Archive for February, 2014

Last Five Chemos and the Aftermath

Nov-Dec-Jan 2012/13 Chemo 

I’m sorry. I know I haven’t posted but I assure those readers who don’t know me in real life that I am still alive. Between going back to work part-time, chemo brain, and side-effects getting progressively worse I just didn’t post. 😦 So again, sorry. This is a LONG catch-up post.

Nov 14, 2012 was chemo number 8.  My Facebook posts for that day-

Sitting in the lounge chair getting hooked up for session 8. Friday afternoon I will be 3/4 of the way through! Doc is letting me hold off an extra week for number 9. That set my schedule to have Thanksgiving, Em’s bday AND Christmas week fall on my good weeks. A nice little break….


bedtime? /sigh if I’m able to head into work tomorrow I will prob be in late. WBC still low so part of my decision revolves around how typhoid  ***  is feeling. don’t want to sit next to a contagious entity.

That weekend I had headaches and terrible constipation problems. I had to call in the cavalry and get my sister to bring over various tortur … er …  products to try.

I worked the next week and looked forward to an extra good week to reset my schedule. Plans were made to go out with Em and her friends for her birthday. Well plans made don’t necessarily turn into plans implemented. I was sick that entire week, nausea and headaches. I didn’t even babysit. I did not want to chance passing something on to the baby. So much for an extra good week. /sigh

Dec 5, 2012 was chemo number 9. Facebook post that day-

Home from number nine… have a CT scan scheduled for Tues 18th, before my next spa session on the 19th… did find out my last CEA number… still in normal range

Constipation, cold sensitivity, and neuropathy in fingers and feet. No actual bloody noses but blowing my nose I would end up with bloody kleenex. Fatigue all weekend.

I just saw that this is the time period that I was first introduced to the WunderGlo Foundation and the inestimable Gloria Borges. Just over a year later and she is gone. Excuse my language but what a fucking waste. This woman had so much to give! She gave and gave until the very end.

Facebook post from the day before my ct scan –

CT scan tomorrow. My first scan since starting chemo. My last scan, pre-chemo was clear and my cancer marker numbers are still in normal range but I am really nervous about tomorrow. Scanxiety… still waiting for the other shoe to drop….

Dec 19, 2012 was chemo number 10. Facebook post that day-

Ok, scan came back clean! Still dancing with NED 

Fatigue, fatigue, fatigue. I believe I spent the entire 5 days in bed. Bloody Kleenexes turned into huge, thumb-sized clots when I blow my nose. ugh Neuopathy not really going away during my good weeks. Cold sensitivity gets better but doesn’t go away.

The next week, my good week, was Christmas. I got to spend time with the kids and the lovely Miss Moira for her first Christmas.

Jan 3, 2013 was chemo number 11. A day late due to scheduling needs. So tired, my Facebook post is from unplug day that Saturday –

Unplugged from 11 of 12 sessions. I’m a day late as chemo got pushed to Thursday instead of Wed. Unfortunately, my WBC is low again so I get to go in tomorrow for the nasty Neulasta shot. Not looking forward to going in to work on Monday, I’m going to be sick and sore. /sigh

One thing that did help quite  a bit with the Neulasta is to start taking Claritin a few days before your shot and continue for a few days afterwards. It did cut down on some of the deep bone pain.

UGH, what a FUBAR kind of day already. Went in at 930 to get my shot but parked at the wrong spot and had to walk to the other side of the hospital to register at the ER, then had to walk back to start to the Out Patient Treatment room only to have nurse tell me it has to be 24 hours since unplug to get the shot. She let me sleep in a recliner in the treatment room while she got it sorted out. Got sent home for a couple of hours to nap and come back at 130 to be taken up to the 6th floor to get my shot finally… I’m exhausted.. and I have pink eye… and everyone in the ER had the flu… /sigh

I cried a lot that day. I had never felt that level of fatigue before. It was downright painful. And of course crying makes your nose run, which makes you blow it more, which makes it bleed more. I believe Em was finally getting immune to seeing piles of blood soaked kleenex. Constipation? Diarrhea? I never knew what to expect. Between neuropathy and fatigue I stumbled against a lot of walls.

I didn’t end up going to work that Monday. I spent the day in bed and Em and Steve brought me dinner in bed.

Doc Phillips set me up to see a radiation oncologist just to cover all our bases. She thought my records looked great and didn’t see any need to look into radiation for me. YAY.

Jan 16, 2013 was chemo number 12 – LAST ONE Facebook posts –

plugged in for last chemo…  Doc held the oxalyplatin due to my neuropathy. We are holding off on the maintenance until the next scan and see where we are. I go back next month for a line flush and then a month later for blood work and flush. … now just have to get through this last session…


chemo is done… at least for a while. holding off on maintenance until next scan probably in April. Neuropathy has finally hit, had my first actual bloody nose, and now have the mother of all head colds…can’t breathe /sigh

This head cold whipped my butt for several days. It took me a while to recover from chemo effects.  A few days before the Super Bowl I was having cramping and gut pain and finally ended up in the ER Friday night. I did get to scare a few kids. I was in pain and crying and we have already established what happens to my nose when I cry. It’s flu season so I have a face mask on. Nose is running and itching so I rub it through the mask not stopping to think that my nose is bleeding. I’m sitting in a corner, curled up in a chair crying with a very bloody mask on my face. Kids were definitely avoiding going near my corner.

ER grade pain meds took the edge off while they tried to figure out what was wrong. Sent me up for a CT and low and behold… I had a blood clot in my mesenteric vein (abdominal vein).  Two nights spent in the hospital. Saw docs from my regular doc’s office. They started me on Warfarin.  Now Warfarin needs time to get your clotting times down. They take regular blood tests to see where you are at. In the meantime they said I would need to give myself two shots of Lovanox a day. It uses a very fine needle and is injected into the gut. They taught me how to do this and sent me home with pain meds in time to see the game.

The Lovenox shots weren’t difficult at first. It was only suppose to be for a week at most. Well of course my INR, (basically my clotting time),  was not going up to where they wanted it so I continued on the shots. The shots were causing bruising and deep hematomas on my belly.  I ended up using the shots for several extra weeks and my belly was looking like I had gone 10 rounds with Tyson. I was having difficulty finding a place to inject myself.

INR never did get up to where Doc wanted it so he decided to try me on a new drug called Xarelto. No weekly levels, don’t have to wait weeks to be off it for surgery, great. Within 4 days of starting it the hives started. I would scratch myself raw. Took a lot of benedryl and tried to live with it. Finally Doc said we were going back to the Warfarin but we weren’t going to worry about getting the INR up where he had wanted it before. So now I’m on 10mg of Warfarin every day.

End of my Troubles? No more medical issues this past year.  Monthly trips to Doc’s office for port flushes and blood work. CT scans and x-rays every four months and everything has been looking great. I made it until Dec 2013 until things weren’t looking quite so great, but that’s another post. Now you may guess at why I’m posting again.

~~ Gayla

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