Thursday, October 23, 2008

Chemo - Round 3

Yesterday was my third treatment. I usually only post on my 'good days', but I think I'm going to try posting every day during the next 3 week cycle, as a record of the ups and downs of a typical chemo cycle.

The first week is usually a time of 'anything goes'. Nausea, fatique, and various intestinal problems (I won't get into that... just use your imagination) are all common side effects. You can generally feel like you have a bad flu. I haven't had much nausea and I still have energy, probably because I'm still on the steroids. Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the steroids is increased appetite - I've been eating anything not nailed down over the past 3 days. Weight gain is common.

From day 7 to 14 is when you are at most risk for infection. Your white blood cell count can drop and your immune system is compromised. I have to watch carefully for a fever because if that happens you have to be admitted to hospital because you probably have an infection somewhere and your body has nothing to fight it. I've had bone pain, muscle pain, mouth sores and fatique during this time. You can also have numbness in the hands and feet. They put oven mitts packed with ice on me during chemo to try and prevent this (and to prevent the nails from turning black and sometimes falling off). Numbness in the limbs is not a good thing, because the damage can sometimes be permanent.

Towards the end of the 2nd week, the effects typically start to ease up and week three is my 'play week'. I've felt well enough in the 3rd week to hike, bike and do some other activities. I'm usually rushing around that week to get things done before the cycle starts all over again.

Another side effect of chemo is that it can age your body up to 20 years. With this being my 2nd round, that puts me at 20 years older than my mother, which may explain why she can run circles around me at 70!

No comments: