Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chemo #4 of 5 is tomorrow

Night before my 4th of 5 chemos
Blog Update 9/4/06

Dear friends,
Tomorrow I go for #4. I can hardly believe it has already been 9 weeks since I began the process of chemotherapy. In some ways it really does feel that way. I can hardly remember shampooing a head full of hair. I am not sure I understand why, but even though I am still in chemo, my hair has begun to grow back. It is about 1/3 inch long and I can feel the wind blow through it if I don’t have anything on my head. I know that sounds strange, but it feels good! That is especially true if I am in the middle of a hot flash. Chemotherapy has stopped my eggs from growing, and has thrust me into menopause prematurely. So this has been very sudden, but I was warned it would be a side effect. I experienced this 7 years ago also for several months.
I know people joke about hot flashes all the time, but getting completely and totally overheated with no warning for a few minutes, almost every hour day and night, is a chore. Greg pointed out that we women have Eve to thank for this experience. If only she had known the scope of what the consequences of her actions would be…
The Taxitere is gathering in my system and showing up in some of the longer term side effects I was told about. Bone and joint aches in my legs, back and neck mostly, and nerve tingling and prickling mainly in my hands and feet. This has lasted this entire 3 weeks this time. I was told this would peek in the 2 months after chemo, which will overlap with radiation, I expect, and then tapper off over the next 18-24 months. I have friends who have had very different experiences with this and would ask you to join us in praying that mine will be minor.
In this 3 week cycle I had about 3 days that I could handle without any pain meds. I was able to function for the last 1 ½ weeks, but ran out of steam part way through the day. Today and yesterday I actually got a project done. It wasn’t big, but it felt good. I also switched desks at the office on Friday with my friend Marilyn who is planning to take me to chemo tomorrow. We plan to leave at 8:15 a.m. and will get home between 3 and 3:30 p.m. I have my port accessed and blood drawn from it at 9:00, see Dr. Bourg, my oncologist, when the blood results come back at about 10:00, then chemo about 11:00 after they mix my meds to his specifications. They start by giving me pre-chemo meds for about an hour, and then the other two chemos for the next 2 ½-3 hours.
Things to pray for: Again trivial, but it would be nice to spend those 4 hours in a chair with a view of the mountains. Pray I’d have no allergic reactions to anything. Pray that my blood work would show that I can handle the chemo. That means white cell count and platelets, etc. are where they should be. If not, they would send me home without it and I would be sad. Pray that as I go in and have this toxic stuff put in me, that I would welcome it in to do its work in killing any cancer loose in my body. Pray that I would be able to manage by God’s grace the side effects of this all on my body. Pray that I will be able to remember what questions I have for Dr. Bourg while I am there. I make a list each time and he patiently answers and explains until I am satisfied. I want to know about how much radiation I need, because the 4th field they plan to shoot may not be necessary based on what my surgeon and Dr. Bourg think. I’d like to avoid it, but want it if I really do need to do it. Did the surgeon think there was still a possibility of cancer above the initial surgery sight in my armpit. She told me there probably was, but I want them to confer with each other so we do the right thing.
Praises- We had a nice time at Steamboat at our friends’ mountain home. I did some of my thinking and decided that there is much more to do. I worked on my living will which the radiation oncologist wants us to do and it raised a lot of questions for Greg and me. We are going to have to sit down and determine our values. At least now I have a list of things to work through in more detail. Thanks for praying for that time. God used it.
Greg got his 3 projects done and we took a day to drive over a pass (4 wheel driving) to where he hunts with Jesse in October. At one point we had to stop the truck on a substantial road to let a 6 foot long Aspen tree cross the road on its side and seemingly by itself. As we stretched to look, we could see a large beaver (Ohooo, a hot flash!) on the other side of the tree pulling it toward his construction project on the other side of the road. It was amazing that we just happened to drive by right then in time to see that. It was a treat from the Lord. “So why did the tree cross the road? To become part of a beaver’s dam!”
I need to get to bed so I can be rested tomorrow and not get sick. Blessings to you all, and thank you for your interest and being willing to share in this experience with us through our concern and prayers. Lisa brought me sunflowers today. They are bright and beautiful! Others will be bringing meals starting tomorrow night. God bless you! Nancy Fritz

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