A Few Minutes in the Microwave, Please!

I wrote Monday about the Chemo roller coaster of the unexpected and late this week I’ve been flying down one of Chemo’s biggest drops.

Okay, bad analogy but I started it Monday and it kind of works.

I felt pretty good Tuesday and made a half hour drive to have oil changed in my car. Got home and was pretty tired but that’s not really what post is all about. The downward spiral started Wednesday. My dearest friend Kathy has spent a couple of days with me after each Chemo treatment but left Friday (June 19) for a long-planned, and wonderful two-week vacation in Europe and Africa.

So I drove to Indy (about 60 minutes for those not from the area) to meet Kathy for lunch, made just a couple of brief stops, rode around a bit and headed home. I had felt good all morning, not great, but plenty normal. But on ride home I became extremely weary – not sleepy I might add – but very weary.

I got home and what started was three straight afternoons of extreme fatigue. It normally hits me early to mid afternoon and lasts well into early to mid evening. Like all this crazy stuff, it’s hard to explain.

burned-popcornBasicallly, I’m exhausted and plunk down in my Lazyboy. But I sleep a lot of the time in the chair … 10 minutes, 20 minutes, but seldom more than 30 minutes at a time. When I awake I realize I’ve had some odd dreams (more on that below) but I feel warm. I’ve not had any night sweats, as the doctors frequently ask cancer patients – just wake feeling warm. The best description, though a bit silly – I feel like I’ve been microwaved – warm from the inside to out.

Sitting writing this morning I don’t feel all that great but have done the morning walk to the Farmers Market and about to run a very brief errand to grocery and hardware store.

My second oddity of week two of the third Chemo treatment is dreams. I awoke this morning about 5:30 a.m. realizing I had been dreaming. My Chemo Dreams aren’t nightmares – I’d just call them stressful. I also don’t remember dreams longer than a few seconds after waking up.

The consistent thing about these dreams seem to be stress. I do remember this morning’s dream a bit. I awoke from a dream where I had been with a good friend and now couldn’t find them and was looking frantically. It’s that sort of thing.

I thought OK the crazies are setting in from the Chemo. So, I went to Google, still lying in bed, and sure enough strange, wierd, and frightening dreams seem to be very common among Chemo patients. No one told me about this.

Well, let’s see how the weekend goes.

Two-Week Rotation – There is one word more stressful than ‘cancer’ when this begins for anyone, I think. That word is – chemotherapy. I wasn’t too worked up for the first one April 30 and got through it okay. The second one was a bit tougher but still not too bad. But the third one June 8 has been difficult. I have had half days of feeling pretty good but it seems like I pay for those days with complete exhaustion in afternoon and evening.

Now we’re going to change my treatments from every three weeks to every two weeks starting Monday. The doctor made it totally  my call. My white blood cell counts have been high before each treatment — probably thanks to the expensive immunity booster Neulasta. My blood work has always been good. I had an Echo Cardiogram Thursday to test the pumping strength of my heart halfway through Chemo and the technician said it looked great.

So Monday we try this two week rotation. If I didn’t admit to apprehension I’d be lying. I haven’t felt good the last three days at all and now I’m headed in for a fresh nuking on a short turn around. If it doesn’t go well, I can go back to three weeks.

My twisted logic is I’d rather be sick for six weeks instead of nine if I can tolerate these powerful drugs every two weeks instead of every three. I’m in no hurry for anything other than getting this over with as soon as possible.

One more side bar: I’m nearly bald. The stubble continues to slowly disappear but we’re getting there. I noticed this week I had lost the hair on my legs – wasn’t much there to start with – so no big deal.

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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1 Response to A Few Minutes in the Microwave, Please!

  1. Kathy day says:

    Good luck on Monday. I’m with you in spirit!


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