99 Ounces and Still Not Enough – Chemo Day 29 #MyLeftBoob #BreastCancer Chronicles

Screenshot 2015-05-08 at 12.36.10 AM

3 down, 6 to go!  Last chemo is July 16, 2015

I’m 28 days into 16 weeks of ACT chemo (Adriamycin and Cytoxan and Taxol) and parched as a desert cactus! The first 4 treatments are the “A” – Adriamycin and “C” – Cytoxan every other week, followed by 4 weeks of Taxol every other week. After that I get a 4-week break before starting 6 weeks of radiation.

I know I have some new readers who are just beginning their breast cancer battle (Welcome!) so I will give a quick recap. To read my full story from the very beginning of when I found the lump on my left boob while dying my red hair, click here and scroll down to the bottom.

Chemo #1

I was pretty nervous about my first treatment because of the complications and 2 E.R. visits ( from an infection and an allergic reaction) I had from the lumpectomy surgery and the port placement surgery. I get my treatments on Thursdays so I felt sick (tired, dizzy, nauseous, mouth sores) Friday through Monday.

Chemo #2

Two weeks later, the second treatment started off okay, because I got medication for the mouth sores and figured out the dosages of all the 3 nausea meds they prescribed. But then out of nowhere…BOOM! The following Thursday night, a week after chemo #2, I got hit with pain in my bones (knees), pain in my skull, ribs, lower back and at the base of my skull. I also had bad muscle pain in my thighs. This lasted 2 days. The nausea, exhaustion and dizziness lasted 7 days.

Bye Bye Hair

My hair fell out on Day 17 which was 3-4 days early (according what I was told) and pretty traumatic, because it was not shaved short enough. Read more by clicking here.

Fast-forward to May 7, 2015

It’s been 106 days since I found the lump on Jan. 22 and my life was turned upside-down, swirling in a crazy up-and-down roller coaster ride ever since. I call it “The Whirlwind” which includes 5 free-fall drops, 4 loop-dee-loops, lots of climbs and falls and more than a few twists and turns.

I’m now 28 days in with 68 days to go and waiting for the other shoe to drop. So far the only symptom today is extreme thirst…..like, I’m reeeaaallly thirsty. I drank (3) 33 ounce water bottles (Nalgene BPA free – 99 ounces) so far and I’m still thirsty.

My 19-year-old son brought me to treatment today but had to go to work so my Pastor came to do “2nd shift” which was very comforting. Pastor Karen is a perfect balance of quick wit, well-rounded intelligence, girl power and modern cool forward thinking.  I’ve only gotten to know her better within the last few months after my daughter signed up to go on a missions trip but I am very glad to have gotten reconnected to this church (Bethel United Methodist) and the people in it.

I’ve worked in, and have gone to, a lot of different churches and denominations over the last few decades but stopped going a few years back after being hurt by “the church.” What I have recently realized is this: There is no perfect church. There are problems in a lot of churches, just read the newspaper. As long as the message is real none of that petty stuff matters. What I’ve also realized is that there are many more loving, kind, generous, selfless people who give their time, talent and money to bless others. And many do this, all flying under the radar- not wanting accolades, just wanting to bless someone. I have been the recipient of some of those blessings and I’m eternally grateful!

Chemo #3

Today’s treatment went well, except for a couple of glitches… the first nurse forgot which arm not to take blood and blood pressure on and I was too tired to remind her not to take it from my left. The reason is being because they took out my Sentinel Lymph Node and if they do blood pressure and/or blood work on my left arm it increases the risk of My Lymphedema (swelling).  My doctor said I probably won’t have a problem and I’m hoping he’s right.

For those just starting chemo, what happens is every time you go in you will be weighed, you’ll have to pee in a cup (pregnancy test), get your blood pressure taken, and then get your finger pricked so they can check red and white blood cell counts and platelet counts. Mine were all fine. My doctor even laughed when he asked me how I was doing and said “You’re so calm!”

My nurse is wonderful. There was another minor problem at first with drawing blood from the port site. This is a different blood test so they can check liver and kidney function. She couldn’t get a full tube at first and said it could be because after a while the tube that goes up form the port to the jugular vein could get a little clogged. They can clean it out with something but she tried one more time, while I prayed because I hate needles and didn’t want her to have to prick me in the arm with one, and, viola! It worked!

Next was the steroid drip, followed by anti nausea drip, followed by the 4 giant tubes of Adiriamycin. Next was the Cytoxan which gave me a head rush and made me feel dizzy so she had to slow down the drip. This whole process takes about 4 hours.

Tomorrow I expect some tiredness but my Oncologist said I shouldn’t have the bone and muscle pain this time around since I began taking Claritin on Monday. Yes, Claritin, the allergy medication. It’s supposed to combat the adverse effects of the Neulasta shot I get on Fridays to help boost my white blood cell counts. Weird, right? Good timing through since air quality is supposed to be poor tomorrow.

I plan on relaxing over the weekend and listening to my body when I need to rest. I have a week off from work to allow me to recover. My wig (top left) should be looking pretty snazzy soon. I dropped it off to my sister to tone it down a bit for “everyday use.” I’m diggin’ the new scarf gypsy look but it will be nice to go out sometimes, blend in and look somewhat “normal.”

Fingers and toes crossed that the other shoe I’ve been waiting to drop is firmly planted on the ground this week!

99 ounces of water in my belly, 99 ounces of water, you chug one down, swish it around, 99 more ounces to chug again tomorrow! Now that’s song’s stuck in your head. Ha!

Thanks for your support everyone! 🙂


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