So I’ve survived my first round of chemo without to many side effects. Yesterday was the meeting with my dr before the next round on Wens. She prescribed some more anti-nausea meds which hopefully will cut out more nausea and a precautionary antibiotic. You could tell she didn’t want to add the antibiotic but my cyst flared up during the first round so she’s hoping that taking them before a flare up might prevent it from happening – but she didn’t seem too confidant, which means I might have another visit with the surgeon in the future to see what can be done. And I’ve started to lose my hair. It’s a weird feeling you can feel the roots dying, not really painful but very odd – it does mean my hair looks and feels kinda gross.
The kids have been in full time daycare for almost 2 weeks and seem to be enjoying themselves. M was having fun with the snow – he loves his little shovel, I watched him shovel our front lawn for a half hour and then start crying when it was time to come in for dinner.
I’ve started working, I’m not used to getting up and actually having to be somewhere by a certain time. The kids also don’t like getting up so early, M keeps wondering where the sun has gone.
Tomorrow is my second round of chemo, and the first when working so it should be interesting.
So I’m going to share some of my side effects from the chemo.
- Nausea: this is the big one for me, no vomiting but it’s been close. I’m on two prescriptions for the day and the 2 days following treatment, and can take gravol as needed.
- Heartburn: the only other time I’ve had heartburn was when I was pregnant – I’ve been sleeping on the couch because I can be upright.
- Constipation: I finally pooped today – I hadn’t pooped since chemo on Wednesday. I guess next round I will start the laxatives early.
- Nosebleeds: just small ones that end very quickly, but still annoying.
- Tired: I have actually had a nap most days, but fortunately I seem to be sleeping through the night.
- PICC line: is itchy, although often I forget it’s there. But it makes life hard as it can’t get wet.
- Dry skin: the skin on my hands is usually dry but chemo has kicked it up a notch.
My mom took the kids for the weekend, it’s been great as I’ve been able to lay on the couch and not have someone asking for something.
I also have to write a letter to my new employer about my need for time off for appointments as soon as I start. I’m so happy to have a job, particularly one that should be interesting, but so nervous about what will happen between that and my treatment.
It’s been a busy week and it feels like it’s been a long time since I posted, but I have now completed my first chemotherapy session.
Thursday of last week I was told that my chemo would start on Wednesday Nov 8th. Cue the panic: we quickly contacted our families and managed to arrange a birthday party for Evelyn (K’s mom is having her knee replaced on Friday and I wasn’t sure how I’d be feeling on the weekend), had to arrange a haircut, I attended a breast cancer support workshop, I went to the dentist, I got a PICC line and BOTH kids started full time daycare – and I’m sure I’m missing some stuff.
Fortunately the kids being in daycare means I can hopefully actually get some stuff done and recover after chemo. They both seem to be enjoying it, I was worried about M, he was crying when I dropped him off for his part-time care. But he seems much happier going with E, so far he has asked every morning if E is going as well.
The first four treatments are two drugs: doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. Both come with a list of side effects that most will be familiar with: hair loss, nausea/vomiting, mouth sores, risk of bleeding, risk of infection. I now carry three cards in my wallet due to treatment – but they will get me through the ER much faster. So far I’ve experienced the nausea (no vomiting so far – keeping my fingers crossed), a nose bleed and hiccups, which weirdly can be a side effect. I feel tired today but did sleep well – thank you gravol.
I will finish with some good news – I have a job! I’m very happy about this, but not sure how to tell them I’m in treatment. All the information I can find is for people who are already employed. I start on Nov 20th, so wish me luck.
Sorry I can’t resist a photo of our evil but happy baby 🙂 oh and guess who’s finally able to pick up her babies! I spoke with my plastic surgeon’s secretary yesterday – no fills while on chemo – but she said I could lift as long as it’s comfortable. So the E is ok but for our beast of a 3 year old (he’s over 40 pounds) I might still need some help.
So after the pathology report nothing really happened until yesterday when we met with the medical oncologist, who I really liked – she took lots of time to explain everything. The first thing is that chemo only lowers my risk of recurrence by 3%, so from 12% to 9%. So not a lot, but I’m willing to do whatever I can that may lower my risk. The plan is a dose dense treatment of AC-T. In dose dense you receive chemo every 2 weeks instead of 3 weeks – if the Dr hadn’t mentioned dose dense I would have asked for it as it seems to achieve better results. One of the side effects is lowering of white blood cells – so you are more susceptible to infection. They have drugs to counteract this side effect but they aren’t covered by OHIP and my husband’s drug plan may not cover it. It’s $3000 a shot and I would need 8! We have spoken with someone at the hospital who will help us navigate the approval process. We also met with a radiation oncologist and he didn’t recommend radiation. But since yesterday I have been running around and on the phone. I now have an appointment tomorrow to meet with a surgeon to discuss my cyst – appointment fast tracked due to chemo, I guess they don’t want a potential source of infection hanging around. I had baseline blood work done. We meet with the social worker next week and I made an appointment to get a PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line. They want to insert a line to protect my veins as chemo can be hard, this was actually the thing I hummed and hawed about the most. A PICC line has one end dangling from your body – which probably isn’t the best with small children around – but a port, which is similar but under the skin, has more complications and is used more in long term chemo treatment. We also made an appointment for the kids to get their flu shots and got our flu shots. I also arranged attending a support group tomorrow. I also got word I didn’t get the job I interviewed for last week, which is disappointing but now I’ll be able to concentrate on my treatment. But it made for a long day.
As a side note I never expected to receive a prescription for a wig :-).