Today was chemo #5. They are going quickly with this schedule so I guess that is a positive. We are over 1/4 of the way in. Things are going to get harder from what I understand, but we are just taking it one day at a time. After talking to the nurses, none of us are sure if this past week was just chemo or if I caught a bug which made it worse. I guess time will tell. So here we go with our run down of side effects for the past week:
CBC – my blood work looked great this week. My white blood cells were back up to where they were when we started treatment so my bone marrow has obviously been working hard. They were down a lot the third week but have been coming back the past two. Red blood cells were down a bit, not a lot, but just under “normal” levels. They are allowed to go quite low so they are still good for a chemo patient. My platelet counts have been great the past two weeks – better than when I started treatment. Neutrophils (helps fight infection) are also great. These got pretty low that third week as well but have been making a comeback. Nurse J who runs the studies also talked to me a little about how I have been feeling the past week. Apparently she has had some people on the study who did great for the first month or so (like I have been) and then their numbers just plummeted. A couple had to be hospitalized. So she wanted to make sure I understand that if I have a bad week, if I’m really feeling yucky, super tired, etc. I should not hesitate to call her or my oncologist and they will get me in to be checked right away. I hope that is not needed, but it is noted.
Skin – I’m still slathering my skin in yummy lotions and salves. I have a few eczema spots that won’t go away so I’m really trying to pay attention to them. I guess they may not actually be eczema since Nurse J said that they are common with Taxol, but that is what they look like to me and I’ve had eczema forever so that’s what I’m calling them.
The port – I am happy to report that it is way better. I’m able to sleep pretty comfortably now and can lay on either side. Evelyn has found it since I hold her so much and touches/grabs it a lot. I’m sure it’s weird to find something under someone’s skin so I can only imagine what she thinks. At least it doesn’t hurt anymore.
The stitch – This little sucker is such a pain. It’s still totally there, and still feels like a little sliver of glass. Sometimes my shirt rubs it or Evelyn grabs the port and it kills. Most of the time it’s okay. Still hoping it will dissolve.
Shoulder pain – Still hurts, not as bad as it was though. I need another massage I think.
Mouth Sores – Happy to say nothing to report.
Poop – Aside from losing the lining to my intestine (which is still happening), also happy to say there is nothing to report here.
Hair – My hair is still coming out but is remarkably still mostly there. I don’t have to cover it yet, but I have started wearing head scarves at times just because it’s so easy and my hair likes to stand straight up in weird places. The short hair is growing on me for sure. I never would have cut it short like this without knowing I was going to lose it, but it is growing on me a lot. I’m still pulling bits out, but am not doing it every night to kind of salvage what I can. It itches way down in the hair follicles so it’s hard to leave it alone.
Nails – Still using the nail salve to try and strengthen them. They are flaking off from the tips so I’m hoping that the remaining nail will be strengthened and grow out and be okay. Fingers crossed. I know that this is very normal for chemo so I’m not sure that I’ll be able to stop it. Apparently they get really sore as well which hasn’t happened to me yet. One of my nails did get a blood spot under it yesterday as well – it looks cracked around that area. I don’t remember doing anything that would have hurt it so I’m not sure if this just popped up or was a result of something. It doesn’t hurt.
Nose – My nose is totally misbehaving. It’s not freely bleeding, but if I blow it there is always blood in the mucus and then it irritates it enough to start bleeding. The bleeding is enough that I have to stick tissues up there to stop it or I get big scabs in my nose which isn’t good either. The nurses recommended I get a product called Ayr which I stopped and got on the way home. It’s kind of a gel saline so it stays in your nose. The one she thought would work best for me is a spray but they make 4 different products so we’ll see if I need to try a different one. I’ve had a cool mist humidifier in the bedroom for over a week. I thought it helped for a couple days but I don’t know if it’s doing anything at this point.
I think that’s everything. I am just hoping week 5 will be easier than 4. Cross your fingers for me.