Sunday, December 14, 2008

21 Days

I was thinking the other day that I only tend to post the "highlights" of my day, week...whatever. So I'm going to attempt to journal my daily side effects, energy level, appetite and all the wonderful delights that come along with breast cancer and chemo treatment. So for 21 days I'll update this post so I can remember just how much this SUCKS! You know- since I have total "chemo-brain" and can't remember who's supposed to be watching my kid while I go to chemo for 6 hours. But that's another story.

This will be a little a-typical, since my chemo treatments had been every 14 days, but since we're starting the Herceptin alongside the Taxol, my final chemo treatment was pushed back to 21 days.

Day 1- 12/15- Chemo #7 Day. First I received my mix of Emend and Decadron, plus Tylenol, Benadryl and Tagament. Herceptin for 1.5 hours and Taxol for 4 hours. I am drowsy and my legs feel a little fatigued...change that...they feel like sandbags and Mike has to help me walk from the basement door to the bathroom. It's better today, just a 1 day side effect. I ate WAYY too many cookies, munchkins and pretzels at chemo...could be the reason I've gained 7 pounds since starting treatment. I talked with my NP about my Tamoxifen treatment that will start 6 weeks after my last chemo and what to do about birth control. At this point it will either be a total hysterectomy if I'm positive for BRCA, or tubal ligation if I'm negative. Either way my ovaries are useless. My fingers and toes remain numb and I still have a little infection on my right big toe, but that's not chemo related. I woke up with a migraine today and it's lingering just a little bit. Other than that, just tired from a long day...

Day 2- 12/16 - Insomnia. Even taking Ativan before bed at 11pm I only slept until 4:45am. 6 hours. I was a hot sweaty mess all night. Hot flashes should not happen to 30 years olds! The hot flashes are pretty consistent, but are worse the 4 days from chemo because I take steroids those days. Otherwise I felt really good all day, I was able to make and prep a TON of aprons which is a good thing since they are literally flying off the shelves! The snow/sleet/rain did not deter me from getting to my Oncologist to receive my Neulasta injection, and Lilly enjoyed the cookies from the "buffet spread". I fell asleep on the sofa around 8pm and just woke up. Back to bed in a little bit...

Day 3- 12/17- Insomnia...not so bad. I was up at 5:50am, but I didn't go to bed until 1am. My face looks like I have sunburn...thanks steroids.
My eyebrows fell out quite a bit yesterday. Let's see what the rest of the day brings...well, today brought lots of Diaper Bag Wrangler Apron orders, and an awesome party at my friend Colleen's who runs I was going on adrenaline most the day, fell asleep around was a a GREAT day!

Day 4- 12/18 - Insomnia...getting better. I woke up at 5:55am. I'm getting that "ick/metal" taste in my mouth and upper chest area...not quite reflux, it's some random chemo side effect. I take Nexium for a few days and it's all better. Today's the last day for the steroids for this round, so I'll be less red, crazy, restless by Friday...but that's when I start to legs are already feeling heavy and my fingers and toes are getting a little more numb/tingly. That comes and goes as far as severity, but I'm mostly numb all the time. I finally made my appts. for the Radiation Oncology Consult (1/8) and my Genetic Testing (1/5 ...before my last chemo!).

Day 5- 12/19- Insomnia...moving in reverse...woke up at 5am...but I did go to bed a little on the early side last night. I have a big day ahead before I hit my 6pm-ish "crash zone/point of no return/sofa zombie stage". Caesar goes to the vet for his annual checkup...poor guy is old, so I'm kind of dreading it. Mike's office Holiday Party is this afternoon, so I'll took Lilly over to see Mike and Santa and get cookies and stuff.

My face is still red as a lobster, hot flashes abound, legs getting achy and tired, "ick/metal" mouth still there...and the most uncomfortable part of my chemo week kicks in...constipation, gas and diarrhea. I'll leave it at that. Screw you chemo....I guess it could be worse....and I'm just being honest.

Day 6- 12/20 - Last night I crashed. Mike had to wake me up and pry me off the sofa around 12:30am. This morning I actually felt ok, not super exhausted yet, but that will come soon. My stomach is all crampy and uncomfortable. Thank goodness for sweatpants! The wrath of chemo is upon me, took a quick nap on the sofa instead of the typical 2 hour power nap. Strange... I think it's been 4 or 5 trips to the bathroom so far, and it's ohhh- 4pm. I have a sore throat and my big toe is still sore from like 2 weeks ago. It's an exhausting day, physically, mentally, emotionally....but I'll only have to go through 1 more day like today. EVER!

Day 7- 12/21- I actually slept until 9AM! I couldn't believe it. Now- I was up at 4am in the bathroom, but I was able to fall back asleep. I'm feeling a little bit more like myself, except this toe issue is becoming problematic. I'm not sure what is going on, but I have an "infection" or something on the side by my toenail. My Dr. checked it out and it's not chemo related, but it HURTS like nothing else. I soaked it today and am just trying to ease off the foot so it can heal. We got some ice/rain/sleet overnight so it's going to be a long day inside....

Day 8- 12/22- Sleep is such a wonderful thing. Mike had to wake me up at 7am today and I actually had a hard time opening my eyes! This morning I still had some residual weekend stomach issues, but by 11am I felt like I could leave the house without having to rush to a bathroom. Lovely, isn't it? I feel pretty good, as long as I don't overdo anything, I'm good to go.

Day 9- 12/23- Pretty much a normal day so far. The Neulasta kicked in last night, so I have mild knee/joint pain and arm/leg fatigue. I did have a hard time opening the door at Lilly's preschool...thanks everyone for just starting at me while I struggled.... Anyway, it only lasts about a day and then subsides while my white blood cells start to do their thing! The toe seems to be improving, I can actually walk on it with no pain, so that's good! I did take Renee's advice and I ordered some lavender oil cuticle treatment, along with a lavender balm and a peppermint oil from Relive . Hope it gives some relief! I'll need all that stuff too with the Herceptin IV, one of the side effects is weak nails/infection/splitting etc. The goal is to NOT lose any nails during treatment. Ewww...grosses me out just thinking of it. Sometime around 4pm today I hit a wall...a sinus here's to another round of sinus infections!

Day 10- 12/24 - Man, I just can't seem to shake this cold/sinus stuff! It's been on and off since September!!! I had a bloody nose for over 2 weeks, it finally went away and now this sinus stuff is back! Auggh! Other than that, I feel pretty good. I whacked my knee on Lilly's dresser so that is black and blue, but no other issues. The peripheral neuropathy is increasing, but hopefully it will decrease by next week. Tingly fingers and toes is no fun. Mom-mom and G-Daddy are on their way and Mike is off until Tuesday. Hopefully I can rest up and kick this cold!

Day 11- 12/25- Merry Christmas! What a fun day, aside from the hacking coughs (me and Lilly) and endless snot and sinus pain (me)! I must have been a good girl because Santa Mike gave me a new computerized sewing machine!!! The sinus stuff has me feeling pretty tired. There's not a lot of medicines that I can take so I'm basically trying to ride it out. We had a relaxing day of eating (a lot) and playing The Price is Right on the Wii. I noticed something very odd today. I think my hair is growing! Funny because my eyebrows and eyelashes are still falling out. I noticed my head had a LOT of soft stubble and sure enough, it's got some baby fine white "peach fuzz". I never lost 100% of the hair on my head, there was always a few stubbly spots here and there. So I started checking other places, and I had the same peach fuzz on my armpits! Amazing...I'm still getting chemo, and the Taxol is supposed to cause complete hair loss, but there's new hair growth...hmmm...sounds like a mystery.

Day 12- 12/26 - I had every intention of sleeping in, but I was wide awake and on the verge of a mucus suffocation attack at 5:30am. So I took a hot steamy shower to clear my head out, and later went to Target to get more Tylenol for my head pressure. My hands are feeling a bit clumsy, and I was more tired from my cold than the chemo. No nap today, the day just flew by and I had to get ready for my cousin's wedding!!! Lilly was dropped off at Grandmom's for a "sleepover party" and the whole rest of us piled in the cars and drove to the church for the wedding ceremony and then to the William Penn Inn for the reception. Mike and I had our reception there 6 years ago! It's gorgeous, especially at the holidays. I got all "dressied" up- wig, boobs, drawn-on eyebrows, makeup, dress, heels- the whole she-bang!
I was pretty tired and felt like I was in a fog the whole night. We left around 11pm and I was just exhausted. No dancing or open bar for me this time!!!

Day 13- 12/27 - We had some grand scheme to take Lilly to the Adventure Aquarium today. I'm not sure who was more exhausted, me, Mike or Lilly. Needless to say, it was a mistake sometime in the future we'll try going again when temper tantrums are not in full flare-up. I fell asleep in the car (Lilly did too) and aside from the debacle, my toe is still infected...probably going to see the Dr. about it om Monday/Tuesday.

Day 14- 12/28 - I think the whole Holiday week and weekend got to me. I took a HUGE nap in the morning. I could hardly keep my eyes open, and a few hours later I woke up on the sofa! I still have a cough, cold, sinus stuff, infected toe. It just takes a lot longer to heal when your immune system is blasted with chemo drugs every 2 weeks! The hair is still growing, it's nice and soft- I feel like a newborn baby!!! Mike and I took advantage of mom-mom and g-daddy still being here and snuck out for dinner at Mama Velia's by ourselves. It was nice to get out, but my food wasn't so good. At least I had a delicious cannoli for dessert!

Day 15- 12/29 - Mom-mom and G-Daddy headed home to FL today. Mike had off work and although we planned to have a highly productive day, we all basically loafed around the house. My lavender oil came today so I tried it out on my sore toe...we'll see how it goes....

Day 16- 12/30 - Sleeeppppy... it's amazing how one day I am full of energy, the next I can hardly keep my eyes open. This morning, we had a back-to-back viewing of Finding Nemo. I fell asleep on the sofa during the 2nd viewing. I noticed that my eyebrows and eyelashes are starting to grow in. They are itchy as anything....we'll see if they stay or decide to jump ship again after chemo next week. I fell asleep again on the sofa after dinnertime. Sleep is sooo good, and we have the most comfy sucks you in and you can't resist the temptation of a quickie nap.

Day 17- 12/31 - So my hair is about 1/2" long and brown. It kinda looks like a man's 5 o'clock shadow. So even though it's super short, you can see that there's definitely something there! It's really soft too, unlike a buzz cut that's prickly. My friend Danielle that is also a survivor told me today that my hair coming in now is just a tease. We'll see... Oh- my toe is almost 100% better. That lavender oil is a miracle potion!!!

Day 18- 1/1 - I'm a little fatigued today. I actually stayed up last night to "ring in the new year", even though I think New Year's is a bogus holiday. Mike loves it - he jumps up and down, gets all excited. I usually sleep. Anyway, I was really tired and took a (really) long nap this morning. Once again, we loafed around...watched the Mummers Parade

and then USC/PSU Rose Bowl Game. My cold is finally improving, I pretty much just have a sore throat right now. I did have an upset stomach today, so that might have led to some of my fatigue. The hair is still growing. I'm not going to be heartbroken if it stops or falls out after chemo on Monday. It's just so bizarre! My skin is breaking out like nobody's business. Hopefully after I'm off the steroids next week I'll start getting "back to normal". I've gained 12 lbs. since starting treatment, so I have some work to do after chemo ends! Finally- after having Lilly, I felt so good about my body last summer...there's no way I'm giving up my "skinny clothes" now!

Day 19- 1/2 - I had a lot of running around to do today. Blood work, post office, Target. It wiped me out, and I was hoping for a good nap out of Lilly so I could rest too. Instead she busted her mouth open and was gushing blood while protesting taking her nap and jumping in her crib. So, no nap today. No emergency room either. That kid is a trooper, she stopped crying as soon as I got her and even though her towel was covered in blood she didn't seem to care and just wanted to go downstairs to watch her new Dora DVD. I took my "prime-time" nap (usually from 7:30-9pm) and then went to bed around 11:30pm.

Day 20- 1/3 - I was feeling pretty good today, and since I got a little extra rest last night, I decided to go with Mike and Lilly to her little kickers soccer. Usually it's just "daddy and Lilly time" but we had high hopes for a "special surprise" after soccer, so I tagged along. After soccer, we drove to Oaks, to check out the new Expo Center and the Train Show that was being held this weekend. Well....the traffic on the highway was at a standstill about 2 miles out from the exit. It literally took us 1 HOUR to drive 3 miles. We thought there was an accident (this stretch or road is prone for accidents since there's 2 notorious police traps). Nope- it was ALL traffic for the Expo center. Not only on the highway in our direction, but the other way, and all the connecting roads. It was unbelievable- cars from PA, NJ, DE, MD. Anyway, once we got there, and discovered there were no parking spaces, and a line out the door to get in, we decided to bail and just come home. Since we never told Lilly what the "special surprise" was, we got Philly Pretzels on the way home and she was just as happy.

Day 21- 1/4 - I am kind of feeling like today is my "last day of freedom" before chemo. Although I have minimal side effects, I'm getting more and more tired. I want to accomplish a lot today! We went to a New years' Brunch at my friend Danielle's house which was awesome, good food, good friends...I actually tried grits (just a taste) and some egg souffle (a taste too). I'm not an adventurous food person by any means, but I'm usually willing to try new things. I might vomit in my mouth, but at least it's effort!!! After brunch I went on an (unsuccessful) mission for pants. This weigh gain is driving me nuts. I refuse to buy pants with a number, only S/M/L when I'm well, basically not wearing my normal size 4 or 6. I couldn't find all! We had pizza leftovers for diner and relaxed a little bit.

1 comment:

graymama said...

You could try some lavender essential oil on that toe. It kills fungus and bacteria. My boy calls it ouchie medicine :-D