Christmas – 2 Days Before the 4th Infusion of the 3rd Cycle

Happy holidays y’all!!!

It’s Tuesday morning, December 25 and I feel great! It’s been 11 days since my last infusion day, but with this chemo the real impact happens after the slow, 46 hour drip completes on Saturday afternoon, so really its been 9 days since I started feeling the effects. That’s why I get 2 weeks between infusions instead of 1 week. My next infusion begins again 2 days from now, on Thursday.

My kids are all grown up and have their own lives, and my partner Melissa & I don’t celebrate the holiday with much more than a special meal. I make lots of phone and Skype calls, and that’s it.

The main reason I’m posting is to tell you that I feel fine, and in case you want to know, to tell you about the subtle effects chemo has had on me. Don’t bother reading past this if you don’t have that morbid curiosity about the details –

  • With the 1st type of chemo my hair started falling out. You’ve already read about that.
  • This 2nd type of chemo does not affect my hair growth. In fact it’s starting to come back again. Not to worry though, because in 3 weeks I’ll be going back to 4 weekly infusions of the first type of chemo, which will clobber that tentative hair regrowth. I’ll stay smooth and unbearded.
  • My muscle strength is fading. I’m going back to weight training a week after this next round of chemo. I figure it’s not a great idea to rip muscle fibers while the chemo is killing off cells that are reproducing, but once in that little time box of metabolic recovery it makes sense to do strengthening exercises again.
  • Shortness of breath. I think that’s as much due to my lack of hard aerobic training as the chemo. At least I’m walking at least a mile a day with the pups…or are they walking me?
  • Digestion. Hm, it’s complicated and I don’t think you want to know much about this. Suffice to say that I am eating high protein and lots of greens, and medicate to control the rate things go through my digestion and to prevent things from going out backwards. This has been the first day in the cycle when I’ve been able to quit taking those meds. So…
  • I get about 3 days of “normal” digestion per cycle. This seems to be the same whether I’m on the first (3 days good out of 7) or second (3 days good out of 14 days) types of chemo.
  • Fatigue & body aches. Yep, it happens, no matter how fit you are. The days following an infusion are best described as the feeling of a flu coming on. It goes away at the same pace as my digestive recovery.
  • “Brain fog”. For me it only happens when I’m fatigued.
    • I gotta say that working from home has enabled me to put in a full time work load, and if I had to commute daily into downtown Seattle I would be severely compromised. 3+ hours in heavy, frustrating traffic would take a heavy toll on my reserve of energy. Working from home gives me the time window of high energy both for work and to get the daily home chores done.
    • I always go for 8 hours of sleep a night too. That is *really* important. This has essentially chopped a huge gouge into my social time. Most after-work get-togethers go late enough that I don’t get back home until after 10pm. I usually get up by 6:30am so ….
  • My nose was bleeding just a little when on the first type of chemo, but not at all on this 2nd type.
  • I experienced some minor swelling around my ankles and a rash in a couple of places with the 1st chemo type also, but only after the 2nd infusion. Nothing else since then or with either type of chemo.