Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wow! I've had quite the hangover...

too bad there was no real partying involved, just a little benadryl.  Well, maybe, a lot of benadryl - 50 mg dripped right into my veins.  And that stuff scrambled my thoughts and slurred my speech!  I haven't felt like that in more than 20 years.  I guess the good news is that I won't suffer the "hangover" that would accompany a real drinking binge.  I wanted to sleep, I really did.  I think the chemo nurses were taking bets on when it would happen (I've never slept a wink during a treatment), they thought I slept because I had my eyes closed a couple times.  But nope, they were wrong!  Damn steroids!!!  I think there was a battle royal going on for control of my "inner sleep" and the steroids won out.  Joe and Rick were my company; and like a good hostess, I kept talking even when I had to close my eyes and try to slowly form my sentences. 

And oh, the thirst!  With all that benadryl, a claritin this morning to ward off bone pain, and a scopolamine patch, I am drinking everything in sight.  And I had a nice bowlful of grapes...after I slept.  Yes, once we got home, Rick went up to work for a while; I turned on the Food Network, and slept for about 45 minutes.  I woke up with much less fog but a bad case of cotton-mouth.  I ate a bowl of red grapes that were really delicious, nicely crisp (thank you Idylwilde Farms).  Rick brought me some dinner and I am still drinking.  

We arrived at the center at 10:00, they took me to the Infusion Center right away, then accessed my port and drew blood for the CBC.  Then we waited for a while - they were busy, the doctor was busy and it was after 11:00 before we saw Dr. Walsh.   She finally appeared and we talked about how I was doing (which is much better now that the horrible fatigue has abated).  She asked me what supplements I had heard to take, I told her Vitamin B-6, L-Glutamine and Acetyl L-Carnitine.  She nodded her head in approval and I asked her to see if she could find out how much ALC they were using in the ongoing clinical trial to determine if it prevents neuropathy (the answer she got is 500 mg 3 times a day).  Hopefully, these things will help keep those nerve endings nice and healthy. 

We talked about all the pre-meds including the anti-nausea meds that she would order.  I'm a big believer in "if it's not broken..."  I was happy to hear that the anti-nausea meds would all remain the same.  And there was no change in the Decadron - just 6 mg - which also pleased me.  In addition, I would receive Pepcid (apparently Taxol can cause some serious heartburn) and the Benadryl.  Taxol is one of the Taxanes (Taxotere and Abraxane are a couple others), which is made from the Pacific Yew tree.  Because of the solvent that is used with Taxol, it can cause severe allergic reactions almost instantaneously.  But like everything else so far, my body didn't overreact and seems to be tolerating the chemical onslaught fairly well.  I do think I'll ask for less benadryl next time around. 

We quickly discussed my "complicated" radiation situation and she set up an appointment with
 Dr. Matthew Katz   I'll be seeing him the week between my third and fourth Taxol treatment. 

And now...drumroll please...the numbers.  My tumor markers (normal is 38 or below) were 64 in April and are now down to 42, almost there!  My white blood count has recovered nicely and is once again just above the high end of the range.  And my red blood count is staying right where it's been, just below the low end of the range but not too bad.  Dr. Walsh said that she has  never had a patient's WBC tank enough from Taxol to need Neulasta, so I am very optimistic that I will get through the next three treatments on time with no issues.

For my diabetic friends or any others who are interested in the neuropathy clinical trials and might want to try Acetyl L-Carnitine, here's a link:  Neuropathy Clinical Trial

And last but certainly not least, I want to thank the Good Wishes Program of Franceluxe for the beautiful headwrap they sent me, at no charge, along with a greeting card personally signed by each staff member.   And my name and city is on the wall of their offices, along with that of each person to whom they have sent a free headwrap or scarf.  It's a fabulous program and they are providing a beautiful service.   Rick teases me because I said I would never wear a scarf or headwrap because I thought it made me look like a cancer victim.  But that headwrap is beautiful (thanks to all of you who complimented the wrap), and comfortable, and I am going to wear it proudly, especially when he is wearing one of his "comfy" but not my favorite tshirts.  You see, he told me that he prefers me in a wig or a pink ballcap; I told him I prefer it when he wears a golf shirt.  He has lots and lots of golf shirts and tshirts, I have one headwrap and a handful of scarves.  This could make for an interesting and fun wardrobe battle!!! 

Five down, three to go!


  1. Sounds like it was a very full day. But it does seem like things are moving along great! Hope your big thirst goes away soon.

    Thanks for sharing


  2. You are just a great patient. I'm sure they love you at the treatment center. I'm am very happy you're doing so well. What are the radiation complications you mentioned?


  3. Elaine - I think it s related to the fact that I already had Mammosite radiation. I won't really know the whole story until I meet with the Radiation Oncologist scheduled for 9/21. I may seek more than one opinion on radiation, because I understand they will need to radiate my axilla, chest wall and the area of the intermammary nodes. Kinda scary, really, but I'm not going to worry too much until I get the experts' opinions. I may go to Boston for one consult although I don't want to have radiation in Boston as I would have to drive in every single day for seven weeks. That just sounds daunting.

  4. Michelle - you go girl. Love the wrap and the positive attitude. We're here for you.


  5. Michelle, your tumor marker news is just awesome. That must have given you so much encouragement.

    You are so brave about all these nasty treatments. I hope the radiation issues get resolved and that those treatments go as smoothly as possible.

  6. Michelle I so can relate to the Benadryl. 50mg by pills I get somewhat tired but IV stuff I am sleeping within 3 mins.

    I am so happy to hear your numbers are going down. You are a beautiful woman and you have dealt with this in style. I love your beautiful wrap. My prayers are there for you. God Bless you and your family.