Chemo #3 went well . . . but there was quite a bit of aftermath.
First of all, I seemed to get a bit of an infection that required antibiotics. This was on Wednesday, chemo day. I absolutely had a brain freeze and just didn’t think to tell my oncologist (yes, I know — stupid of me) until Thursday evening. (Thanks to my mother for politely pointing out that I needed to make that call immediately.) So I spoke with the on-call oncologist and he insisted I come in for a consult the next day.
So I did.They explained to me in simple terms that any infection may have serious repercussions. That I was not smart to not have told them, and don’t do it again. Moreover, they really don’t want me getting seriously ill because it may delay the next (LAST!) chemo treatment . . . the worst case scenario is that I would have to start all over again. The result of which is that I was given a choice between having a Neulasta shot or coming in every day over the weekend for a GbGH shot. So, despite my reservations, I had the Neulesta.
Now, each chemo cycle has had a shape, although each has been remarkably different. Day 1 sees me with a slight lowering of energy, but I can walk Sasha in the morning and evening. Day 2 sees a significant lowering of energy, but I have been able to walk Sasha in the morning, although it’s not at all something I want to do in the evening. Day 3 has been the worst — absolutely low energy, hard to concentrate on anything, loud noises (even the TV) are painful. . . it’s a bad day all around. This is the day that makes people worry — the usual Lisa is greatly diminished, my energy at an extreme low.
Day 4 sees a return of some energy, but also the onset of the bone pain from the Taxotere and the immediate start of dilaudid. So its a tad paradoxical: I *feel* better and have more energy but am ‘out of it’ because of the dilaudid. Day 5 and maybe 6 see increasing energy and are only bounded by the dilaudid. (Day 5 is when people say ‘you look more like yourself, you clearly feel better.’)
This time around, the Neulasta made a huge difference, aided by the infection and concomitant antibiotics, I’m sure. I was more tired, earlier, and the pain started on Day 3. Neulasta pain, btw, is described as ‘bone pain’ but it isn’t. It’s pain in the large muscles and the small of the back (perhaps shoulders), as if you were running stairs or lifting weights and overdid it. It’s not the crippling pain of Taxotere, which truly is bone pain (like you feel when you get a very bad fever).
I know, you weren’t expecting all of this talk about pain.
The final effect, which as easily could be what they mean when they say ‘the effects are cumulative’ is that I continue to be pretty tired. I’m having a hard time sleeping, likely because I’m not getting enough exercise (i.e., none), but I’m too low energy to feel like doing anything . . . other than walking Sasha 2x/day. So I still get about 30 mins of walking every day.
So I’m thinking of getting a guest pass at John’s gym and going to their yoga classes. I don’t care if I can’t do 1/2 the poses, or can’t do them well. I also don’t care if I can only participate for a week before my next chemo session. It’s a way to get myself motivated, and it’ll be a little stretch (hah! a pun!) for me, but not too much.
So, I am recovering, albeit slowly. I’m taking care of myself. And I am VERY glad I only have one more session to go.