Archive for June, 2009

Feeling OK

Yesterday was the friggin’ pits! I went in for “quick” chemo, just Bleomycin, which supposedly takes 15 minutes or so. I started off being late for my 6:45 AM appointment because I didn’t wake up early enough. I’m pretty sure I came close to passing out when my IV was put in, but I wasn’t particularly upset about it. I then had an “assessment-style” appointment about my current treatment. All of my tests are coming back good/normal. I complained (probably a lot) about things, especially when repeatedly asked “How are you feeling?”. Relative to chemo treatment, I’m feeling ok. Relative to a normal person, shitty. Ha!

I was told that Bleomycin, by itself, has minimal side effects- I might get a fever. Sweet. I was told that I didn’t need any additional anti-nausea meds (beyond the ones I already take regularly at home). I acknowledged this and OK’d the nurse to proceed.

I arrived home a little before noon. I decided to take a quick nap before working from home for the afternoon. This quick nap turned into about 6-hours of freezing chills, headaches and vomiting. Needless to say, I didn’t get any work done. This was the worst day for side effects to date. I will always ask for additional medication going forward.

Today I am feeling OK. I spent the day around the house cleaning up a bit. I’m glad to have some energy back.


First day back to work

Today was the most difficult morning thus far for side effects. I woke up feeling exhausted, despite sleeping over 10 hours. I crawled out of bed to eat a handful of saltines, took my anti-nausea meds and laid back down. After about 30 minutes of lying awake, I got up and took a shower. The nausea took complete control after I got out of the shower.

My head was extremely congested most of the day- it eased up as I drank more water. My coworkers were very supportive, but it was difficult to get back into the swing of things.

Drowsy is better than nausea

I woke up feeling ok, but carefully followed my nurses instructions to eat crackers before getting out of bed and to immediately take two anti-nausea meds. I haven’t had any nausea since, but I’ve been drowsy all day- enough so that I want to lay down for awhile.

My visit to Dana-Farber was brief- a shot of blood cells and I was off. I felt really uncomfortable walking in there- on par with how Bruno feels when he is dragged into the vet.

I will get a good night sleep tonight so that I’m ready for my first day back to work tomorrow. It is time to get back to the normal routine (and back to feeling normal).

Day 5 started rough

The nausea won this morning. I tried to take my meds, half a banana and a glass of water for breakfast around 5:15 AM. It lasted about 30 seconds before Jess woke up to my heaving. Although I was hungry, I couldn’t eat or drink anything until roughly 11 AM. My nurse switched my oral medications over to an IV version to get it in my system.

I slept through nearly the entire visit to Dana-Farber. Yet again, I was emotional about being in there when it came time to hook up the IV. I didn’t try to fight the fatigue, and the dozing off seemed to pass the time more quickly.

I am now taking 3 different kinds of anti-nausea meds. One of which, moonlights as a sleeping pill/anti-depression, which must be working because I feel generally ok about things right now.

Tomorrow should be an easy day. I will wake up, work from home in the morning and have a quick appointment at Dana-Farber in the afternoon for a shot of red blood cells. I will progressively feel better over the next two weeks now that my first week of treatment is over.

Mixed emotions

We went out last night to Harpoon’s summer festival.  I wasn’t going to go at first because I was so tired, but the thought of staying home made me feel upset.  The food was good- I didn’t drink because I feared that it would interfere with my treatment.  It was difficult for me to keep a positive attitude, but it was nice to see my friends.

Once we got home, I was upset about my treatment.  I wished that I could go through this without anyone witnessing the process.  I asked Jess if we could just not talk about it- ever.  When I’m outside of Dana-Farber, I want to pretend like this isn’t happening.  Going forward, I’m not going to invite anyone else to join me at the hospital.  Although I like to see friends and family, it makes me feel worse having people see me in here.
My mood improves dramatically when thinking about silly normal things, such as how Harpoon’s brewery in Boston is a dump in comparison to their restaurant in Vermont.  The place smells like my old college dorm room after a night of partying.
I also felt better after speaking with my nurse this morning.  She informed me that my physical response to the side effects has been quite good.  The mixed emotions I’m having are normal.

Day three

I woke up feeling gross today.  The meds I’m on keep you from being able to do your “business” if you know what I mean.  This kept from being able to eat or drink very much this morning due to stomach pain. Once I made my nurse aware of the situation, she hooked me up with some drugs that will fix the problem, as well as gave me list of food items to eat every to day that should help.  I will also need to start taking medication on a regular basis for this.

I’ve gained 11 pounds since Thursday.  I may be eating more than normal, but not by that much.  I notice it the most when walking Bruno. I have a shortness of breath that is reminiscent of when I was over 300 pounds a few years ago.  I’m not going to stop walking Bruno, regardless of how I feel from this crap.

I would decribe my emotional state as generally not wanting to be here (referring to Dana-Farber).  I am working on a presentation for my company today, but I’d rather be in my office than sitting here.

My treatment is short

The two patients seated adjacent to me make my 9-week chemo treatment seem like a joke.  The first has 6-weeks on, 2-weeks off, repeated for 6 months.  The second person is undergoing chemo indefinitely, as it treats, but will never cure his combination of colon and lung cancer.  I think it is important to keep this in perspective, as this will be just a “remember when” story for me after August.

I’m getting all three chemo drugs for the first time today: Bleomycin, Cisplatin and Eposin.  My arm is cold from the IV but other than that, I’m feeling good.  Zofran took care of my stomach funk.