I wanted so badly to be able to title this post “Number 9, feeling fine!” News flash, Crystal! It’s chemo, of course I’m not going to be feeling fine lol.
One of my doctors told me that my first treatment would likely be one of the worst because the chemo was wiping out all of the toxins in my lymph nodes and flooding my bloodstream with them. I actually felt my lymph nodes shrinking after only that first treatment so I knew they were right to some degree. With all of those toxins in my body- I did feel pretty miserable for about a full week. With that said, during my first treatment I wasn’t dealing with anticipatory nausea, anxiety, fatigue, neuropathy, bone pain, or any of the other symptoms on my ever growing list. So although it was one of the hardest, it absolutely wasn’t the worst. I’ve found that the treatments have had a cumulative effect and each one is just a little harder than the last.
After number 9, my body had a really tough time recovering. It’s been almost two weeks since that last treatment and I still don’t feel great. My doctor made me go back in a few days after chemo to get a Neupogen injection because I was neutropenic. For anyone who’s lucky enough to not know what that means, my white blood cell count was very low and the injection helps my body produce more white blood cells. The lower the count, the harder it is for my body to fight off infections. When I went in for my injection, my nurse and I were talking a bit. I told her my WBC count was a .2. She corrected me and said I must’ve meant 1.2 instead. I really though my doctor had said .2 so she looked it up in the computer. She could not believe I was right and it really was that low! She said she had never seen anyone get treated with a count that low in the 26 years that she had been there. She checked in with some of her coworkers and came back to tell me that getting chemo with a count that low is a relatively new procedure. Apparently, studies have shown that the chemo is still just as effective so they treat their patients no matter what their WBC count is. All I was thinking is, “no wonder I feel so awful!”
Number 9 also caused the neuropathy in my legs to get worse. Again, for anyone who’s lucky enough to never have heard that word before, in very simple language it’s a tingling, weakness or numbness caused by nerve damage due to chemo. It keeps me up at night and I’m constantly tossing and turning. I’ve found that it takes a lot of effort just to stand up and the first 10-15 steps I take are usually uncomfortable. I have found that when I force myself to go on a walk, it does help, but the distance I’m able to walk is so much less that what I used to be able to do. Right now, I’m just doing as much as my body lets me. My doctor is also doing what he can to lessen my symptoms and I’ll be seeing a neurologist in the near future.
I talked to my doctor about these symptoms along with some new ones that I’m experiencing and we decided to push treatment number 10 back a week. It’ll hopefully give my body the break I feel I need and I’m also looking forward to the mental break from all of this. I do want to emphasize that I hated having to do this. First of all, it pushes my end date back a week. I want this to all be over with so badly and this means more waiting. Also, I was so excited to be able to go trick-or-treating with my niece on Halloween. Sadly, pushing this treatment back a week means that I’ll be getting chemo the day before Halloween and that guarantees that I won’t be feeling well enough to get out of bed, never mind go out with my niece the next day. I’m reminding myself that I have to follow the same advice that I’ve been giving since this whole thing started:”Listen to your body!” Right now my body is screaming that I desperately need this break so that’s what I have to do.
Now for the good news! I only have three left. I’ll be DONE by December. I’ll be back to work in January. The countdown is continuing and everyday I’m just a little closer to getting back to my life. Until then, I’m going to make the most of my bonus chemo free week! I hope you all do the same. You should never waste a good day- take it from me and don’t let it be a cancer diagnosis that forces you to realize that! As always, thank you all for the continued support 🙂