I have struggled with sharing the ups and downs of this second round of chemo with you. Truthfully, I have little desire to give you the blow by blow of the treatments. And, I can’t find any humour to lighten things up.
After the first chemo my CA125 had gone down to 685 (from 1500) which I think was more a result of taking the cancer cells out of my lung. After the 2nd – it was 140! A huge relief to know the drugs are working. Round 3 was November 9 with no complications. My 4th will be November 30 (every 3 weeks) as long as my blood work is acceptable.
I have had a harder time after the chemo – 5 days of feeling terrible – bone, muscle, tendon pain with no ability to get comfortable. I am blessed to only have some nausea as long as I take the drugs for the first 3 days. I am also seeing Dr. Adam McLeod who is a Naturopathic doctor in Vancouver and also an energy healer. He started me on Mistletoe injections – yes mistletoe! It’s supposed to help your immune system. They have been using it in conjunction with chemo in Germany since the 1920’s. It actually gives you a bit of poison to kick start your immune system to fight. He says it will boost my neutrophils too. I take a bone marrow booster 24 hours after chemo for that too.
He also recommended hyperthermia treatments right after chemo. He has a machine (also from Germany) with a big round disc that is placed on the area where the cancer is – my whole middle body – it heats up the organs to help the chemo be more effective. It’s a one hour treatment and all you mainly feel is cold but the power gets up to 110 volts. Which reminds me of my Dad, who always said, “You haven’t lived until you’ve had a power shock”! It is hard to know if it is helping, but difficult to stop, in case it is helping.
This is true of all of the rituals I have added to my daily routine. It’s hard to think of giving any of them up! I’ll post a separate one just in case anyone is interested in what I am doing. You have to go with what resonates with you. There is a shitload of advice and information out there and it is overwhelming.
Of course, I’ve lost my hair again. Pre-chemo, I had my friend and hairdresser, Nicole from Axis Hair Design colour my hair blue. It was fun and a distraction. When it started falling out in clumps just before the 2nd chemo, another hairdresser friend, Marjie came to our house and shaved it. Again it was harder. I guess when you know what’s coming, it’s more difficult to accept. Being bald is a symbol of cancer and you are reminded every time you look in the mirror or catch a glimpse of your reflection in a dark window. I am using more scarves this time. The wig is still perfect and great for going out to dinner when you want to feel normal. Since it’s winter, toques are the best.
The very best medicine for me arrived on Saturday! His name is Jasper and he will be a medium sized Labradoodle. I told Sophie when I said goodbye that I needed another dog to help me get through the chemo and back in remission. It doesn’t mean I didn’t LOVE Sophie to the ends of the earth! But Jasper has certainly taken my mind off myself! I am looking forward to at least sleeping through the night soon. He is really smart, shy, and playful and he has a shoe fetish. All that and only 8 1/2 weeks old!
In summary, I have 1 bad week and 2 good weeks. I’ll take it. Yes, I’m tired but otherwise coping and enjoying the good days. Surviving treatments. Thank you to everyone for your encouragement, checking in on me and to my sisters, Linda and Bobbi, niece Melanie and Roland for getting me to chemo and staying with me for the 5 hours! Then driving me to Adam’s for the hyperthermic treatment. A long day.
With gratitude and love,