I am home relaxing after having my second infusion of Adriamycin and Cytoxin, along with all the pre-meds (steroids, Aloxi, Emend and one other little pill...maybe it was a Compazine. And I had already applied the scopolamine patch. I'm feeling OK but I find my "monovision" is not working so well, so I took out the contacts and put on the glasses.
Today's process was, again, a 5 hour deal. Nurse Lisa was extremely busy today - there were lots of patients and some staff on vacation. So everything just took a while. First things first, she took my vitals and weighed me. Lost 3.5 pounds. That's not going to help with getting DIEP reconstruction. I'm getting to be a "flyweight" and am now down to what I was in 1971 or so! She thoroughly cleaned the port area and inserted the needle. It was just a little stick, so that means I don't need to use the numbing cream. She made sure everything was working properly, then she drew blood for the labwork. They process their own labs, so I waited about 30 minutes, then I went in to see Dr. Walsh, my medical oncologist. In the meantime, Rick got a call and had disappeared for a few minutes. The nurse found him and Joe wandering, so she brought them to the exam room.
The meeting with Dr. Walsh was really just a conversation. She asked about the side effects I had experienced and how I was doing. I introduced her to my new set of cold sores...yup, my autoimmune system fires these up once or twice a year and they made their appearance last night. So there's a pill for that, what a surprise...lol! I now have a 6 month script for Valtrex, an anti-viral that will probably keep these things in check for the rest of the treatment. She looked at my lab report and said everything was good. And I asked her for a referral to Physical Therapy for the lymphedema that is not going away. I've got very good range of motion on both arms (actually played a few holes of golf last night) but I've got a pocket that continues to form a couple times a day on my back in the area of the lymph node removals. And I will be fitted for a compression garment in case I need to take a plane trip! Paris, here we come!!!
We went back to the infusion lounge and Nurse Lisa showed up with my pre-meds and bag of saline for extra hydration. Meanwhile I sent the guys off for lunch. Rick and Joe had D'Angelo's (again) and they brought me some really good clam chowder and a salad. I ate the chowder, the salad is in the fridge.
At about 1:00, Lisa came in and pushed the Adriamycin - 3 syringes full. Then she flushed the line and I had a few more minutes of hydration before she added the bag of Cytoxan, properly mixed with saline this time. The Cytoxan drip takes just about an hour. So it was done just before 3:00, she flushed the line, removed the needle, applied a small bandage, and we were free to go.
Earlier I had asked Lisa for a copy of my lab results. I noticed lots of "H" and "L" notations, yet the word "Unremarkable" was printed in all caps. So I was pretty sure there was nothing to be worried about, but I wanted to know what it all meant. The bottom line is that my white blood count was a little higher than the top of the range (that's not a bad thing) and my red blood counts were a tad low, although not much lower than they were before my first treatment. Actually, my whites were high before the first treatment, also. And surprisingly, my protein level was a tad low. Lisa went over everything, line by line, and we talked about how to boost the protein level. She stated that "everyone" has a low protein score and mine was just 0.2 below the low end of normal, so she said that was actually really good.
My goal for the next two weeks will be to stay ahead of the nausea, as I did last round, and try to bump up the protein and iron-rich foods so I can keep my red cells close to normal. Anemia breeds fatigue, and I really don't want to add to that problem. Luckily, adding those types of food to my diet is not a problem. I just sent Rick off for takeout - a spinach salad with grilled chicken.
But the bigger question is, what can I do to prevent additional weight loss? I haven't missed a meal, I had ice cream 3 times in the past two weeks - that's a major big deal because I will usually have it 3 times in a whole summer, I am eating a few chips with my sandwiches, etc. More popcorn, perhaps!
And maybe one of my darling children will whip up a batch of homemade Chex party mix using whole grain Chex and Cheerios, lots of nuts, please skip the pretzels but if you can find those sesame seed sticks, you can throw those in the mix.
And oh, the head is starting to tingle, a few strands have shown up in my hands, and I'm expecting the hair to go any time now.