Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Seven Down, One More to Go!

Well, I've gotten seven of my eight scheduled dense dose chemo treatments. Just one final big bad one to go after this! I am so excited to be done with it. I'll still keep getting the Herceptin through October or so of this year, but it's nothing like the Adriamycin, Cytoxin, or Taxotere. It comes with potential side effects, but not like the others. Potential heart damage is the biggest risk, but no more hair loss, weird/bad/nonexistent taste, digestive issues, body aches and pains, etc. They'll just have to do a heart scan every 3 months or so to make sure the Herceptin isn't doing any damage.

I'm going to wait until I get that final Taxotere treatment before I call my radiologist to see about starting the radiation treatments. I was supposed to have had my 3rd Taxotere (7th overall dense dose chemo) over a week ago, but got sick with a cold or flu like virus. Had a fever of 102 for a while there that Mark and I thought for sure would land me in the hospital again, but the Dr. decided to do some blood work and get some chest x-rays first and since all that came back okay, he just let me go on back home. He went ahead and gave me some antibiotics in spite of the fact that they don't do anything for viruses because he wanted to head off any possible bacterial issues that might just be lurking somewhere inside me. I felt pretty bad for a week or so there. Lots of sinus issues and a really nasty cough that is still trying to linger a little. All in all, though, I'm a lot better than I was. I just get to coughing pretty hard every once in a while, but it's gradually getting better, too.

Mark had it first and of course I got it, too. He was sick at Christmas and by New Year's, I had it. He's still trying to get over it completely himself. He's had a lot of issues with his ears being clogged up, though no pain or apparent infection setting in. He just complains that he can't hear out of one of his ears. He says it's starting to crackle a little though, so he thinks it's about ready to start breaking up. Generally, this has been a tenacious little bug, but with God's help we're beating it!

So, other than the cold, I'm still plodding along. I got my last treatment on Thursday, Jan. 6, one week and 1 day late. Normally, today would be my first day down with the pain, but since it was a day later than usual, I'll be looking at Sunday and Monday being my "flat on my back, too sore to move" days. It's already starting a little. Starts in my shoulders and neck. The muscles start getting tight, then sore. Then the soreness starts spreading everywhere else. My back usually starts aching, then I get a lot of soreness in my legs and feet. There's also usually these odd little "twitches" in my feet, too. Sometime in my hands, though never as bad as my feet so far.

I've already started losing my taste buds. I really hate this part of it. Nothing seems to taste right. Or at least almost nothing does. Mark and I stopped at McDonald's yesterday afternoon and I kept asking him if the ketchup tasted weird or if it was just me. Just me, I'm sure. I really like ketchup, but after these treatments it never seems to taste right. Don't know why. Some things tend to be better. Sweet stuff usually isn't that bad. I had Mark get me a small milkshake after the ketchup fiasco just to try to get the taste out of my mouth. LOL Along with the lack of taste comes this weird feeling in my stomach. Feels like it's full of cotton, bloated, but not with gas. It just feels like it's full of something. Makes it a little sore and also isn't conducive to eating normally. Just one more thing to get through over the next few days.

For some reason, I haven't done as good a job remembering what's good and what isn't with the Taxotere. I had it down pat with the A/C, but this time around it's just not sticking. Maybe because I have 3 weeks (or more when I get sick like I've been) between my treatments. I guess I just keep forgetting what works and what doesn't. I made this roast the other night but it didn't taste quite right to me either. Mark said it was good, but it was just a little bit off to me so I didn't eat as much as I normally would have. Not that it will go to waste. Mark pretty much has it finished off. I think there's just a little bit left in there. He'll probably eat that when he gets in from work. Kinda like a snack. LOL.

Anyway, I'm wondering what I ought to try to eat next. Tomato type stuff (ketchup, pasta sauce, soup, etc.) is pretty much out just because it tastes either weird or almost has no taste at all. I was debating about taco meat (either in tacos or a taco salad) because I can add stuff to it to boost the flavor. Not sure, though. Maybe chili? I've also got some jalapeno poppers in the freezer that I'm thinking about trying. I just don't know. It's hard when I'm not sure what'll work. I tend to lean toward the spicy because at least I can taste the heat. But there's always my old stand by of Fruity Pebbles. I really don't like making a meal of them, though. Not as my only meal. Seems wrong, somehow. And even they don't taste completely normal with the Taxotere.

So, I'm doing good for now, in general. Feeling a little whiny about the lack of taste and by tomorrow I'll be too sore to care if I eat, but it'll pass. It always does. Like I said, just one more of these treatments to get through. I still have the worst of this one ahead, but just knowing that after this there's only one more makes it all seem so much less unpleasant. I'm ready to be done with it. Ready to not have to plan for the down days and the tasteless days. Ready to start healing from all the fatigue and other side effects. It won't be an overnight thing. More than one other breast cancer patient on the Survivor's Network has said that even months (or a year) after the end of chemo, they still weren't fully recovered. It takes a long time for the body to rid itself of all those toxins. Some of the effects may never fully dissipate. But it's certainly better than the alternative. So I know it's going to take some time, but I'm looking forward to the start of that part of my journey.

Gotta go. I've just raided my freezer and brought several things into the kitchen to try to decide what to try to eat. LOL. I'm not even sure what to try to drink, since a lot of that tastes weird, too. I'm just going to keep trying different stuff, I guess, until I remember what works.

Thanks for the prayers I know were sent my way while I was sick. I know they worked. I believe they kept me out of the hospital at the very least. In spite of the fever and sickness, my cell counts have been very good. This is nothing short of a miracle in my opinion. When I got my treatment on Thursday, the nurse said they were excellent. That's pretty impressive. God is just plain awesome! Love to all.

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