AC Chemo #2 - A little rougher road...
Chemo treatment #2 arrived, and my hair has held on. I have noticed a significantly increased amount of shedding and some sensitivity at my scalp, so I was VERY ginger and gentle when I fixed it this morning, and made sure to pull the top back so I would leave it alone all day. The last thing I wanted was for my hair to fall out everywhere while I was getting my chemo treatment. I packed a hat, just in case.
Regret #1 -- my appointment was at 9:45, and since I'm opposed to waking up too early, I didn't have time to get a workout and shower in before my appointment. I knew I wouldn't be able to get much more than a walk in for the next several days, so that was disappointing. Instead I took my time drinking my coffee and working on my bible study.
It was another long wait in the car in the parking (waiting) lot, so I didn't actually go inside for labwork until after 11am. Then I was able to meet with my doctor, where I filled him in on the last two weeks of symptoms. The meeting went well. He seemed as pleased as I've been in how I've reacted so far, and he issued me a warning: "Your hair will probably come out this weekend. And people may treat you differently once it's gone and you "look" sick." I know he's right, but 1) I'm not seeing many people these days, and 2) he doesn't know that I have a pretty thick skin and 3)I'm not afraid of talking about the pink elephant in the room.
The way I see it, if I acknowledge the fact that I'm bald, going through chemo, and I'M not bothered by talking about it...then people ought to be able to interact with me without much problem. So make note -- if you have a question about me or my health or the experience, ask it! If you think I'll be offended, I probably won't be (at least not for long). But also know...I'm probably more interested in what funny COVID memes you've seen this week and what's happening in YOUR life than re-hashing my symptoms (which I'm already thinking about constantly).
Ok...back to the appointment. I felt like an old pro getting all set up at my chair. Extension cord, check. Journal, check. Book to read, check. Headphones, check. Snacks, check. (They let me take my mask off to eat my cheez-its!)
The process is long, but goes by fast with all the messaging and chatting that I did with several friends & family members. And it's completely painless....although looking at this picture now, it's making me feel VERY nauseus.
Ben was there to pick me up around 1:40pm and we headed home. Mostly, I felt great, except for feeling very puffy and a little light-headed. I was glad he was there to drive me home.
When I got home, I had a huge bag of happy treats from my friends from church. They know what I like---accessories!
While I was feeling good, Ben and I went up to the park behind our house to walk a few laps. Seemed like trying to "walk off some toxins" was a good idea. He left after a few laps to go mow the lawn and I kept on, walking a total of about 50 minutes.
The rest of the afternoon, I sat on the back porch, answered a bunch of messages, and read a little of my book. But about 4:00pm, I started feeling pretty awful. Nauseus (I took some more meds for that) and had a headache. After Chemo #1 I had started to feel bad around 6pm (though not this bad) so it seemed to set in earlier since my appointment was a little earlier this week. It definitely hit harder and faster this time though.
I managed to eat a small plate of food around 5:30, but then said goodnight to everyone and headed up to get in bed by 6:30pm. Reading made me nauseous, sitting or standing made me dizzy, noises made my head hurt. So sleep seemed best. I fell asleep from about 7 to 8pm and asked Ben to bring me a little more food so that I could try and get some more into my stomach before I fell asleep for the night.
This may be the slowest and smallest meal I've ever eaten--and I had to ask Ben to cut the chicken into tiny pieces for me so I could eat them more slowly. He's like the BEST nurse ever. And I managed to finish all but one bite.
He hung out with me while I ate (glad to have that chair in our bedroom for moments like this) and by 10pm, I was ready to go back to sleep. Thankfully, I slept well, and only woke up once in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom -- but I could tell my stomach was still feeling like it was seasick on a cruise ship.
When I woke up at 6am, I knew it would be a good idea to eat before I started moving. So I reluctantly woke Ben up and asked him to make me some toast and an egg. Which he did, while barely awake. I was able to eat that well, and had enough energy to get up, get dressed, check on the status of my hair (still shedding, but not enough to shave it yet!), make some coffee, empty the dishwasher, and do my bible study lesson for the day. But by 8:30am, I was totally pooped and now I'm camped out on the couch.
Already I can feel my skin changing over to very dry and sensitive (which it did last time, but then switched back to normal) and my eyes are very dry (which is new this time). And boy am I glad to have a new tube of lip balm for every room of the house! I need it constantly.
So far, it's been significantly harder this time than last time, which worries me about the next couple of days. But I'll take it easy, I have a great support team taking care of me, and I will check back in here with an update and wrap up of how the weekend went early next week.