little. Allergies acting up a little. None of the other side effects are acting up! Even my mouth feels normal for the first time in almost 3 weeks! It is 110 degrees outside so I am hanging out in the a/c. I get blood work tomorrow, doctors visit and 5th chemo treatment on Tuesday and Nuelasta shot on Wednesday. That’s all for now…

Day 18 after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 5, 2010

I’m back in Phoenix. It is Very hot here. I slept okay last night but needed to take 1/2 sleeping pill. Note that there is something in my bedroom in Pinetop that causes me to wake up with sinuses draining and a headache. Feeling a little less fatigued today, but taking things slow. Voice is fine. Ankles still swollen. Tongue is my mouth still rough like sand paper. Sinuses have been okay after taking an Advil Sinus pill first thing this morning. Rash is gone. Hands still shaking sometimes. Can taste all the food today, which is Great! Did okay driving down from Pinetop. I wish I could have stayed in Pinetop longer. The weather was beautiful and it was nice to be home, very quiet and peaceful and Bella got to play outside in the yard!

Day 17 after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 4, 2010

Still in Pinetop. Slept well last night without taking a sleeping pill but still woke up Very fatigued and had to mentally force myself to get out of bed and get going.!

My sinuses were acting up when I awoke so I took an Advil Sinus tablet, which helped.

I discovered during breakfast that I have very little Taste today. I can barely discern the orange in the Gatorade and the carrot juice flavor. Everything else has no taste, I can simply tell the texture. If I had a blind fold on I would not know what I was eating!

Hands are not shaking as bad as yesterday. Voice is not hoarse and rash is gone. Ankles are slightly swollen.

I fertilized the gardens in my yard with enriched soil [4-40 pound bags of it], painted the garage door and cut up the small oak tree branches into kindling size pieces. It took me from 11:30-4 p.m. to do this. I had to take breaks frequently and drank a lot of fluids.

I mentally moved past the fatigue and some associated achiness in order to get this stuff done.  Fortunately the weather is beautiful! Now I am very tired and have been out of breath for a while.

I have to take each day as it comes, but I am still bewildered as to why I have these side effects this long after the chemo treatment. I would love to just feel NORMAL for a few days! Need to drive back to Phoenix tomorrow. Temperatures there are over 100 degrees, not looking forward to that. That’s all for now.

Day 16 After 4th Chemo Treatment

June 3, 2010

An other day in Pinetop. Slept well with the aid of 1/2 sleeping pill. But woke up at 6 a.m. with a major sinus headache. I was out of the ‘Wal-itin D’ so I took and Advil Sinus tab. Eventually the headache went away, but I was achy, sore around my eyes, nasal drip and felt tired. As the day wore on these symptoms disappeared.

My hands have been shaking a lot. I wish that would stop.  It is hard to control. My mouth is still a little sore. The rashes are gone. I am feeling fatigued, but I was still able to do errands, visit with friends and do a little yard work.  It was a mental determination to do these things that helped me over ride & ignore the fatigue. My voice is no longer hoarse. I have been drinking a lot of fluids because my entire mouth gets dried out very quickly. I am not sure if that is a medical issue or it is just drier here than in Phoenix. I got the results of my blood work from Tuesday. Katie said everything is fine and the numbers look good.

I just am in disbelief that I am still feeling fatigued this many days after the chemo treatment. What a hassle! I have several things to do around the house tomorrow and I am determined to do them regardless of how I feel. Enough is Enough!

Day 15 after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 2, 2010

Slept well last night with aid of 1/2 sleeping pill. Getting a good nights sleep seems to have a profound effect on my day. The fatigue was not as intense as it has been. If I do something labor intensive [like pull nails out of the wood slats on my house like I did this morning prior to getting it painted] I have to sit and rest for a while afterward. The hoarseness in my voice is lessening. The rash is almost gone. The soreness in my mouth is still there. The shaky hands are still frequent. No swollen ankles. I walked around Woodland Lake at a moderate pace and did well. There was very little wind today so my sinuses did not bother me very much. My eyesight really seems to be getting worse based on how frequently I need to wear glasses when working on the computer. It used to be that prior to chemo  I did not need to wear my glasses when using my netbook. Now I pretty have to if I am doing any reading on it. If I play Text Twist and have it full screen I can get away without glasses.

Otherwise the house got painted today and looks good. It was a mellow day. Hope I feel even better tomorrow with more energy so I can do a few things around the house.

14 days after 4th Chemo Treatment

June 1, 2010

Here in Pinetop. Had a difficult time sleeping last night and woke up very tired. My flannel sheets felt like sandpaper on my skin, I have no idea why. I woke up several times with my whole mouth being dried out. I think it is drier here than in Phoenix.  I Went and got my blood work done at the hospital in Show Low first thing this morning.  The first lab technician had difficulty finding a vein, and when she found one it would not bleed [and also Hurt the way she was doing it!]. So she went and got another technician, who also had difficulty finding a vein until I suggested to her to try one of the veins near my wrist or on my hand, like they do when I get chemo treatment. She said “oh ya we can do that”  and once she poked , it bled fine and I was out of there a.s.a.p!

I did grocery shopping, bought a toilet, got paint for the trim and by the time I was done I was Very fatigued! I was really glad I did not run across anyone I know while doing the shopping! The wind was blowing a lot and my sinuses went awry. My voice is still pretty hoarse. I got achy especially my knees, and took 600 mg of ibuprofen. The rash seems to be clearing up. Hands have been very shaky. My chest felt cloudy for a while. I did not do anything active this afternoon except move the lawn sprinkler from place to place. Even as of this writing [7 p.m.] I am still not feeling well, really tired out. I think the change in altitude + the change in weather [it was 69 degrees here today vs. 98 degrees in Phoenix] may have an effect on it too. That’s about it for now…

Day 13 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 31, 2010

Good to be home in Pinetop. Weather is much cooler up here, everything is so Green!

Rested before I made the drive, which was a good thing to do. Feeling okay, just very tired. The rash on my right groin seems to be getting lighter. I’ve been taking 100 mg. of Benadryl the past few nights and putting hydrcortisone cream on it to help that situation. My hands shaking is a hassle and that happens quite frequently. My teeth on the left side of my face still hurt sometimes, and they are especially sensitive to cold stuff. Not feeling achy, no fever, ankles slightly swollen could be altitude change. My allergies are acting up. My voice is only slightly hoarse now.

Basically, except for these small issues, I feel pretty good. I think things with the white blood cells are back to normal. Will get blood work tomorrow morning and should get results by tomorrow afternoon regarding how that is doing. Took my last antibiotic pill tonight, so my system should be well fortified.

Sunday, Day 12 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 30, 2010

Still Not feeling 100%. Chest has felt foggy, heavy, some coughing. But I took a fairly long walk this afternoon and I do not think there is anything wrong, its possibly just the remnants of the low blood count stuff. The actual teeth on the side of my jaw where the initial node was removed have been sore and my tongue still feels like sandpaper. I’ve been brushing, rinsing, water-pik and antibiotic mouthwash to it. The rash on the right side of my groin appears to have spread a little. I put hydrocortisone cream on it. My hands have not been shaking as much. No body aches or fevers. Ankles not swollen even after the walk. Allergies have been mild today. My voice is still quite hoarse, but I have not felt that much fatigue.

Between yesterday and today I digitized 1,165 slides using a slide scanner. Most of them were art works. I could remember when and where I took most of the slides, which gave me another set of memories to reflect on that I have not thought about in a very long time. All these memories, it is like I am retiring and reflecting on my life as a whole.  I don’t understand that. Some days I am just not so sure everything with my health will be okay. The chemo chemicals are getting rid of the cancerous growths, but I sometimes wonder what hassles they will cause, especially considering some of the crazy visual ‘effects’ I’ve had. And there is no guarantee I will go into remission. I try to push those thoughts from my mind, but I do get worried sometimes. This chemo cancer experience has just been such an enormous load to digest and deal with and there are times even now when I get overwhelmed.

My  life is in God’s hands, and I do not fear death. I just hope I have more time to do some of the things I still want to do, like going to Italy. My biggest passion for the past few years has been learning via travel and alas, all else except Love pales next to that.  And traveling cost money.

I really need to head up to Pinetop tomorrow get settled and get paint, a new commode and some errands done on Tuesday to prepare for the plumber & the house to be painted on Wednesday. I will be taking Bella with me, which is an added responsibility but I can’t leave her here with all the noise that will occur at this house this week. So I am hoping that tomorrow I will wake up feeling 100% ! That’s all for now…

Day 11 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 29, 2010

Feeling pretty good today, but still taking it easy and not going out in public . Energy level is higher. Mouth is still mildly sore. Voice is STILL hoarse. Chest feels tight. No fever nor swollen ankles. Hands are quite shaky at times, which is a hassle. It takes a LOT of concentration to stop the shaking. Taste buds are still not perceiving flavors quite right.  Allergies acting up, nasal drip. Developing a rash on the right side of my groin that looks like one I had after 2nd chemo treatment. Will monitor it and see if any other rashes develop elsewhere.

To date, since March 5th when all of this began, I have played countless games of ‘Text Twist’, experimented with strange recipes I’ve found on the Internet, learned how to make thin tasty crepes,  read 3 novels and watched 42 movies, [yes I have a list!] which has to be a record! I’ve also been working on other projects too: the Paris book, a large crochet blanket, and digitizing about 1200 slides that go back up to 30 years ago.

The idea of ‘patience’ has taken on new and expanded meanings. My Faith in God has been strengthened 100 fold. I’ve  found that at least 90% of life’s difficulties are really quite trite and should not be stressed about very much. I  intend to learn the software programs Photoshop CS5, Art Rage and Corel Painter. Learning a Lot about myself, but I still have no idea what will be ‘post-chemo’: it’s still one day at a time, cannot think much past that. Who am I, where am I going, what will I be?   Still trying to reconcile myself to living with this disease that will be with me for the rest of my life. Find myself looking at my life in retrospect,  remembering people, events, details of phases I have not thought about in a very long time. So many Awesome individuals that I have known friendship with through the past 35 years, I wish I could gather them all up and have one giant party! Some of them I miss a lot.  I feel like I’ve aged a lot. My mustache is now totally white. I really want to go to Italy. My emotions are still a juggernaut most days. That’s all for now..

Day 10 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 28, 2010

Starting to feel a little better. Fatigue is not as bad as it was yesterday. I was able to take a 16 block walk this afternoon after resting all morning, and I did well. Got tired but not exhausted. Still some chest aches. My mouth still feels like sand paper, and I am finding that my taste buds are not correctly tasting all things. Sometimes my teeth hurt. My hands have still been shaking quite a bit. No fever or swollen ankles. Voice is still hoarse. Woke up in a sweat about 3 a.m., changed shirt and otherwise slept fine. It may have been that the bedroom was warm. Eating high protein foods. Still staying away from people, and will continue that for a couple more days just as a precaution. But I do think I am getting past this side effects/low white blood cell count stuff. Will see what tomorrow brings…

Day 9 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 27, 2010

Not feeling well today, similar to yesterday: fatigue, body aches with dizziness when I do some activity [ like taking a shower]. Have to rest for a while before doing anything else. Voice still very hoarse. Hands have been shaking a lot. The aches are located in my upper back and chest when they occur. Mouth is only moderately sore. Teeth sometimes hurt. No fever. Sinuses okay. Feet not swollen. Tried taking a walk today, got as far as 3 blocks up the street, had to turn around and come back, way too exhausting. Moving very slowly, feel very weak. Basically feels like I have the flu. Experienced these symptoms before, but never this many days after the treatment. This is very delayed! Needing to rest a lot. I am still at a very low blood count, which may account for the fatigue. Still taking antibiotics.

Day 8 after 4th Chemo Treatment

May 26, 2010

Rough day today. Energy low. Chest and back ache anytime I do any activity, such as washing dishes, driving to the post office or doing laundry. The pain can get intense, I get winded and sometimes get very dizzy. I have to stop and rest. So had to slow way down. Am working on sedentary projects while watching movies. I think I am dealing with these side effects better this time, so the aches and fatigue may be as intense as previous times but I’m not as affected by it. Ankles are not swollen. Hands shake intermittently. No fever. No nausea. Sinuses are okay. Mouth is only slightly sore. Tongue seems to be healing.  Voice is still very hoarse. Grateful that it is not the extreme fatigue which I have felt after past treatments. But this is the most delayed they have been. We will see what tomorrow brings!

Day 7 After 4th Chemo Treatment

May 25, 2010

Slept better with the help of a sleeping pill last night. Mouth is still quite sore, especially my tongue. Voice is still Very hoarse. I have Achiness in my back and chest that comes and goes. Have some fatigue, need to take frequent rests when doing something. Ankles are not swollen.No nausea.  No fever so far. Some shaking of my hands. Sinuses are draining. Sometimes I get dizzy.

Karen the doctors nurse called after I got my blood work done this morning and told me the following:

  • My white blood cell count is 1.1
  • My immunity count is 0.17
  • Therefore I am at a very high risk for infection because my count is so extremely low.
  • This high risk for infection will last 4-5 days. Basically I currently have no defenses to fight off infection.
  • They prescribed an antibiotic I have to take for 7 days as a precautionary measure.
  • I need to let them know if I have any signs of a fever 100.3 or higher
  • She said to avoid sick people; avoid large crowds; wash my hands a lot; avoid undercooked foods; wash fruits and vegetables with soap.

I do feel like I have a mild case of the flu. I guess this is as close as I’m getting to having the Neulasta side effects this treatment. So strange. I went shopping after getting the blood work done and took a short walk around the neighborhood. That is my exercise for the day. I plan on hanging out around the house for the next few days just to be safe. I feel the need to rest and am quite tired.


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