Chemo No. 2: December update

Why is it always Friday?

Through my summer of 2015 chemotherapy, Fridays always seemed to be the worst. Most of the three months of four-chemo cocktail, six treatments,  were Tuesday or Wednesday and then two days later – BAM! That’s when the yuck really hit me.

I had my second cancer-reoccurence treatment this week – Tues. & Wed. – and so far this Friday morning feels the worst. More toxicity, more fuzzy head, more fuzzy vision than previously. Now for perspective, it’s not as bad as last year. In 2015 I was getting four chemo drugs and a monoclonal. My reoccurence treatment is two days back to back of the same cancer drug each day and on the second day I get the monoclonal – Rituxan.

So the word for the day is Yuck.

But let’s go back to my first treatment briefly for something interesting. My worst day was, indeed, Friday but it was pretty severe back pain that kept me up most of the night. I had moved some 50 lb boxes around that day and sure that aggravated my back pain. You can scroll down and read the post. I blamed the Neulasta immunity booster I had gotten on that Thursday. One of the side effects of Neulasta is aching bones so  I blamed it on that.

But this week my oncologist shed new light on that incident. Indeed, it was the Neulasta but totally different than I had theorized. All during chemo of any kind a doctor monitors your blood counts carefully. I had blood work done four days after that first treatment to see how I tolerated it and how quickly my blood counts came back up to normal.

It turns out I have healthy immunity. My white cell count didn’t just come back to normal but was double normal! That’s not necessarily a good thing. As Doc explained it, my bone marrow went crazy stimulated by Neulasta to make white blood cells. My bones couldn’t pump it out fast enough and that puts pressure on the bones holding all that excess production – therefore, the bone pain in my back. Wow!

So, no Neulasta this time. It’s mid morning and I feel yucky but hopefully not all day. I intend on getting out tomorrow and returning to normal work schedule Monday.

Hair today, Hair Tomorrow


Summer, 2015

I guess the most common thought most people have when hearing you’re undergoing chemo is you’ll go bald. Well, I certainly did last year with the much heavier drug regimen. But I’m getting just one chemo drug this time that attacks all cells but not with the same vigor. The lovely vision at right should stay a distant memory.

It’s the thought, not the errand or casserole

Just like last year friends close and not as close want to know what they can do. There are days I like eating and days I don’t much. Knock on wood but I never got the terrible sickness many get during chemo. I certainly had days last year where I didn’t want to see food or people and felt awful but not what I’ve heard from others. Oddly, I’ve been hungry last two days but not so much so far today.

So what can friends do? What can advice can I give anyone entering this journey? Check in! Send a text. Visit. Make a phone call. That’s the best medicine for anyone having to spend time at home.

I haven’t been out of the house since Wednesday afternoon and that’s tough for me. I need to lie low today since I didn’t get the immunity booster. But I sense a shower and a quickc errand around town or two will test how I really feel and make me feel a bit better regardless.

Cancer sucks. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Take charge – take charge of your care, ask questions, make yourself do things when you don’t feel like it.

And if I’ve learned anything – eat well. Do the nutritional things you know you should – citrus, leafy green foods, avoid fat and by all means avoid sugar – the fuel that feeds cancer.

So there is my random stream of thoughts for Chemo No. 2, Day 4.


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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