Wow, it's been almost a month since my last post. That was not my intention when I started this blog - I planned to try to publish at least once a week!
I think now is a good time for a treatment update.
I'm 1.5 weeks past my 4th A/C chemo treatment. This is the 4th and final treatment of the drugs considered the "hard" chemo.
All in all, I'm doing OK, but chemo has definitely had an effect. I buzzed my head right before my second chemo treatment. About a week after my third treatment I noticed the small hairs starting to fall out - and that caused my head to ITCH! To alleviate this, I decided to shave my head to the skin. Since no one in my family felt me taking a razor to my own head was a good idea (I can't imagine what they were worried about!) my wonderful husband stepped up and used an electric razor to shave my head.
And now, my hair has continued to grow just enough to be annoying and make my head feel like sandpaper! Not exactly what I was expecting. Oh, and I still have to shave my legs - bummer. I do have a great collection of head scarves and hats to wear!
My energy has definitely taken a nosedive with this last round of chemo. I get tired very easily and working outside in the summer heat isn't even an option at this point. My energy is slowly starting to increase, but it is still very easy for me to overdo it. I wake up in the morning, ,feel great, have a long list of things to do that day, do 1 or maybe 2 of those things, and wham - I'm exhausted for a couple of hours. *Sigh* Back to the couch it is.
The hardest part of these last four treatments for me was actually the side effect of the neulasta. Neulasta is a medication that is administered 24 hours after chemo. The medication jump starts the bone marrow to produce blood cells. This helps prevent my white and red blood cells from bottoming out, leaving me at an even higher risk for infection and illness. The side effect of neulasta is described as "bone pain." This manifests itself differently for each person. Some have told me that they felt it in their arms and legs, others in their pelvis. Basically, it causes the bones it affects to feel cracked or broken. For me - this manifested itself in my ribcage and sternum. Basically, I wake up feeling as though my sternum and all my ribs are broken. Every. Breath. Hurts.
Luckily, this was my last treatment of this drug. Next week I start the drug Taxol. This treatment will be every week for 12 weeks. Yes, every - single - week. That thought doesn't excite me, but I have been assured by my oncologist and numerous chemo survivors that this treatment is easier on the body. Less fatigue, less nausea, less of an effect on the blood cell counts. I am holding on to hope that this will all be true for me and in the next few weeks I will feel a little better each week.
The good news is the treatment is working and my oncologist can tell that my tumor has already shrunk, and that was when he did the exam after 2 treatments. I believe it has shrunk even more after the final two treatments. This makes all the side effects of chemo worth it!
I will do my best to keep this blog updated with how I am doing as I progress into this next step of my treatment.