Aug.1, 2014: Chemo Class
Chemo class wasn’t that bad…weird, but necessary. This is a class everyone has to take before you go start chemo, just kinda gives you a heads up about what is going to happen. It opened with a nurse whom I have seen during my appointments with my first 2 oncologist. She played a video and then went over some papers about side effects of chemo and the resources we have access too while going through treatment. They gave us a bag full of goodies that we might need during treatment…medical organizer, blanket, travel size stuff, mints, LOTS of hand outs. She answered questions that people might have. She then came and talked to us on an individual bases regarding our chemo drug and its side effects. My chemo drug, cisplatin, is one of the oldest chemo drugs and its main purpose is to support radiation which is why I got to keep my hair. Cisplatin is hard on the kidneys so they give an hour of hydration before the bag of chemo (brown bag in pic) and then hydration afterwards and encouragement to drink LOTS of water.
Chemo wasn’t fun. You lose taste of ALOT of things, even things you enjoy. There are certain foods to this day I don’t care to eat/drink. Sadly coffee falls in that category…as well as live soda, oatmeal, fruit punch spark, advo bars, topo chicos,. Food stops being appealing and it becomes hard to find something to eat. Alot of the times I just didn’t eat…which isn’t good and would frustrate R. They take weight, blood pressure and temp every time you go into the infusion room. I always stood on the scale backwards so I never knew my exact weight. I always told them that I have bigger things on my plate vs what my weight was, however i should have monitored it better. I think I lost a total of 10lbs during this time.
I’m not sure if it was the chemo, the radiation or the combo of things that made me SUPER tired. After chemo I would come home and sleep on my couch for the rest of Friday and then Saturday and Sunday I slept alot. There were alot of times I was unable to workout because I was just so tired from the day and I would have to go home and take a nap. Most days the boyfriend and I would walk the neighborhood at night…me in a weight vest and him carrying weights. My workouts were suffering so it made me feel good to move.
Below are exerts from my random journal I kept during chemo.
Day 1: Wednesday Aug. 6th, 2014: Radiation & Chemo #1
My desire to get this treatment started over ran any part of being nervous about treatment. On days I have chemo, which will normally be Fridays, I will have radiation at 7am and chemo at 9:30am. Which is awesome because I don’t have to move any of my clients around for treatment. I just might have to miss a meeting or two.
7am I went in for Radiation. This was no thing. I layed on a table. It was simple. After that I headed down the street for chemo, but not before a cup of coffee at ‘bucks. I went into the waiting room and checked in. They called me up for a wrist band. Here is where my new friend learned my name. He asked me if I was joining them today, I said yes and it was my 1st time. He asked me about radiation. I said yes, already had it and it was my 1st time as well. As people left the waiting room and headed into the infusion room they all said “see you in there”. I got into the infusion room and they weighed, measured me and took my temps and blood pressure. I was in seat #12, next to my new friend who was already hooked up and getting treatment. He also showed me how to get on the internet…GAME CHANGER!!
After 6hrs of Chemo I was released and headed home (30min check in process, 1hour for them to mix up my chemo which means 1 hour of waiting, 1hr for solution (fluids to protect my kidneys), 1.5hr chemo, 1 hour of more solution, then check out). When I got “released” from that chair, I jumped up and my new friend said “wow looks like you are going to kick cancer in the ass”. He said I prob won’t be like that next round…buzz kill. I left there and headed home.
If it is that simple then its going to just be a pain in the ass to keep me seated still for that long. The day was topped off with a kick ass salad from Jason’s Deli and some bubble tea, some TV and in bed at a decent time.
This day couldn’t have been easy if it wasn’t for the help of my very patient boyfriend and mother. Since I was only allowed 1 person in the infusion room at a time, they (mom and Rabah) rotated. Rabah helped me work on my website setting up the “store” and my mom took pictures and updated friends and family about my status. I felt fine when I got home, but still started on my anti-nasuea meds and book an appt with Rachelle, my accupuncturist. She is wonderful and I cannot wait to be on her table again.
My family and boyfriend have been top notch during this process. It isn’t easy having “the healthy one” sick (I hate referring to myself as “sick”). Everyone constantly checks on me, but still abides by my wishes of not having this public/social media.
I cannot wait till I can get over this bump in the road and say I’m Cancer Free. I’m going to have alot to be thankful for at Thanksgiving.
Day 10: Radiation at 7am and Chemo #2 at 9:30am
Today was a busy day. I workout with the 5:30am GGRX Crew:
A) Back Squat 8×4 @ 215#
B) 1 Power Snatches every 30 seconds for 10mins (20 snatches) @ 80% – 110#
After that I went to radiation and got “zapped”. They forgot I was coming early on Fridays so I had to wait a little bit almost making me late for my 8am client. After radiation I went to train my 8am client then headed to the hospital for Chemo. I got there at 9:30am (parking on the 5th floor). They were an HOUR behind…not cool. It took 2 hours to get my IV, blood draw and my bag of pre chemo. This meant I still had 1 hour of chemo and another hour of solution. Ugh. I did find HGTV, took a nap and worked on some busy work and my website for a bit so that passed the time. I finally finished around 4pm and I was the last one out of there. NOT KIDDING! I also went to get my drugs that they supposedly called in when I started and what do you know, they wouldn’t be ready for another 2 hours. They actually showed me the drugs but it had to be run through the system. I think having Chemo on Friday and there being alot of hospital discharges is going to be a pain. But when else do I have a 6 hour time gap in the week. AGHHH!I felt fine and went home and ate a lavish dinner that made me ever so stuffed. Other than the hour wait in the infusion room. Today wasn’t to bad.
Day 17: Friday Aug. 22nd Radiation + Chemo #3
Today I went and worked out with the 5:30am GGRX Crew we are on the tail end of a heavy squat cycle. I thought I wasn’t going to make it but I managed to:
(A) Back Squat: 8×4 220# (I was supposed to be at 225# But….yea, about that)
*This makes it hard to sit in a chair for 4-6hours for chem*
(B) We also did some obliques, GHD, KB Work
Radiation at 7am was another no go. I mean come on I’m on 2 stool softners and 1 gasX (+nausea meds) at 5am and 11am, 5pm and 11pm (if i’m awake) every day. I don’t understand. #OverIt
I went and trained my client at 8am. Then went to Chemo. Things got started then my good long time friend Melissa came and sat with me for awhile….and brought me chocolate! She stayed a good long while before headed to Galveston for her competition. Minus the awkward setting it was awesome to catch up with her. We have a new project in the making so stay tuned!
Day 24: Friday Aug. 29th Radiation + Chem #4
I decided to sleep in this day instead of going to my 5:30am workout. I still went downtown to drop off a BaseCamp packet and some left over cookies. However as I saw how challenged my fellow GGRXers (work out buddies) looked after the conditioning I was sad I missed it. On my way to 7am radiation my 8am athlete cancelled therefore I went to radiation and hustled back to the gym to get a workout in. Some times the environment and the people are just too good to pass up. I had a kick ass workout with my friends, Jess and Winnie. These too have been by my side and through a lot. It was good for me mentally to work out next to them. We did different things but the motivation and encouragement they offer is beyond words. It was a good thing to have before heading into 6hours of chemo.
After that I went to chemo at 9:30am. I think my veins on my left had have had enough because they gave out rather quickly and we stuck my right side. After blood was drawn I quickly started on my anti nausea syringe and then a bag of hydration. After that…I waited. They were an HOUR behind….again…ugh! I turned on HGTV but it was on a boring section so I went to my awesome earphones R gave me.
Since my Bday was the day before I sent a lot of time writing thank you notes, Posting about my awesome new website and then sleeping. I wasn’t really tired but I tried to sleep some and I got some ZZZs in.
Once Chemo was over I raced to HEB to get wine and 7UP…the parents were coming in town that day and I wanted everything to be neat and provided. They arrived (via new harley) before dark so we got to sit outside and try out my awesome new gift Rabah gave me….a Kammock! Its awesome! Then my parents gave me their gift, I finally got my Great Aunt’s (whom I’m named after) pearl ring. Esther Locke, never got married but wore this ring DAILY. I always wanted it and my mom had it cleaned and gave it to me along with 3 hammered silver James Avery bracelets with a pearl and the letter “E” on it. After gift exchanges we went to Jason’s Deli for supper, home for showers and a slice of Little Lucy Cakes…after Rabah took pictures of it. With full bellies and happy hearts we went to bed.
Day 31: Friday Sept 5th Radiation + Chem #5
I slept in today and didn’t go workout, mucho needed. I had radiation at 7am then trained my client from 8-9am then headed into chemo #5…ONE MORE TO GO! We quickly learned that my veins are tired. I also learned that nurses get 2x to stick you then they “strike out” and another nurse has to step in. I quickly learned that today because my veins are done. I had to get stick not once, not twice but THREE TIMES! My nurse was also worried about my platelets. They were able to get them and I went through my bag of hydration while they worked on my blood work. Which they found out that my white blood count is low 1292 to be exact and it needs to be 1500. They had to track down the doc to see if they can treat me. Finally they got ahold of the doc and because I’m healthy they decided to treat me. While waiting on my chemo they gave me this lunch….isn’t grains linked to cancer?
Today was a bust. I went in for chemo…got all set up. Blood drawn, started my bag of hydration (which is the worst part) and everything only to have them come and tell me my white blood count is too low and they cannot give me chemo for risk of infection. So a few hours and needle sticks later I was unable to get chemo. They decided that my body just needs a few more days of rest before another chemo round so they rescheduled me for Monday. Since I had already scheduled everything around this I just went home and went to sleep, I’m freaking tired!
Chemo #6 – Retry
Another bust. At least this time they didn’t give me the hydration stuff. Same thing, WBC count was way to low and since it was my last one and I would finish radiation treatments this week (my chemo supports the radiation), they decided to call it quits. Again scheduled everything around this so I went home and went to bed.
Chemo was rough for me, but not near as rough and some of the things I saw in the infusion room…I count my blessings. For one I still have my hair. My treatment plan is counted in weeks, not months or even years like some of the people. Yes it was rough on me and did alot of “damage” to my lifestyle, but I had the good end of the stick in comparison to some of the stuff I saw in there.
Things I Was Glad I Did & Things I Wish I Would Have Done (no particular order):
- FATIGUE. Get ready for it because it is going to be rough. It is going to hit you hard. The littlest things will tire you out and you will have to take a nap…if not 2…possibly 3. My weekends were filled with sleeping, when normally they are full of workouts, hiking, camping, etc. Nope, not during chemo. Sometimes just going to breakfast was enough to make me want to take nap.
- EATING. Go ahead and get you a box of plastic utensils. The metal will make food taste worst that it already does. Most things come back to tasting okay and some don’t, so don’t eat your favorite foods
- on the days you have chemo for some reason that makes food taste funny. Sometimes
- WBC. Its going to drop and its going to drop low. Be careful out there…remember its YOUR life not just a measly cold.
- NAUSEA. Its going to happen. I had a syringe filled with anti-nausea drugs prior to my chemo treatments. I also got some pills to have afterwards. At first I was really religious about taking these. Really Religious. But they made me SUPER tired, but I would rather be tired than be nauseous. However one day I decided to see how much I really needed the meds so I stopped taking them and I was fine. I actually regained energy. So I went without them the following day as well and was fine so I just stopped taking them and it made a world of a difference. I did see a kick a$$ acupuncturist here in ATX 1x/wk and I would highly recommend her (and acupuncture).