Archive for January, 2006

More after-effects?

Friday, January 27th, 2006

Didn’t get to bed until around 3:30 or so last night. I overslept this morning – awoke around 1:30 and missed an appointment. I called and rescheduled it.

It felt great to finally get a lot of sleep. I wish I could do it more often.

No more fevers, so that’s passed.

My hair stopped falling out around the time of the third treatment. I thought it would make the rest disappear, but it didn’t. So it’s just really, really, thin, and I trimmed it short. It’s not falling out but it’s not growing either.

My facial hair grows very slowly now also. I only need to shave twice a week.

I’ve noticed that my fingernails are very brittle, but they still grow at the same rate. If I try to peel a piece of tape off a box with my thumbnail, the nail will tear. I suppose that’s a side effect of the treatment as well.

The Day After

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Didn’t get to sleep very much last night. I had a hard time falling asleep again. I had to get up early to wait for the phone company to send someone over to put a new jack in the kitchen.

This morning I had a fever between 99 and 100 degrees, so I took a tequin. I was also feeling a little nauseous so I took a prochlorper.

I felt wiped out all day. I finally got a little rest after dinner for a couple of hours. The fever broke while I was asleep and I felt better.

Chemo Round 4

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006

Saw my doctor before starting chemo, and everything looks good. My white blood cell count is back up again. He wrote me a new prescription to deal with the headaches.

I told him my fingertips are usually numb and he said it’s from the vincristine. Nothing to worry about unless it starts to get worse, such as not being able to feel change in my pocket.

Thankfully, it was nice and peaceful this time so I didn’t have to get out the DVD player. I slept a little after the benedryl but not enough.

It still took five hours, and I felt wiped out again afterwards.

I felt a little nauseous when I got home, so I took a prochlorper and that seemed to help.

I sure am grateful that I don’t have to go through this every week like some others do, or even every day in some cases. I consider myself very fortunate.

Second CAT scan

Tuesday, January 24th, 2006

Today’s CAT scan went better than the last one. The preparation instructions were different – last time I didn’t have to do anything.

This time I couldn’t have anything to eat three hours prior to the test, and had to drink 40 ounces of water before arriving there. I suppose that’s because the last time, I didn’t get quite so much of me scanned.

They said they’d fax the results to my doctor within 3-5 days. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement.

Mid-session Visit

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Went to the oncologist Wednesday to have my blood checked and talk to the doctor.

My white blood cell count was very low, leaving me very susceptible to infections. He didn’t do anything for it, so I’m not too concerned.

Everything else was okay. No new side effects, and my sleeping is improving as well as the headaches. I’ve been feeling pretty good lately.

Last weekend I bought a portable DVD player, so next Wednesday I’ll be all set should it become noisy again.

The Lost Thursday

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

I was totally wiped out by that last chemo treatment. I went to bed at 11 pm Wednesday night and woke up at 9:30 am Thursday morning. I had a bite to eat, took my meds and vitamins, and went back to bed at 10:30. Slept until 3:30 pm.

That’s over 15 hours of sleep. When I awoke at 3:30 I was soaked in sweat and sore all over. Must have been a fever that finally broke.

From then on I felt better as time went on, and was back on my feet raring to go at dinnertime.

I didn’t sleep too well last night, though. I was up until around 4. Felt like my heart was racing.

But today I’m back on track. I got up at 1100 and haven’t fallen asleep all day. Can’t remember the last time that happened.

3rd Round of Chemo

Wednesday, January 11th, 2006

Today wasn’t too bad. Last time I had a huge black mark on my arm from the needle, and it’s still a little visible now.

The facility is very comfortable, with two restrooms, a coat closet, reclining chairs, and free coffee and snacks. They try to make your stay as pleasant as possible, under the circumstances.

You come in they take a blood sample. Then you see the doctor, and he asks how you’re doing and tells you the results of the blood tests. If you need new prescriptions, you tell him and they’ll be waiting for you when you leave.

This visit, he wrote me a script for a CAT scan. I guess we may be nearing the halfway point.

Then you hang up your coat and drop your bag on a chair. I usually pack a book and a magazine and some snacks in my bag. You let the receptionist know the doctor’s done with you, and then sit in your chair.

Soon they start an IV and begin giving you your meds.

That’s my routine, and this week the treatment lasted about 5 hours again.

Now I’m not one to complain, but it gets a bit noisy sometimes. The first thing they give me is the benadryl and I usually end up drifting off not soon after. But someone usually ends up making enough noise to wake me up somehow.

This week it was a visitor who was talking to someone in a chair not ten feet away. Yet you could hear her clear across the room.

I asked the nurse if they had any earplugs, but they didn’t. So I guess I have to go out and buy an MP3 player, portable DVD player, PSP, laptop computer, or something to block out people WHO TALK LOUD AND WON’T STOP!

I just want some peace and quiet while I’m getting massive amounts of medication pumped into my arm. The least visitors could do is show some respect.

Today’s treatment lasted around five hours again. I was pretty beat when I got home.

One more positive note: I actually had a day earlier this week where I didn’t take any pain medication. No headache all day long. Hope that becomes a trend.

No Worries

Friday, January 6th, 2006

Joints felt much better today. No need to call the doctor.

My temperature has been between 98.4 and 98.8 so it looks like the bouts of fever and incapacitating headaches are behind me now.

Shaved my goatee off yesterday because I got tired of the little hairs falling off all over the place. I’m definitely sporting a new look now.

New Symptoms

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

I guess my doctor’s visit was a day too soon.

Today I had a lot of pain in my lower back and knees. I knew it wasn’t the R.A. because a flareup comes on more slowly with different symptoms. And if my sed rate was high, they would have told me. Besides, with the amount of steroids I’m taking a flareup would be impossible.

I dug out my literature on the medications. Both vincristine and neulasta can cause moderate to severe joint pain. So there you have it.

I just took a lot of painkillers today and it was manageable. If the pain doesn’t subside tomorrow, then I’ll call the doctor.

Labs / Oncologist Visit

Thursday, January 5th, 2006

Saw the oncologist today and had my blood checked. White cell count was a little low.

He asked if I had any other side effects or symptoms, and I said no to all of them. If it weren’t for the headaches and insomnia, I’d be doing fine.