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.