Sunday, July 24, 2011

Days 15-21: How To Finish Strong

Day 15: Went in for my weekly blood test, nothing big happened. My veins have held up pretty well over chemo, I didn't have to switch to a portcath! One thing though: when I got my bloodwork back my hemoglobin and RBC counts were both a little bad and I let it psyche me out to the point where I MIGHT have gotten "placebo fatigue". Knowledge is both a power and a burden, be sure to always check yourself!

Day 16: Today was an interesting experience. I went in for my final chemo treatment and unfortunately my nurse completely missed my vein the first time around. Usually this isn't a problem except that we thought she was "there" (as in had the iv placed properly in the target vein), and dressed the IV. 5 minutes later my forearm was in a world of pain as the saline hydration drip was pumping into my tissue/muscles rather than a vein! Had I received any of my bleomycin through this IV line, the toxicity likely would've 1. burned my skin, 2. caused mutations somehow, 3. nobody but scientific researchers know 3 and let's keep it that way.

So how can you avoid this? Signs your line is misplaced and needs to be removed IMMEDIATELY:
1. Pain around the site.
2. The area around the site looks puffy or swollen.
3. pressing the area around the IV site makes a squishy sound (which still haunts me).
4. You're not getting a blood return in the IV when the nurse checks for it.

Alert your nurse when these happen because it is IMPERATIVE that no chemo is pumped into you if your IV isn't properly placed. If it's just saline the pain/puffiness will easily be absorbed within 5 minutes and you're good to go.

Day 17: That last hit of bleo was a double edged sword; it was a HUGE mental victory knowing no more toxic drugs would be entering my system... but then that bleo shot knocked me down more than any of the previous ones had. Day 17 was spent just relaxing in front of the TV, with this weird taste in my mouth (from the bleo) and that taste resulting in a little nausea.. sort of like you're constantly forced to taste a food you don't like and when you drink water/swallow your saliva, it's like you're swallowing that food.. pretty unappetizing.

Day 18: The bleo's got a pretty steady grip on me still, I actually had to take another Reglan today just to make it through without wanting to throw up. Unfortunately whether I wanted to or not... yeah. Though you may not feel it, during chemo there is always a possibility of the nausea instantly overwhelming you or your stomach rejecting something for no good reason.. such is life under the chemo spell.

Day 19 and 20: I've finally come to terms with the fact that I have/will have for a while, mild peripheral neuropathy in my hands, no biggie though. To be honest, the only thing to report is that I'm living real life again at this point with two exceptions: 1. I'm ALWAYS a little tired (like literally eternal tiredness) 2. I'm really out of shape and can't do much physical activity without getting tired quickly.

Day 21: Hung out with some people as usual and tried to see how much physical activity I could take playing spikeball. The answer? Not much, and I think that's the most annoying part of this whole process. my new 100% is like 60% of my old 100% and it's really hard for me to even get to my new 100%. My mind is now wandering to my CT scan tomorrow morning..

And that's BEP Chemotherapy for you. Week 1 is the roughest, Week 2 is okay, and Week 3 is the most bearable. If you ever have any questions, feel free to post a comment and I'll be happy to answer. I get an email anytime anyone comments and I check my email often. Plus I'll probably read through this every once in a while to remind myself that though sometimes things may seem bad, EVERYTHING is manageable if you're willing to take the time to understand and willing to work on the details.

Because I watched Toy Story 2 yesterday: "To infinity, and beyond!"

1 comment:

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