Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wow, I Didn't Expect All This

17th day after chemo of a 21 day cycle
May 22, 2013
The first week after the first infusion wasn’t so bad.  I suppose the steroids had helped with my energy level.  The first noticeable change was evident on my face.  I looked like I had been to the beach, and now I was sunburned.  That side effect I had forgotten about.  Then Saturday came and WHAM, my energy was gone, diarrhea was relentless, and a nasty ulcer appeared right at the corner of my mouth on the right side.  It was a huge sore which healed very slowly. 

On Sunday, I fell.  I was sleeping on the couch in our great room.  My dogs like to be cruel to me and ask to go out after I have been asleep for a little while.  Since that usually happens nightly, I assume I must have heard one of them stirring which caused me to awaken.  I stood up to let them out.  One of the dogs had dragged their bowl into the room and once I started for the door, I stepped right on the side of the dog bowl and down I went.   I picked myself up, got back on the couch and went back to sleep.  When I awoke the next day, I didn’t remember getting up or falling.  It turned out to be a nasty fall because I had a wound on my elbow and a terrific pain in my arm and shoulder on the right side.  As the day progressed, I also discovered I had pain when I breathed deeply.   Of course my first thought was, damn, it is in my bones and now I can feel it in my lungs.  The cancer would have grown extraordinarily fast if that were the case, but I still worried.  Eventually, I remembered the fall.  I definitely was not fully awake when it happened.  I had taken Ativan for my anxiety the evening before.  It must have really knocked me out.  I suppose if I need to take it again, I will cut that pill in half so I can at least be conscious if I have to get up again after being asleep.  This of course is inevitable.  Like I said, my dogs can be cruel to me. 

A week later on Friday, I went to the eye doctor because I was having trouble keeping my left eye open in bright light.  The light was causing such pain.  Three years ago, during my chemo treatment I had the same type of pain.  So, I guessed it was the same condition this time.  The doctor at that time didn’t think that my eye problem had anything to do with chemo, but I felt certain it did.  One of the side effects caused by the chemo drugs is a drop in white blood cells which leaves the body vulnerable to infections.  I had been given a Neulasta shot to boost the white blood cells two days after my treatment.   That should have helped, but I have a low white blood cell count naturally anyway.  Yeah, I am not a doctor, but my conclusion sure seemed logical to me as to why I had conjunctivitis and iritis today just as I had it three years ago.  Conjunctivitis and Iritis are after all inflammation or infections involving the eye.    

Around 1 am that same day, I went to the emergency room.  I could not sleep due to the urgent sensation to go to the bathroom.  The burning pain I felt when I did go was alarming.    Because the all night clinics were closed, the only place I could go was the emergency room.  I felt almost silly going, but I needed help.  There was blood in my urine too so I was certain this had to be a urinary tract infection.  The doctor listened to my lungs and gave no indication there was anything wrong.  After my urine was tested, it was indeed a urinary tract infection.  At least this condition was curable with antibiotics.  And, thank goodness for pain killers though it gave my urine a vivid orange color.   

With a beginning like this, I worry what the rest of my treatments will be like. 

Today is the seventeenth day after my 1st chemo treatment with four days until the next. For whatever reason, compared to 3 years ago, chemo has been difficult this time.  I have consistently had diarrhea.  This evening I have a terrific headache to go along with the diarrhea.  Sometimes, when I have intestinal problems, the back of my head will have a tingling sensation.  That is what is happening tonight.  In the past, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, so perhaps that is what is causing at least some of my discomfort.  I drank some Imodium, so now I am patiently waiting to feel better.  

My hair has slowly been falling out.  I have not cut it yet.  Today I washed it and then began to dry it with the blow dryer, and it was falling out in even greater amounts.  It even felt different as if all the natural oils are gone.  I have been delaying cutting it all off because I wanted to get a decent photograph of myself just in case I don’t get a chance again to have a picture with my real hair.   Chemo has made me feel so ill.  I kept waiting to get better and it just was not happening.  On days that I felt a little better, I had errands to take care of.  So, I kept putting it off and now my hair is coming out in greater amounts, and I have no picture.  Earlier today, Audrey (my oldest daughter) took a few pictures of me, but of course they turned out just horrible.  With all the crying I have been doing, my eyes are really puffy.  I am just so sad, mad, but mostly so extremely sad and my face can’t hide what I am going through. 

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