Chemo: Session Two: July 19 - August 8, 2017
For a quick review, my chemo is scheduled in four sessions or cycles, each three weeks apart. My first was June 28 and the second on July 19. The last two will be on August 9 and 31.
On July 19, I received the second infusion of the two drugs, Taxotere and Cyclophosphamide. Since Melanie was out of town, my friend Jan joined Paul and me to act as our scribe and just be there for moral support.
The routine was the same: IV and blood draw, visit with physicians’ assistant, Erin, to cover the first session, and on to the infusion. All went smoothly.
During this second cycle some of the side effects hit more quickly and lasted a little longer.
1. Fatigue: started on Day 4 and didn’t let up until Day 12.
2. Tender finger nails: started Day 5 and lasted until Day 10.
3. Mouth sore: started Day 4 and lasted until Day 13.
4. Sore tonsil: same as last time, and lasted until Day 13.
5. Fever - new: Day 10 I was cold and my temp went from 100 at 11:00 am to 101.8 at 7:30 pm.
a. Called the doctor and after eliminating anything viral was prescribed an antibiotic.
b. Temp returned to normal by Day 12.
6. Taste change - new: part of time between Day 4 and 13 food started tasting different.
a. Had to force myself to eat.
b. Added some Gatorade to water so it didn’t taste bad.
As a result of the fever, happening on my low energy days, we had to miss the 50th Anniversary celebration of our good friends Iran and Fran. We also missed the going away picnic for our goddaughter, Molly, who is moving to Honolulu where she will be doing her doctoral residency. We were able to walk three doors down to attend our neighbors’ open house, though, so the whole weekend wasn’t a total wash.
By Day 13 I was feeling pretty good and the rest of the 21 days were good ones. I was able to go to Curves several times and even go shopping a few times. The special day was being able to attend an all-day DKG meeting in Monmouth, and I felt completely normal. I must admit I needed rest the next day.
Another positive outcome of this session 2 was that I did NOT have any more episodes of AFib. None! My cardiologist was very happy to hear that. He also commented that the Kardia EKG printouts I had from all the episodes during session 1 were very helpful (See a couple posts back where I talk about “Living with AFib.)
The Breast Center at St. Vincent Hospital runs a support group which meets twice a month. I was able to attend the first time on August 1st. There were about fourteen who attended, plus the hospital volunteers. The group varied from a young lady who had just been diagnosed to some long term survivors. I was the only one currently in chemo, but several were in radiation and several were going through reconstruction.
When it became my turn, I shared my motto of “No Regrets,” my Kardia EKG machine, and my system of tracking side effects. When it was all over, I was glad I went and will go back. My take-aways were:
1. I was very happy to have decided not to do reconstruction.
2. I was happy with all my decisions.
3. I felt very good about myself and my positive attitude.
The American Cancer Society offers a session called “Look Better, Feel Better” which will be held August 10 at St. Vincent. I have signed up for it. I understand we are given some make-up and shown how to apply it, and other tips for looking good. Sounds like fun.
Today, August 9, I had my third infusion, and all went well. My next post will be after I have completed this third session, sometime around August 31 - when I get my last infusion. In the meantime, I’m staying positive and enjoying life.
Grace and Paul Pitzer
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