This week marks my half way point through chemo treatments. It's been a roller coaster ride to say the least. Each treatment seems to bring a different set of symptoms and timing.The first treatment in the hospital was comparatively easy, but I didn't have one of my medications - outpatient v. inpatient payments for meds, go figure. The second treatment my WBC was very low and the Oncology RN wasn't sure they would be willing to treat me. Fortunately, my Oncologist is being agressive and agreed to treat despite my low numbers. I hadn't had a port placed yet so finding a vein that could handle the medication and was safe to use took about 5 attempts, yikes! I felt pretty decent after the treatment and recieved "Neulasta", which is a drug to help boost WBC creation. I didn't realize how important taking a claritin would be as this drug creates bone pain. The claritin was mentioned in passing and so I didn't know I really needed to take it. Well I certianly did - bone pain is horrible, I don't recommend it.
During my third treatment things went well again until about 5 days after the chemo when I was having extreme nausea and pain. At this point, I hadn't realized there could be a delay onset of my symptoms and these were very new. I struggled through and by my 4th treatment felt things were going well. Unforunately, again around day 5 I was hit with they sympomts, only this time I wasn't able to full control them with the medications on hand. A week from my treatment I went for a follow up PET scan and my symptoms got unbearable. I went to the ER on a Sat evening hoping to get some fluids and some IV medication, but that was not enough. I was readmitted to the hospital for observation and was release a day later - after several IV medications and some added steroids.
My PET scan shows that the mass in my chest has decreased in size by about half, which is fantastic news! My 5th treatment was again met with a low WBC, but since treatment is working my oncologist decided to again allow me to continue with treatment on schedule. They added a new medication to help, the Cadillac of nausea meds, Amend. Unfortunately, I was very fatigued for most of the week after the chemo and still having the nausea and pain during the recovery week. I am checking with my oncologist about other options, like adding the Amed the following week as well.
I am so grateful for the support I have recieved from my coworkers who continue to check in on me. From friends who offer an ear to listen and positive vibes for my recovery. For my parents, who have been able to be by my side during this journey. And for all those, who have prayed, sent notes of encouragement, and shared their love with me. Here's hoping that treatment 6 provides some consistency in symptoms so I know what to expect.