Almost a week of this chemo thing under my belt, and still feeling like quite the rookie! They say a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, right? We can feel that in a few ways this week. The chemo itself didn't hit me very hard, but the "sugar" they use to build your immune system back up, was a whopper!
Monday got off to a tough start...not for chemo, but for my family. While I slept Sunday night, my husband, Kent, ended up taking our son to the hospital, because he'd been throwing up all night and his muscles were convulsing, like a seizure. They hooked him up to an IV for a while because he was so dehydrated. My frazzled sweetie woke me up around 1 am, so I could keep an eye on Zach, while he ran to the pharmacy to get an anti-nausea prescription. (I have three anti-nausea drugs for chemo in the medicine cabinet!) I put my game face on and went to work, feeling a little sleep-deprived, but pretty normal, and knowing that people would be looking for chemo effects.
I think, if anything, I was over-analyzing little things to see if they might be chemo symptoms. My taste buds were still a little numb, and I felt a little fuzzy, but that can be normal at 5:00 on a Monday morning! The morning and noon newscasts went well, and I felt like I was going to be okay. I was more worried that both kids had stayed home from school- son with the whole flu thing, and daughter with a nasty cough and head cold.
On the way home, Kent met me at the Cancer Center for the quick, little "Neulasta" shot. It is a $6,000 injection (kept in a refrigerated safe) that makes your bone marrow work overtime to boost your white blood cells. White blood cells are the foundation of your immune system, and after chemo knocks the crap out of you, this shot is prescribed to make you strong again. The shot itself was like a flu shot...no big deal. The doctor said taking Claritin for a few days would counter some of the bone pain expected, so I took one when we got home...and waited.
My knees started to ache a bit around 8:00, which would be a good early bed-time that I don't usually get. I took some Tylenol, headed upstairs, and my sick family tucked me in for the night. Holy #@&%!!! I don't think I slept more than five minutes all night. It felt like someone had a screwdriver up inside my shin bones, trying to pry them open. My ankles and knees felt, not aching, but s~t~a~b~b~i~n~g pain! I've broken my arm, blown my knee, and gave birth to twins with both a C-section and vaginal deliveries in a half hour...and this was all that pain combined. I kept trying to sleep, but threw in the towel around 1 am. By that time, my tongue was swollen from the taste bud thing, and I was the closest to being in tears of pain ever. (I don't remember ever crying from pain...I swear instead.) I called in sick, hearing the pity in our cute producer's voice. Crap! Thought I could do it!
My husband got Kenzie to school, and took care of Zach and I the rest of the day. Alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen for me...and Immodium, Pepto, and Ibuprofen for Zach. The pain started easing by about 9 am, when I limped down the stairs to curl up on the couch. We drank a lot of powerade and watched a hundred episodes of SVU and Big Bang Theory between naps. Later, my big burly husband got to take my daughter to the mall, and the froofiest stores possible to get a dress for the upcoming Winter's dance. (Wish I had a picture of him at the Deb store to post!) We each had a favorite Lean Cuisine for dinner (except Zach, who had coffee ice cream) and slithered off to bed, hoping for a more restful night.
Wednesday felt pretty dang normal for a full day of work, and today is going well also. My feet and ankles ache a little bit sometimes, and I can tell my scalp is losing some sensitivity, like my taste buds. Luckily, food is still tasting good, I'm getting little naps and keeping my energy, and my brain isn't as fuzzy as I thought it would be. Both kids were back in school yesterday and today, which is a relief....now they can help me take care of Kent....who has 102 degree fever and the full-blown flu.