September 23, 2019 - How Does Chemo Really Feel?
[WARNING: This post may meander, but it is from the heart.]
So, what do the days feel like after having chemo? I have to say, the first week on chemo was the pits! Having the feeling of constant nausea is not fun. I am thankful that I had/have meds to assist and help control nausea. But holy cow, did I totally underestimated the sick to my stomach feeling!! And, fatigue! Don't get me started on fatigue. It is amazing how these drugs can knock you down. The first week (week of September 9th), I literally sat in a recliner** with my feet up for days. I was useless. Each day was rinse and repeat. It was groundhog day, with the exception that Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were my worst days. I didn't start feeling better until Sunday.
**We did not own a recliner until this summer. I'm not sure I would have been in favor of owning one until this diagnosis and treatment. I must admit that it has been a lifesaver with my surgery, recovery, and now chemo. I'm not sure we will keep it after December. However, Mason, who inherited my Mother's love of NEVER GETTING RID OF ANYTHING, is lobbying to put it in his playroom when I no longer need it. We shall see...
The second week started with my first outing out of the house on Monday, also known as "the pixie cut" afternoon. (If you missed it, you can read all about it in the previous post.) Spoiler alert: I cut my hair short!
Then on Tuesday, my brother and his wife (Rick and Jackie), came from Savannah to stay with us for awhile. This is such as a blessing, as they are providing much needed personal relief, support, and love to the Krankings! We love them!
The week consisted of a daily outing each day, which was unexpected but nice.
Thursday was Nadir - the day where my white blood cell count would be at it's lowest. This comes in the off-week of chemo. I have to have a blood test each off week while I'm on AC (aka Red Devil). So, we made a trip to a Quest Diagnostic center for me to have a blood test. We are happy we can have this done in Florida. Here is the good news - these Quest phlebotomist do this ALL the time. Do you now what that means? She only had to stick me ONCE and it didn't even hurt!!! It was one of the most pleasant blood tests that I have ever had. Before anyone calls hooey, I did have chemo today, thus a little medicated. 😂 Seriously, it did not hurt.
On Friday morning, Jackie and I took a short walk in my neighborhood. We walked up to Bob and Chris’s house, very dear friends, but they weren't home. I thought I had enough energy to meander to our dear friends, Chuck and Hanner's (Helen) house, which is literally 6 houses further. How bad can that be? So, we trekked on. They were also out and about, but since I needed to rest, Jackie and I took a respite on their front porch. It was much needed for me. We sat for about 10 minutes or so chatting. (How awesome is it to have neighbors who you know would be happy to know that we borrowed their porch swing for a spell?) When we stood up to walk home, I knew I may be in trouble. I was light-headed, dizzy, and had ZERO energy. I didn't say anything to Jackie, as I didn't want to alarm her.
Insert commentary - I know, I know! I need to tell my peeps when I need help. They are here to help and assist. I will not let it happen again!! (She has already scolded me, LOL).
As we took our first few steps toward home, I saw Bob driving down the road. He graciously picked us up and drove us home. His timing was a godsend, because I do not think I could have made it home if I had to walk. He is now known as Uber Bob, LOL!
All in all, we had a very slow and relaxing week with Rick and Jackie. Not only to provide love and support, they came to help us with Mason when Chemo beckons us back to ATL. I mentioned to Jackie that I felt guilty for feeling better while they were here, which I KNOW is asinine. Believe me, I don't want to be down and out everyday, but I also know they are sacrificing their time to be with us and help me, which I cherish! Jackie said, "You need to take your good days when you have them, enjoy them, because you know bad days are coming". She is so right! It gave me pause. I needed to hear it.
On Sunday, Jamie and I headed to Atlanta. Jackie and Rick are on Mason duty!
Which brings me to TODAY. Whew! I am long-winded today. I should probably edit it, but I won't. This is real. This is me. This is today.
This morning I had my second round of chemo. It was also the first morning that I am noticing hair fall out. It is a little sad, but I am prepared. Really, I am! I do hope it hangs in there until I can see Sarah on Thursday for my buzz cut. I may have a patchwork scalp before I see her, but I did bring some beanies to wear to get me through the next few days.
So, in addition to Chemo #2, three interesting, fun things happened today:
My friend Suzanne came and sat with me for a little while today during chemo. It was nice to see her and to catch up.
My insurance finally cleared the Neulasta Onpro patch. What is this, you ask? Well, it is a handy dandy patch that is affixed to the back of my arm. It provides a time released injection of Neulasta, which is a medicine used to stimulate the growth of "healthy" white blood cells in the bone marrow. The time release is important. It needs to be administered 27 hours after your chemo finishes. If I didn't have the patch, I would have to go back to the doctor for a shot tomorrow afternoon. I have included a picture of the patch. It flashes green to let us know that it is attached properly. At the 27 hour mark, it will beep repeatedly and then inject the medicine. For curious minds, once the medicine is injected, we can remove the patch. I have included a picture. It's pretty cool!
My FAVORITE PART of today, tickled my ears. The sweetest words came out of the mouth of a sweet lady who was receiving chemo next to me. When I went to the restroom, Jamie started chatting with her and her husband. This sweet lady thought I was Jamie's daughter, LOL!!! Of course, Jamie was mortified. Once he regained his composure, he politely corrected her - letting her know that he is ONLY 4 years older than me. It gave me a much needed chuckle!!
Well, this brings me to the end of this rambling story. I am ready to rest and get ready for the onslaught of nausea that is in my future. Jamie and I are getting good at this, so I know we can tackle it. And, I look forward to week 2 of this cycle (next week), because I know I will feel better. Maybe next week, I will talk hair, I mean no hair, I mean - Look at my fabulous, stylish new wigs!!!!
Until next time...