Trampled By The Kool-aid Man

Ok, so I did pretty well with my first two rounds of Adriamycin/Cytoxan (AC) chemotherapy. I had visions before I started of hanging my head over the toilet bowl for days and looking pretty much like an Auschwitz survivor, emaciated from not eating with a patchy bald head. That didn’t happen. I felt a little nauseous the first couple days, and the worst complaints I had were fatigue that hit me for 2-3 days and acid stomach that made it hard to enjoy food for about a week. My hair did start shedding like mad after the second treatment, forcing me to start covering the top with scarves and hats, but I never reached up and pulled out a piece of scalp or anything. I have tried to keep up with exercising as best I can, even run/walking 3 miles on treatment days. You could even say that I’ve felt a little smug at times….this isn’t all that terrible.

Well, I had round 3 this past Thursday. If you haven’t read my post about “hangin’ with the red devil”, I describe this vision of a cancer-stricken, pathetic Kool-aid man busting through my chemo wall when they hang the Adriamycin, which is the color of a refreshing cherry beverage on a hot summer’s day. Let’s just say, that bitch busted through my wall this time and put me on my ass! He must be done with his chemo because he’s feeling much better.

I was freaked out the minute I sat down in the lobby this time. There was an extremely ill lung cancer patient who had to be escorted out of the lobby to lie down. She was bald, gasping for air and looking like she might puke any second. Then I got settled into what I thought would be a private room. No such luck. I got a roommate a few minutes into treatment. She was bald and a little pudgy, but she was the first person I’d seen remotely close to my age.   I found out that she was an ER nurse at the hospital where I work. She told me that her AC treatments were over and that she was getting round 5 of 12 weekly Taxol treatments. She also went on to explain in detail what horrible reactions she has had to Taxol. Now, this is not warming my heart at this point since Taxol is next up for me. Grreat, I’m thinking to myself. They told me Taxol is a “breeze” compared to AC.

Right on cue, the nurse goes into some sort of reaction with chest and throat tightness. They push more allergy meds and start her again. About 10 minutes later she starts moaning and writhing with excruciating back pain. They throw her meds away and the doctor is still in the room when I get up to leave. What an awesome experience!

After that auspicious start, my symptoms have been more pronounced this time. Acid tummy and nausea started pretty quick, and the nausea is lingering a little longer than usual. My blood pressure is tanking in the morning (89/56) and I feel my heartbeat pounding in my left ear. And other than that, I feel so lazy that a sloth would blush. The doctor said that the fatigue would last a little longer each time. I have to better by tomorrow. My brother is coming up with the fam from Florida, and he keeps me laughing so much it hurts. He just texted me to let me know that he’s bringing half a case of wine. I’m gonna need some more Tums…and a large bucket.

6 thoughts on “Trampled By The Kool-aid Man

  1. I don’t know enough of your situation to say whether you will find Taxol easy, but I had it for six weeks and what you described is an allergic reaction to it. I had it several times. Each time I was able to grab the chemo nurse and she stopped the Taxol and shot me full of Benadryl and the pain and tight breathing disappeared. After running me through that extra dose of Benadryl and some saline, the nurses ended up slowing down the rate of the Taxol’s administration, and I tolerated the drug without pain or trouble breathing. My guess is that the individual you saw did not realize what was happening and did not hit the call button ASAP. I saw someone else who did not get help ASAP and agree that it was scary. But I also sat with people who had no reaction. Again, I cannot predict what your experience will be, but it sounds like people taking AC find AC harder to take. I wish you an easy time of it as you go forward and admire your resilience that you are running through this challenge.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. It helps to hear from others who have shared this experience. Cancer can be very isolating and surreal at times. I don’t know your background, but please write anytime. I’m usually good for a smile on an otherwise crappy day:)

      • I’m following you now so will be back to your blog. You’ll find there are many really nice people on this blog site who are happy to commiserate or share a tip or console. Check out denise4health for the latest health news. She also writes about Taxol and AC, specifically for breast cancer. There are bloggers who talk about diet and exercise (my guess is that you already manage a highly efficient system for those and could teach the rest of us something about the subject). I like to read rectalcancermyass for tips on avoiding gmo foods. There are activists that lobby tirelessly for breast cancer research, many of them while under treatment for Stage IV cancer. You are early in this process to need to listen their messages (they talk about subjects that concern all of us, but can be kind of heavy as you start treatment), but, when you are ready to examine what society is telling others about the disease, then you will want to read what they have to say, because they are fierce and we need them to be heard, too. There are people who speak to the issues that come out when we lose our “reflected” touchstones–hair, eyelashes, eyebrows, and the rest of our attributes of beauty discernible in a mirror. They will remind you that beauty has nothing to do with hair. It is spirit and spirit can survive the worst that modern medicine prescribes. I love reading shittytittiebangbang. Lisa has posted some amazing chemo hairdos. Check her out. Some of us are determined not to let cancer make our lives one dimensional. I like to read lauralynnblog as she can tell a story that takes you far away from chemo chairs. Anyway, you’ll find a welcome everywhere in this community. We are helping each other as if we had been friends forever.

  2. Hello fellow pink pal.

    I’ve just finished my taxol – it was a breeze. Don’t listen to the haters 😊 ANYTHING in comparison to AC (especially #3 & #4) is a breezy. Although I found my 4th mildly better, mainly as I was prepared for it with all kinds of suppositories, sleeping pills etc.

    Taxol has no nausea, that is why it is so much easier. I had tingly hands but nothing more.

    All the best, have a look at my blog, being a couple weeks ahead of you it may help and if you want and tips and tricks let me know


  3. Pingback: Tango With Taxol, Part 1 | NOWHERE TO RUN

  4. Pingback: Lessons In Dying From Breast Cancer | NOWHERE TO RUN

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