75% done with chemo

It’s been a long day. I’m worn out.

Friday was my sixth chemo. Two more to go! Yay.

Met with the physician assistant before chemo. She said it’s sort of unusual to see so much hand and foot numbness after the first Taxol treatment – usually, it progresses as you go along. Bottom line, they didn’t make any changes to chemo, but if this treatment is equally as bad in the “numbness” area, they are proably going to have to reduce my dose. Taxol can cause permanent nerve damage. Coincidentally, in my semi-private chemo room, I sat with another woman who is now being treated for metastatis after 7 years in recovery and she still can’t feel her toes from her Taxol treatments in 1999.

The good news is the PA said the hand and foot blistering and redness was generally a first-time thing. Since it started on Saturday morning (in the very early hours) the last time and I haven’t seen it yet as of Saturday night this time, I may have dodged it!

She said to expect the nerve pain to return about 36 hours after treatment. That is when it hit me the first time. This time, however, I am prepared with an arsenal of drugs and instructions to “pre-load” my medication. That means I have started taking ibuprofen this morning and will probably take some Percoset before bedtime. Then, I will stay on the “heavy rotation” with the painkillers until I no longer notice pain when I go a little past the dose times.

I will NOT be in pain this time. I may be in bed asleep, but I will not be in pain.

I have started having a supersensitivity in my neck and shoulders tonight. I think this happened last time, too. Not sure whether that’s chemo or the Neulasta shot.

As for everyone else …
We had a long day today. Went out for a great breakfast with Mark & Tanya. Then, drove to Terre Haute to see Russ and pick up Colleen (who spent the night with my mom). I didn’t actually go in to see Russ. I am having a lot of trouble coping with him dying all of a sudden. It is making a lot of frightening feelings surface in me about the possibility of dying from cancer. There are just so many issues around this – even at his age. What it does to the family. What it takes away from his life. The expense, the fear, the pain … I could go on. It’s too much for me to process.

Troy had a very good talk with Russ, considering his condition. It was good for me to hear about this conversation, even though I couldn’t be in the room. Russ is extremely weak. I’ve heard plenty of “end of life” stories from people and it certainly seems like he can’t last much longer. However, he is awake occasionally, still talking a bit, but very, very weak. He has been in bed since Monday, except for two extremely brief periods. He refuses food and most fluids. He refuses medications. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, but sometimes complains of pressure points hurting. He said that he wants to die and feels ready to go.

We took Colleen over to Russ & Jan’s for a visit, but Colleen didn’t really express an interest to see Russ. We were totally letting her take the lead. She did ask where he was and we told her he was sleeping, but she really seemed more interested in when he was going to get up so she could watch the TV in the bedroom rather than understand that he was really sick. She did ask us a few questions in the car on the way home, but who knows how much of all of this she is or isn’t getting? As with any big thing with a kid her age, you just have to keep an open book on the subject and answer questions as the come up. At least, I hope that’s what we should do. We are following our gut on this one.

I haven’t had the time or energy to call my brother or sister-in-law all week. Maybe tomorrow. My mom tells me today that Dennis is “up and down.” He’s in a lot of pain. So far, all is to be expected, but it just stinks for him. Can you imagine such a freak accident turning your life upsidedown like that in a moment? I feel terrible for him and just wish there was something more we could do for the whole family.

My dad, who I haven’t mentioned recently, is doing very well. His knees are really bothering him, but he’s taking it with only minor complaining! The knees are what started this whole heart business. He was going in for knee replacement, but they required clearance from his cardiologist – who then spotted the blockages that forced the double heart bypass. (His joke is, “I went in for new knees, but I didn’t have the heart for it.”) So, as soon as he gets clearance and feels up to it, he’ll be back in for knee replacement. Right now, though, he’s puttering around as he can. He was thrilled to get back in the garage and get his hands dirty. (He thinks clean hands are “disgusting.” If there isn’t grease under the nails, what good is it?) He also had a new fancy lawnmower to show off today. So, he’s in very good spirits and doing pretty well, under the circumstances.

I’m off to bed. I’m exhausted and starting to hurt, so I have to get some pain meds in me.


Author: rosie

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  1. I love your new bald picture. I think you are just as beautiful as you have always been! Ya know…without hair to distract anyone…your big gorgeous eyes really stand out! I’m contacting Hollywood RIGHT NOW!!!!!

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  2. Just checking in, Rosie! Not to worry – bald is beautiful.:-)

    I lived in Chicago for 25 years and only went to Taste once. You’re a braver woman than I am.

    Good luck tomorrow!


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