Chemo’s Strange, Odd, Educational Factors

It seems something interesting or odd happens frequently during the Chemo/Cancer journey. There certainly has been some odd things up, down and unexpected since my first Chemo treatment for Lymphoma, now more than a month ago.


Pretty huh? My left arm.

For example, about two weeks ago I noticed what appeared to be a rash on my left arm. Over a couple of days it became more pronounced and then I noticed nothing on my right arm. Now that’s weird!

My first instinct was that my immunity booster shot was administered to my left arm after my second treatment. Maybe that was it? Nope.

So I stopped by my treatment center about a week and a half ago and asked my Chemo nurse. She wasn’t certain and advised I stop by and see the oncologist Monday (June 1).

So Doc Butler was in high spirits Monday, took one look, and assured me it was no big deal. My paraphrasing of his words would be that Chemo seeks out cancer cells – old ones, new ones, potential cancer cells, and more. The red spots on my left arm – which never itched or anything like that – were simply potential skin cell cancers discovered by the chemo.

“So okay Doc, why just my left arm?”

He smiled, “you have your left arm out the window driving once in awhile don’t you?”

Well, yes. And that was the simple answer.

— I continue to learn about fatigue and a lack of energy. And by the way for you non-Chemo folks – it is two different things.

I sort of intentionally over-did it Saturday with a half day visit to Indianapolis. It was basically just a shopping trip in and out of the car but a good day of activity. I was feeling great. Of course, I got home and the air came out of the balloon. I was shot Saturday evening and most of Sunday. You feel lethargic and like a big lump of left over toxic waste on such days.

It did look better after 5 hours of care!

It did look better after 5 hours of care!

Then – never learning any lesson the easy way – I went a little longer on Tuesday. I own a rental home about 60 mi. from where I live. The yard needed some landscape work. I recruited a college-aged guy to do the work. I basically watched, spread a very small amount of mulch and used a broom just a bit.

But, I was away from the house about 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. I was absolutely wiped out Tuesday night. Wednesday was something of a new sensation – though one hard to explain. I simply had no energy on Wednesday and did very little. It wasn’t the same as fatigue though. So, as noted, it’s hard to explain.

When I have, what I’m calling, fatigue- I don’t want to get out of the chair. When its a ‘lack of energy’ I get up to do things and think I feel up to it only to learn I haven’t the energy for even simple tasks.

Does that make any sense at all? I’m sure I’ll get better words as I go along.

ChemoPort_zps288d0853Medical News. The initial incision made near my neck for my Power Port, where the Chemo is administered, has been slightly inflamed on and off since it was implanted near my collar bone. I finally went back to the surgeon who noted I did have a slight infection. He also noted the stitch had not yet dissolved. So now I’m taking a sulfur-based antibiotic for the slight infection — but it does look and feel better.

More Medical News. So the upcoming week is a big one. I have my third Chemo Monday just 17 days since my second treatment. I will also have my periodic visit with my oncologist Monday. At some point after this treatment several tests will be repeated. One of those tests is the PET scan which shows areas of cancer in my body. Hopefully, that scan shows remission has begun. So a couple of big weeks ahead.

If all goes well this week, Doc has offered me the opportunity to accelerate my treatments from every three to every two weeks for the final three Chemo visits. I’m all in. I run the risk of more profound toxicity and yuckiness, but if I can shorten this process I’m certainly willing to try it.

About Howard

After most of my career in the newspaper business I joined higher education, working in Public Affairs. I write mostly about value wine. I have now taken early retirement and work part-time in a small boutique, retail wine shop in Indianapolis
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