Wednesday, April 12, 2006

T-Minus 34 hours til chemo

It's amazing. The last week I've felt better than I have since I was diagnosed almost 2 months ago. My body doesn't ache with every move, the stitches have mostly healed, I can wear my jeans again...things were looking up. (however, I will let you all know there is still a bit of blue where I had the dye injected for my surgery) I should have known this was the perfect time to start chemo! I will have my first chemo treatment on Thursday. I'm hoping I get the Penthouse suite overlooking the lake. I've gotten some questions about my treatment, so here's the rundown. I will have 8 treatments, 2 weeks apart (each treatment is a cycle) . So 16 weeks of chemo- 4 months. This will be followed by another month of radiation.

My first 4 treatments will be A/C. The drugs they use for chemo are long and hard to remember so they (by they I mean all things and people medical) use initials. The A is Adriamycin. (see why they use initials?) A will of course kill the cancer cells, but I can look forward to the following side effects:

Nausea (hopefully they'll pump me full of enough drugs to cover this one)
Low blood counts (I get a $4000 shot the next day to cover this- no, that wasn't a typo- 4k)
Mouth sores
Hair loss (it's called alopecia. I've had hair on the brain lately. More on that subject later)
Fertility problems (in some women- hence the ovarian pac-man. It can also mean menopausal symptoms- like hot flashes. Great- a hot flash in Atlanta in the summer. Sounds fun.)

The C is for cytoxan- cuz anything with "tox" has to be good, right? With this drug, I get all of the above plus:

Poor appetite
discoloration of the skin or nails.

In order to combat these side effects, I will get a bunch of other drugs, some of which will cause side effects of their own- like the steroids they'll pump me full of. 'Roid rage anyone? Weight gain? And some of the drugs do some horrible, not to be talked about in mixed company (or any company, for that matter) things to your digestive/intestinal systems. Sweet. Why yes, that sounds wonderful. Sign me up.

The last 4 cycles are taxol. Apparently the nausea isn't as bad, but I will see such goodies as:

Bone pain
Numbness in the hands and feet

Things I will need to do while on chemo:

Drink lots of water. The more I drink, the faster I flush all the poison out of my body. Plus water's good for the pooper :)

Get lots of rest. This part I will enjoy. I'm sorry honey, you want me to carry something? I'm exhausted. How about I carry a pillow to my bed?

Wash hands often and be wary of infection.

Avoid contact sports. Sure, cuz tackle football's high on my list.

Avoid sun exposure. Apparently I could fry just thinking about the sun. Bald, fat and pasty. I'm every man's dream. I'm using it as an excuse for the Burberry hat and the expensive sunglasses.

Alcoholic beverages should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether. Thanks, take the one good thing away.

As you can tell, it's gonna be good times. You know, with all the other stuff, I could try to forget that I had cancer. Chemo sort of kills that plan. Oh well, the sooner I start, the sooner I'm done.

So bring it.


Anonymous said...

Courtney, I have a pal from work who went through what sounds like a similar ordeal. I sent her the link to your blog in case she has any words of wisdom or tips. Wishing you nothing but the best of luck and as easy of a treatment as you can get. If you ever want to talk to my pal..feel free to email me and i'll get you ladies in

Jen Liss

Anonymous said...

You know that for as long as you are in Chicagoland I am a heartbeat away I can do anything from picking something up and running it over to whatever else...perhaps I can try to bake blueberry bread...Love you!

Anonymous said...

ah, the sooner you begin, the sooner you'll finish - you'll be through this phase in no time and you'll have a new house and town to explore to make the time go by faster. We love you.