Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chemo sucks

I had my second chemotherapy infusion on Tuesday. As always, I got an intravenous dose of steroids before the DTIC (Dacarbazine) and Carboplatin. The steroids keep me jazzed for about a day and a half, which is a good thing in this case, since I had to be onsite at a client in downtown Manhattan the next day.

Unfortunately, after the high comes a crash, along with flu-like symptoms, so once I got back from the city on Wednesday, I’ve done little more than sleep: 5:30 pm to 8:30 am, then a nap from 11 am to 3 pm. And, hard to believe, I’m ready for more sleep now.

The Fentanyl pain patch seems to be helping. My doctor initially prescribed a very low dose, so as not to make me stupid from grogginess. This time she increased it to handle the back pain more effectively. I’m sleeping better.

I asked my doctor what are the chances I’ll come back in three weeks and have low platelets again. “Not likely,” she said, since she reduced my chemo dosages significantly this time. For the first infusion she wanted to hit the new disease hard, so she gave me the maximum amount. It made for a rough month, including the anemia. This treatment should be a bit more tolerable.

We talked about my nearly complete lack of energy; climbing a flight of stairs or walking at my normal pace leaves me winded, for example. She recommended American Ginseng. Her other patients have reported good results in combating that chemo fatigue, so I’ve started taking that.

Before I left the examination room for the treatment floor, she reviewed my blood work lab report and was pleased with what she saw. One count in particular was down from 150 to 130; normal is 90. I don’t remember the component name, but it’s a measure of bone disease.

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