Friday, October 24, 2014
First, I will share some good news. My hemoglobin level before I had the blood transfusion Wednesday was 7.0; when I had my CBC done yesterday, it was up to 10.8, that is a huge improvement for me! My heart rate was down too, Wednesday while I was there, it never went below 100; yesterday, the first reading was 87.
My good friend Connie drove me yesterday. It had been awhile since we had seen each other, so the time went by quickly while we talked and got caught up.
The set up they have for the infusion area at the cancer center is pretty nice. Each treatment area is divided by a short wall, just enough to feel you have some privacy yet not feel closed in. There are 15 chairs, and each one has a window and a flat screen TV. There are recliners for the patients which have heat and massage, and a regular chair for a visitor. Because of space limitations, you can only have one other person with you in the infusion area. They also encourage you to walk around and visit with the other patients if you want to do so.
I had my CBC done again, and was started on fluids. The nausea med was combined with the steroid and that was a 30 minute infusion. The actual chemo went quickly; my nurse just pushed it into my IV line with a syringe over 5 minutes. Normally, I would have to go back the next day for a Neulasta shot, but with the first chemo, I didn't need it. I guess that is because that white blood counts don't really drop that much with the first one. I will start those next Friday.
The nausea meds started making me a little sleepy before we even left the cancer center. The steroids kind of gave me a short burst of energy around 7pm that lasted a couple of hours. I got kind of antsy and couldn't sit still, even though I knew I should be sitting and resting, I was up and down out of my chair. I also had some mild stomach cramping and abdominal cramps, which I am still having today, but I've had that with steroids before, so I know that is just temporary.
The steroid they gave me, Decadron, kept me awake almost all night. I fell asleep sometime around 4am but only slept 2 hours. I got up around 7:30am to feed the kitties and went back to bed til 11am, but never really did fall back asleep. I'm thankful that I had that blood transfusion before having the chemo; having a better hemoglobin count makes the lack of sleep much easier to handle. I'm going to ask next week for something to help me sleep on those nights; I think I would actually be feeling pretty good today if it weren't for the lack of sleep. My pain level in my hip and shoulder hasn't been too bad today.
I'm just trying to stay off my feet today, and trying to get some fluids down. Except for when I got back up at 11am, I haven't really had much of an appetite today; not really having problems preventing me from eating, I'm just not hungry. But I'm trying to make myself eat a little something every 2-3 hours.
I was really hoping today to tackle some of the clutter that has piled up during the weeks I wasn't feeling good from being severely anemic, but it won't hurt to wait one more day to start on that. Even if I wait til tomorrow, I still have 5 more days before the next chemo to get things done.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
First of all, I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support!
It was a long day yesterday getting my blood transfusion, and at the cancer center, they give Benadryl as a premed. It was just a low dose, but I am sensitive to it, so I wasn't feeling very good from that. It made me tired, but at the same time kind of wired too so that I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate much on reading so I watched TV most of the time while I was there. I was kind of bummed about not feeling well enough to read, if you know me, you know if I don't feel like reading, I'm REALLY not feeling good!
After I was home a few hours though I started feeling better, and by 7pm, it felt like the Benadryl was finally wearing off. When I fed Timmy and Kallie (my kitties) their last meal of the day, I was able to bend over and pick their dishes up off the floor without feeling dizzy for a moment after standing back up. I also felt well enough to sit in my recliner to do some reading and watch a couple of TV shows before going to bed.
I also slept much better last night; before I had the transfusion, the rapid heart rate made it almost impossible to relax enough to fall asleep.
I still don't feel 100% this morning, but a lot better than I have felt in the morning for a long time. I even made scrambled eggs for breakfast, which was kind of a big deal for me, since in the last couple of weeks I didn't even have the energy to stay on my feet long enough to cook something on the stove.
I found out also that in addition to getting a CBC (complete blood count) before each chemo, I will also need to get the CBC done on my off weeks too. So even though the chemo will probably cause my hemoglobin to go down again, hopefully it won't fall to such a dangerous level again before getting a transfusion. I asked if on my off weeks if I could get my lab work done at our local hospital which is just a 5 minute drive from my house, and I was told that yes, I can do that.
And the next time, if there comes a time when I am not getting a CBC every week, if I start having those symptoms again, (the weakness, fatigue, and rapid heartbeat) I will call my oncologist and ask for a CBC. That was pretty scary having my hemoglobin so low and I never want to go through that again.
My chemo will be at 1:30pm today; I'm still a little anxious about it, but not nearly as bad as I was before. I realize now that what I thought was a case of "nerves" was actually the anemia. And even though I will need the Neulasta shot the day after each chemo, I was told I won't need it with the first one, so that is a big relief; 3 trips in a row to the cancer center is enough for one week!
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Once I got the the cancer center, and in the infusion area, my nurse drew my blood for labs and got me started on fluids. It was about an hour wait for the labs to get back, and because my hemoglobin was only 7.0, they could not do my chemo today.
My oncologist was called, and he wants me to have a blood transfusion first, which I will get tomorrow, then I will have my chemo on Thursday instead.
I'm not really surprised my hemoglobin was low, I was having symptoms of being anemic (extreme fatigue, feeling weak, pale, and a rapid heartbeat) but I wasn't expecting it to be that low. That's actually the lowest it's ever been, if I am remembering correctly. Since I haven't been on any actual cancer treatment for about 6-8 weeks though, I just attributed the tiredness to not feeling good because of my chronic pain, and the rapid heartbeat to anxiety or nerves over starting the new chemo.
In a way, it's a relief to know that my hemoglobin is low, because now I know there an explanation to why I have felt so crappy the last 2-3 weeks, and getting a transfusion can help with that.
I asked the nurse about what may have caused it to drop like that, and he couldn't tell me for sure, but he said with all the the chemo I've had in the past, and because of the cancer being in the bones, that my bone marrow is just getting "worn out".
It's been a struggle especially the last 7-9 days to just get through the day, and I haven't done much with my waking hours except to sit around. Somehow, most days I did muster up the strength to do my chair workouts, but for the parts of my workout that I can do either sitting or standing, I've been sitting instead, and I've only been doing 20 minute workouts instead of my usual 25-30 minutes. But I haven't said much about it in my blogs because I felt like I just being "lazy" and didn't want to admit to it, but now I know I was NOT being lazy, I truly couldn't do more.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
My pain clinic appointment went well. I saw the PA there, instead of my regular doctor. He's always been very helpful to talk too. He also worked at one time with my oncologist, so that helps too; he doesn't hesitate to consult him about me if he thinks it's needed, and having a background in oncology, he understands my other health issues rather than just the pain.
We talked mostly about the ongoing pain in my left hip, which is my biggest issue when it comes to pain. He is going to have me get an x-ray of it, to see if there is anything there that my last bone scan did not pick up. We'll see what those results are first, but I might also be getting a CT scan or an MRI of it too at a later date. He is hoping it will be something treatable with an injection though.
My next appointment is December 9th; the reason why I have to wait so long is that he wants to see me when my doctor is there, if it's something that can be treated with injections, and he is only there on Tuesdays. I also had to have a morning appointment so I could work it around my chemo schedule. But I am sure if it turns out to be something that needs attention before that, they will let me know.
I'm glad my pain specialist and the PA are not giving up on the hip pain issue, even if I have myself at times. This has been a problem for quite a few years; it first started when my cancer returned and spread to the bone; at that time, most of the bone mets were concentrated in that left hip. Over the years, I've developed arthritis in it, in addition to inflammation caused by the cancer and the radiation treatments I've had. When I first started getting injections, they did help, but gradually, they stopped working. But hopefully, the x-rays might be helpful in perhaps pinpointing the exact area the pain is coming from a bit more.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I had my "teaching" appointment at the cancer center this afternoon, it went fairly quickly. I got to the cancer center with almost 20 minutes to spare, and when I walked in, the nurse practitioner who was doing it was there talking to the receptionist when I walked in, and she took me right back to her office to get started.
A lot of the stuff we went over I was already familiar with, being the chemo "veteran" that I am. I also found out that I will be getting steroids with this chemo too; not too happy about that, but it's needed to prevent certain reactions. I've done steroids before with chemo, and the worst part about the steroids for me was not being able to sleep, and the feeling like my emotions were "crashing" on the day they wore off. This time, they will give me the steroids as an injection, instead of oral medication like I had before, so we will see if it's better or worse this time around.
I came home with a thick notebook full of information, and complementary digital thermometer. I also have one sheet of paperwork to fill out and bring along when I have chemo next week for the dietician.
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