Thursday, April 3, 2014


The haircut turned out ok.  I asked for closer to a longish Anne Hathaway and came away with more of a Dame Judi Dench, but again, it's not for permanent. I've been assured I don't look mannish, though human as an overarching goal is good as well. There you go, Sisyphus Jones ->

Good news so far on post-chemo infusion #1. The day went well. Friend CB and I spent the long day that is just the way the first infusion is scheduled.  First order of the day (post-erg at CBC w/ CB), blood draw blood for both the infusion dosing as well as part of an ongoing fatigue study at MGH. The study will look at changes in my weight, fatigue levels, and body composition over the next 16 weeks - managing fatigue seems to still be a bit mysterious as far as I can tell. Next, met with my Medical Fellow (oh, you got your hair cut, something about being proactive, but still polite) for vitals - height, weight, BP, O2 saturation, and a quick feel of the goods.  Quickly on his heels, my Medical Oncologist (who loved my hair - more on that later) and is the one I need to persuade to let me run did much the same in terms of a quick history and asked if I had any questions. Dosing is based on height, weight, and they check blood work to make sure I haven't developed some liver disease, etc since I was last seen.

Then the long wait began when there was confusion about when my chemo appointment began. CB and I gamely waited the unexpected 90', but soon I was answering more questions for one of the candy-stripers about my hair cut and where could she get it. Another in the plus column. Great Cuts, Harvard Square, Tiffany.

The infusion was pretty uneventful. My nurse was terrific and I'll have her the whole 16 weeks. Saline drip, some anti-nausea pills, a drip of a really potent steroidal anti-nausea, then finally the works. The stark red Adriamycin came in two huge cylinders out of a science fiction story. That was pushed directly into the IV, not a drip bag. After that, the Cytoxan dripped in on its own, so to speak. 3 hours of infusing time (well, 2:55, but who's counting) and 2 more hours of earlier appointments and we were ready to head out the door.  We did get a nice lunch and there were a few extras so CB got to stay with me for the whole time reading about knees and shoulders for her Athletic Training recert while I answered emails. I was also lucky to be able to reach out to Wendy the Dog Whisperer to give Max a quick relief walk at home. By the way, everything I took all day, except for my lunch, was double and triple checked by me, the nurse, and my ID - very thorough. However, even with the heads up that my urine would be red following the Adriamycin, I was still caught slightly off guard by the very koolaidness of that one pass.

Tuesday, Day 2, brought up the point of my self-injection, Neulasta, 24 hours after infusion to help boost my white blood count.  It was fine. It was a sore feeling inserting the needle, but after that, nothing. It is a little weird, and I'm very glad it was subcutaneous so I could just bunch up some belly fat rather than have to go for muscle or, yikes, a vein.  Not sure how that's possible without serious training. At the same time, I began a course of what seems like endless pills to combat the nausea. So far, so good. 5 in the morning with food, a couple of sennokat to ward off constipation, a few more sprinkled throughout the day and then another large cluster and one more sennokat to stay regular.

Exercise - I did take Tuesday off from exercise just to see what I would see, but walked Max. And late last night, I snuck out in my 1x for a short 4-mile row, first of the year. The water was too nice to pass up, no wind, and very pleasant. This morning, CB and I rowed 7 miles in the 2x, just slightly more than our wintery-soft hands could take.  This gets me through Days 2-3-4 and I think I'm still ok! I'll do a few more runs this week, remember it is tapering season, just in case I get the marathon green light.

Mixed in will be driving to Ithaca, NY, for the team's races with Cornell and UPenn. Looking forward to seeing those pink socks in action again!

P.S. Kate Woll has set up a web page (or click here) to her coordinate anyone who wants to help out.

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