Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Final Poison

Sorry to be silent for a few days.

Today is the last of my three Cisplatin (chemotherapy) infusions.

In the first two cycles the infusion day was pretty uneventful. I have felt a little weird in the evening but not too bad. It's the following 3-5 days that I've felt off, due to the anti-nausea medications I take during that period.

In the first two cycles, that caused me to be silent for the rest of the week following chemo. We'll see.

I had some very good days last week. Wednesday was pretty decent, and Thursday and Friday I almost felt normal except for "eating" through a tube.

Last week Progeny the Elder attended Girl's Rock Camp in Boston. It was her second year. In one week, campers learn an instrument (PtE chose drums this year), form a band, compose a song and rehearse it. Then on Saturday there is a "concert" in a real music venue in Brighton where each band performs their song before a screaming audience of 100-200 parents and friends. I really didn't want to miss that.

We tried to plan ahead for feeding and hydration, and we took two cars so that I could arrive not long before Progeny the Elder's band (The Lone Wolf's) would perform and leave right after.

But it was still too much. I was exhausted the rest of the day.

Then Sunday was a not-so-good day. The mucous production level changes from day to day and Sunday it was at 11. When it's flowing that fast I can't keep up and then drainage from The Sinus Infection That Won't Go Away makes it to my stomach and makes it feel very sour. Anti-nausea medicine (Zofran) didn't work completely. I even tried a Tums but that didn't help either.

We have almost all my drugs in liquid form now so I can put them in my tube. We realized later Sunday that the liquid Omeprazole (Prilosec) separates quickly and we may not have been shaking it, or shaking it well enough, before each daily dose. So I may have been getting widely varying actual doses. We're being more careful now, but that could have contributed to Sunday's stomach troubles.

They continued on Monday. I was trying to feed at 7:00 AM. Little Sister came downstairs and was sitting with me. She asked how my stomach was and at that moment it started to feel quite bad. Thirty seconds later I was running to the bathroom. I vomited up the small amount I had fed, plus A Very Large Volume of other contents. I had put in 2.5 liters of fluid during the night and that all came up. Plus food from the day before.

Clearly my stomach has not been emptying.

Yesterday I had IV fluids again and the team all worked with me to figure it out. The main solution is to take Reglan before eating. That's a normal part of the routine in the three days post-chemo but this is the first time I've taken it outside that period. So far, so good last night and this morning.

I have been extremely anxious about the last chemo. The first two went well, but both of those occurred before the radiation effects kicked in. In fact, it was the Sunday after the last chemo that the Mucous Wars began. I have to really hack and cough to get the mucous out of my throat. Also, when the mucous is especially thick, a cough will sometimes only bring it partway up. Having that glob of mucous half way out of my throat sometimes makes me gag. I have to consciously relax and give it a second until I can cough again and get it the rest of the way out. I worry that, since the anti-nausea drugs just barely tamp down the chemo-induced nausea that that hacking and coughing and gagging are going to cause me to vomit a lot.

But maybe I'm making up a problem that won't exist.

We shall see.

So maybe I'll miraculously feel great this week and you'll hear from me soon. Or maybe not. But I'll be back with you as soon as I'm able.

Regardless of what happens, it will be a huge relief to be finished with chemotherapy. Then radiation ends next Thursday.

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