I went Wednesday the 26th for my second infusion of chemo. Laura went with me for the marathon. We got there a 9:30, hooked up my port, drew my blood to check my levels. Then we waited an hour for those results to come back and then met with my oncologist for half and hour.
He decided that we will plan for 5 cycles of chemo altogether, 3 weeks apart. So my next 3 are scheduled for August 15th, September 5th, and September 26th. Then I have 3 weeks to recover from that last chemo before beginning radiation treatments. That regimen will be determined by a radiation oncologist. I have to make an appointment and go see him sometime soon to get that ball rolling. He is a whole separate kind of doctor I have never seen before.
Dr. Bourg, my oncologist, told me that my first round of chemo knocked my while count levels low enough that I was on the brink of needing to do Neupogen shots this time. He is upping the amount of the Cytoxin chemo by 20% (from 500-600 -cc’s I think), so this time he sent me home with Neupogen shots and the nurses taught Laura and me how to do them. I am beginning that tonight. That will help increase my white cell count and hopefully keep me from getting any “life threatening infections” along the way. We also talked about all the headaches I have had since my 1st chemo and he switched me to a different anti-nausea medicine that doesn’t list headaches as a possible side effect. Hiccups was on the list, but I think I could handle that better. So far it has been MUCH better in that regard. The headaches have been controlable so far.
Chemo started at about 11:15 or so and we finished at 3:00. They put the Taxitere in more slowly as it caused me to get the shakes this time and can cause allergic reactions. They also put the Cytoxin in more slowly to avoid the headache problem I had last time. I began to get one but it subsided with some pain meds I took for it as it was going in. So it took a lot more time, but I didn’t feel as badly as last time.
I was actually up all day yesterday (Thursday) writing our prayer letter. I didn’t feel great, but didn’t feel like I had to lay down either. So the combo of doing the chemos more slowly and the new anti-nausea stuff seems to have made a difference. I am so grateful!
I went to the office this morning and am back home now. I feel the day 3 & 4 Taxitere muscle aches heading my way. The Neupogen is supposed to cause bone pain, as that is where the white cells will be growing. I have had some new nerve pain starting from the Taxitere, but it is intermittent and not too bad. He said that would probably increase as the treatments go on and would be worse for the 2 months after chemo is finished. But we can pray for those side effects to be minimal.
My sister-in-law, Shelby called to give me Psalm 34 while we were waiting for the doctor and it was perfect. Other books, cards and verses others have sent my way are also really hitting home and are confirming and solidifying my trust not only in God, but in His consistent loving character. We are never promised an easy life. And in the hard times, all the aspects of our ability to trust Him are activated. It is a privilege to experience Him in these intimate ways. Fellowshipping with Him in His sufferings is something hard to describe, but when you go through it, I think you can agree, it adds a new dimension to your faith. I hope you can experience some of it with me during this time if you haven't experienced it yourself.
May God bless your day and give you the ability to spot and bless someone in His name- Nancy Fritz