Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2nd Thousand

Today marks the 2nd half of my chemo treatment and the (planned) switch to Taxol. I went in today because the Center was closed yesterday for Memorial Day. Instead of meeting with my medical oncologist and oncology fellow who were not in, my appointment was with an oncology nurse practitioner who happened to be the one who took me through my Chemo Teach session. She was great about answering questions, such as she doesn't think I will lose my finger nails which can happen through this whole process, and she went over all the results from my bloodwork (very good numbers). She also talked about the muscle aches which can be a common side effect of Taxol (most likely in the long bones, for example, the femur), and that I should be able to manage it with Tylenol and/or iburpofren, but if not, to let my medical team know so they can figure out something else (other drugs, pain killers, etc). During my exam, she also had a hard time finding the tumor because it has continued to shrink. I really liked that.

More good news - I did not have an allergic reaction to the infusion, and no neuropathy in my fingers or toes, though that could show up in the first 48 hours following infusion. If it does show up, it tends to be cumulative over the next 8 weeks of treatment and the goal is to minimize it, keep it out of the palm and bottom of the feet. As long as I can work buttons or a zipper (fine motor skills) or earrings, then we can proceed as planned and any effects should go away with time.

Bad news - it took 3 sticks to get the IV going. The first one was uncomfortable, it kept stinging which would get old over the 4 hours of the drip, not to mention unnecessary. The second one was like hitting a dry well. (Yes, I still have good veins, easy targets that don't roll, sigh.) The third was the charm but being right next to the spot of my bloodwork draw from earlier in the morning, it started to leak with the tourniquet placement. Ugh. So, four sticks today, all in the left arm - I feel like a pin cushion. Really, really good that I am not squeamish with needles. Dr. Saiya, my visitor today, was surprised I watch the needle(s) go in. I like to see what's going on so there are no surprises, that's all. She also maneuvered my chair so I could see better out the window to see the river (thank you).

Overall, feeling really good yesterday and today going in. Looking forward to a lack of stomach upset the next 8 weeks! Sticking to the plan of taking care of myself as much as possible nonetheless. Only 3 more treatments to go!

Two photos today - one of the final (good) IV hookup from the mirror of the bathroom mid-infusion. The IV pump has a back up battery so I can wheel around. The other is from coaching this afternoon - yes, it is May 27th and I have on a fleece, a down vest, and a puffy-hardshell jacket. Of note is the new hat that came from West Coast friend Elise. Subtle. Yes, that is what it says.

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