A Week of Chemo – Infusion 2

I had my second infusion on Friday, December 15th. (I realized I wasn’t dating these occurrences very well to track them, so now you’ll see a date for a particular thing that needs tracking.) It was a 4.5 hour appointment. That’s how long it takes to get everything done.

I had another awesome nurse. This time a born and bred Washingtonian rather than another Minnesota transplant. She’d worked in inpatient care for 30 years, and since the drugs are getting so much better, they’re able to do more outpatient like mine, so she moved over. I’m glad they did. She gave me some helpful flyers on chemo brain and a printout to get cheaper acupuncture treatments.

This week, there were the usual drops of anti-nausea meds and 3 big vials of chemo.  Accessing the port was easier and less painful. I had the numbing cream on long enough this time. I was able to drive home via the eye doctor’s office without any issues, and  enjoy dinner with my coworker without falling asleep in my food, well, I actually made it til about 10 pm before I needed sleep. That’s more like my normal go to bed time, so I’m liking that.

Day 2
I expected that today would be different. I thought the fuzzy headed feeling would be back, and it wasn’t. It could happen tomorrow. Just have to wait and see. I think the acupuncture may be helping with some of this, but I don’t know for sure yet.

I’ve had next to no nausea issues yet, which is awesome! Drinking the 2-3 liters of fluids is still hard. I’m not used to onboarding that much liquid in a day. I’ve been adding Miralax to my Gatorade. It’s not doing much. Today also brought a different antibiotic and more Flonase to get rid of the bronchitis/sinus thing I’ve had since October. It seemed to work back in February when I had this crud last. Crossing my fingers it does the trick in half the time seeing as I was on an antibiotic since my last chemo treatment 2-1/2 weeks ago.

The only similarity so far is that when I get tired, I am still exhausted and need to sleep. My naps in the past 2 days were longer, and that’s okay. I could be better about the schedule in general.

Day 3
Today, the fuzzy, weird buzzing feeling came back. I’ve decided this comes from the anti-nausea meds more than the chemo. I’m having a heck of a time staying awake and focusing on just about anything. Even Facebook with it’s tiny soundbites is too much for me today. I’ve tried doing a little work, but just end up so mentally exhausted that I have to stop and take another break after 10 minutes. It’s crazy. It was all I could muster to fold some laundry today, so I napped a lot. More than I really wanted to, but I have Excedrin PM to help me sleep more through the night.

What’s left of my hair after getting it cut for the wig is starting to fall out. Or, in reality, I’ve been testing it and a pulling some of it out. I’m starting to look like I’ve got mange. I need to find the lint roller and take a run over my head with it so there’s not hair everywhere.

Day 4
Still feeling fuzzy & buzzy and weird. I expected these feelings to start to pass today. I was able to eat half a cereal bar and drink a whole glass of milk this morning, so that’s a win. It’s probably a good thing I set my anti-nausea meds all up before I had the chemo on Friday because I would have taken more than I needed this week otherwise. Thankfully, the nausea was not bad again, and I needed less of those meds this week than last.

What’s it like? I get shaky like I’m hungry, but I’m not. I’m not all that hungry or thirsty, but know I need to keep taking in calories and liquids so I can get these meds out of my system.  I can’t hold my phone for long. The inability to focus on simple things is maddening. I’m not used to not being able to think straight. I can’t focus on sentences in a book, or on a screen. I’m not used to not being able to manage a game of solitaire. I’m not used to feeling like a complete slug, not that I can’t sit and do nothing, but this kind of nothing is different because there are plenty of things I’d much rather be doing, or thought I’d be able to do, and I just can’t.  Thankfully, this isn’t a constant condition, and it will pass in a day or so.

Day 5
Today, I can feel the fog starting to lift, but very slowly this time. I can focus on the Facebook-type soundbites and play a little Yahtzee and Cookie Jam on my phone. I was also able to nap less today, but still not be able to do any work. I’m so friggin’ bored I don’t know what to do with myself!! I don’t remember the last time I was this bored. Probably when I was a kid and drove my mother to distraction so that she tossed us out in the snowbank to play.

The good thing is that I’m able to eat and drink more today. I got a Gatorade with Miralax down this afternoon and about a half liter of water, and so far maybe 1/3 of my cranberry juice with fizzy water. It’s hard to make yourself drink when you’re not really thirsty, and eat when you’re not hungry. I made myself get up and eat protein today as well as some salad. The salad helps a lot with the constipation, and the more I’m peeing and pooping, the more of this junk gets out of my system and I feel more human again. Today, I forewent a shower. I can’t afford a fall in the tub, and I was just too scared that I’d fall over to even try.

I’m not overly tired today, which I think is good, except for the insanely bored part. Earlier in the week, it was just as easy to lie down and just close my eyes for a bit. With nothing to do, sleeping seemed the lesser of evils.

The hardest part, I think, is that it’s 5 days to Christmas and I’m just lethargic. I’m normally into cookies and decorations and all that, and this year, it’s just bleh. I brought the stockings up from the garage but they’re just laying on the table. I don’t have the energy to move the things that need to be moved to hang them on the mantle, and that’s just going to have to be okay this year. I’m still hoping to have my little elven neighbors back to help me clean up and make cookies before my parents get here on the 26th.

Day 6
Today is… almost normal. I’m still feeling really taxed by simple things this morning. Like going up and down the stairs. I can feel it’s getting easier, but it still takes a lot out of me, most of it mental because I’m so hyper-aware that I could fall and hurt myself. Today is also more able to drink liquids and eat, which is good. Like I said yesterday, the more I am able to get in and through my system, the better I feel.

When I got up this morning, I thought I’d be driving myself to the dentist to get the fluoride painted on my teeth this afternoon. By 11:00, I knew I still wasn’t driving anywhere and was able to score a ride with a coworker down to the dentist. By the time I got home, I felt more or less normal again. I’m able to navigate the stairs without feeling exhausted. I’m able to eat and drink like a normal person, and  I feel like if I needed to now, I could probably drive. It’s a good thing I don’t need to, though. So tonight will be low key. I might actually be able to manage to focus on an episode of Victoria or a movie. Actually, I think I’ll watch Charlie Brown Christmas tonight. It seems that kind of snuggly evening in.

Lessons Learned
I need to have food arranged for days 3-6 so that I’ve got something in the house and all I need to do is reheat it or toss it in a bowl. My mental faculties have been positively missing this week, and there’s no way I could manage making a full meal on my own feeling like I have this week.  Thankfully, I have some great friends here in the area who have been helping out with groceries and food, and I’m ever so grateful for them!!

I need to be more patient with feeling like a slug. The effects of the chemo are mostly cumulative. I now know more what to expect, and what I won’t be able to do for myself, and I am going to be okay with not getting the counter or table cleared off, or doing a lot of thinking.

I tried acupuncture the day before chemo. I think I will have my dad take me after chemo, too, to see how it can mitigate some of the issues I’m having. I think it helped with the nausea. I definitely need some massage to help with being horizontal for the better part of 3 days. My back is griping some.

I am so looking forward to the next step because I’ve heard it’s less impactful side-effect wise than this chemo. If I can be upright more than 2 days the week afterward, I’ll take it as a win. This is the key with cancer – always be looking for the silver lining. With all things bad come things that are good, and I’d really rather celebrate the wins. They’re much more fun.

About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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