Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fourth and Final AC Chemo is Done and on the Books!

We've reached an important milestone in my treatment for breast cancer. My fourth and final AC chemo is all done and on the books! This may not seem like a big deal since I have 12 more weeks of chemo ahead of me, but I am officially done with the Red Devil.

That bitch had her way with me, and I survived!

Yesterday went relatively well - as well as a day can go spent getting poison pumped into your vein. My sister, Jennifer, went with me, which was nice. We rarely get to spend time together without a house full of kids, so it was nice to just sit and chat. Jennifer had the brilliant idea to go up to the Gift Shop and buy a deck of cards, so we spent the afternoon playing Tonk and Rummy and calling each other rude names (for the official record, she's a dirty bastard and I'm a cheating whore). It was fun and made the whole time we spent in the infusion center fly by.

It also helped that there were a few cancellations in the infusion center yesterday, so things moved along quite quickly. As a matter of fact, from my blood draw to my final bag of fluids, the whole shebang only took 4 and a half hours. I think that is a new record!

I met with my oncologist again yesterday. All in all, my bloodwork looked good. My white blood count was a little high, but they are only concerned if that is low. I was, however, a little anemic. My hemoglobin was 11 grams per deciliter (11g/dL) when it should have been 12-16g/dL. My heart rate was also at 135, which can be a symptom of anemia. Anemia can cause a rapid heart rate, as well as extreme tiredness and fatigue. It may just explain why I needed a 2-hour nap this past Saturday afternoon, long after the normal chemo fatigue had lifted. At this point, my doctor is going to just monitor the anemia. Typically, they do not get really concerned until the hemoglobin gets closer to 9g/dL. If mine does continue to drop, we will talk about doing a blood transfusion at that point.

We also discussed my upcoming switch to Taxol. I am saying goodbye to the Red Devil and moving on to a new chemo drug, Taxol. Beginning on June 1st (my chemo day is switching to Wednesday due to the Memorial Day holiday mucking things up), I will receive Taxol once a week for 12 weeks. Per my doctor, Taxol is better tolerated by most (but not all) people. It does not cause nausea. (Yay!) It seems to cause a lot less fatigue! (Yay!) It can, however, cause more neuropathy in the hands and feet. (Boo!) And it can cause bone pain that begins a few days after chemo and lasts for a few days. (Boo!). The bone pain can be anywhere from mild to quite debilitating. I am hoping, obviously, that I will end up with the mild version. I will not have to go in the day after chemo anymore for my $21,000 Neulasta shot (seriously, I got an EOB in the mail and that shot alone is $21,000...and I got it 4 times), so that'll be nice. (Yay!) Taxol does have about a 10-15% allergic rate, meaning that 10-15% of the population has an allergic reaction to the drug, so they will be giving me Benedryl prior to chemo rather than the usual pre-chemo nausea meds. There is a very real chance, pumped full of Benedryl, that I may just snooze through the Taxol infusions. All in all, it sounds like something that I will better tolerate than the AC chemo I've been receiving, so I am pumped to get started.

One sad thing I discovered, however, is that favorite beloved oncology nurse, Mary, does not work on Wednesdays. She had given me every one of my chemo treatments so far. I really enjoy chatting with her, so I am going to miss her for the next 12 weeks. When going through intense treatment like this, it is easy to form attachments to people. So I am kind of in mourning a little bit this morning because I am going to miss Mary. I am sure all the other oncology nurses are just as sweet, but I have really become attached to my Mary. (Boo!)

Oh, I do have good news, however! I managed to make it all the way through chemo yesterday without peeing in my pants...

...in the hospital.

When I got home, I peed my pants not once...not twice...but THREE times between 6pm and 8pm. Another record broken! The combination of all of the fluids I receive at chemo and the fact that the AC drugs seriously irritate my bladder is a nothing short of a recipe for disaster on chemo day! I managed to pee all over my favorite jeans AND my favorite pair of pajamas. Grrrrrr. When the urge to pee hits, if I am not standing directly over a toilet at that exact moment, I am screwed. There is no way I can make it the 15 feet from my living room to my bathroom, manage to get my pants unzipped and pulled down, and aim for the general vicinity of the toilet before it is running down my legs in a river of day-glo orange. I hate peeing in my pants. I don't know how I managed to survive doing it every day for the first three years of my life. It is disgusting, people. Dis. Gust. Ing. 

So today I sit waiting for my latest chemo to knock me unconscious as I am sure it will, mourning the loss of my beloved Mary, popping anti-nausea pills like they are candy, looking forward to inevitably peeing on myself today, and preparing to drive to downtown St. Paul for my last Neulasta shot.

It's gonna be a good day!

1 comments:

Madge Woods said...

So happy your are finished with the red devil. Hopefully much easier from now on. Love you girlfriend. https://www.gofundme.com/3nvubn52

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