I’m trying to play catch up, so unfortunately this post won’t be as complete as my Round 1 and Round 6 posts. 3 of the rounds went pretty smoothly and then round 5 hit. Round 5 has been the worst so far. Go figure…you would think by then, your body would be accustomed to the barrage of toxic chemicals. Or maybe at that point it is tired of fighting the side effects and put up a white flag of surrender.
Round 2 :: May 6, 7 & 8
Round 2 was slow and fairly uneventful. We changed the order of my infusions and pushed the rituxan as a two day regimen again due to my reactions during round 1. No reactions this time around, thankfully. The neulasta shot side effects are miserable, much worse than the actual chemo days. Bone pain, back spasms and feeling like the worse case of the flu ever for 3-4 days after. That, I could do without. Minor hair loss, definitely nothing to complain about. I have gobs of hair, so no one else even notices, just me and my shower drain.
Round 3 :: June 3, 4 & 5
Labs look good, so round 3 is a go. My labs are barely rising in between treatments and still staying within the “normal” ranges. I’m not even sure how to feel about that. I haven’t been “normal” since 2006 (dx 2008, thanks military docs :-/).
As per round 2, we have continued my infusions in an alternate manner. The round 1 plan which backfired was pre-meds (aloxi for nausea, steroids and benadryl to help advert an allergic reaction), then rituxan, then fludarabine, finishing up with cyclophosphamide. Now instead, I get aloxi and steroids, fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, then benadryl and rituxan. Nothing about my cancer is “normal”, so why should by treatment plan be?
Round 4 :: July 1, 2 & 3
No complaints here. I had my normal Neulasta side effects, but nothing unbearable. Even managed a 5 day long, miserably hot trip to Central California Junior Olympics for Jacey 2 weeks later.
A few days before my 5th round, Dr. T wanted another ct scan to check my progress visually. My labs have been great, all normal or even a little “low” but some things still can’t be “seen” there. Scans were great. No enlarged lymph nodes or spleen anymore…woohoo!
Round 5 :: July 30, 31 & August 1
And, round 5. Round 5 was horrible. Don’t let that fake smile fool you, I was in no mood to be there this time around. I was supposed to be in Tahiti or somewhere else just as beautiful, enjoying sand, waves and a fruity drink for our 15th anniversary. Not sitting in an infusion chair. Not seeing the finish line, because that round 6 possibility was now a fact. Maybe my attitude had a lot to do with how bad I felt this time around or maybe it was just a fluke.
The actual chemo infusions went fine as normal (round 1 was the only hiccup with those). My Neulasta side effect were absolutely miserable. Usually by 3-4 days post injection I am feeling mostly better. Not this time. It took a full week to even feel somewhat better. In that week, I also had a semi-formal event to attend (Bryan’s SNCO Induction) and am truly not sure how I made it through that night. All I really wanted to do was curl into a ball and cry. And sleep.
SOOOOO very thankful that round is over.
My chemo nurse Melanie thinks that the reason my Neulasta effects were so bad this time around, is because the chemo took my WBC counts way too low and the injection was having to work overtime to bring them back up. If that is the case, I am definitely not looking forward to round 6.
Up until round 5, my port had not been perfect but mostly played nice. Not this time. My port just keeps getting deeper and deeper, wigglier and wigglier. I can no longer be accessed by a more standard 0.75″-1″ needle and instead need the 1.5″ needle. 2″ is the max they make. Melanie sent me home with a 1.5″ since they aren’t very common, just incase I end up in the ER/hospital or such and they can’t get an IV in. Thank goodness for numbing spray (even if I get freezer burn), a super high pain threshold/tolerance level and fantastic nurses. It may not be fun, but at least the have compassion and truly care when it hurts.
Round 6 soon, NOW I can see the finish line!