Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chemo log 11 my first dose of carbo/ taxol

The week of August 9th was packed full of events. Corbin started 1st grade, Mason started his new pre-school and I started my next round of chemo with my very 1st dose of carboplaten and taxol. It is completely appropriate that the first week of school have all this chaos. Life is busy and I am thankful for every moment. Here are my two beautiful boys on their 1st day of school.

Part of me loves to get back to the routine. I love to see the boys learning and growing. School is that place where my boys start building their own lives and I am enjoying watching their minds just take it all in. I however am not a fan of the morning rush to get us all to our destinations in a timely manner. I probably say "quick, quick" a million times every morning. My schedule is pretty tight from the moment I leave the house until we return around 3:00. The good news is it leaves us plenty of time in the afternoons and evenings for homework, dinner and even a little fun.

My first dose of carbo/taxol was on 9/12. My dear friend Jen went along for all the chemo fun. This new regime was suppose to take 4 hours. I factored for 5 hours just in case something came up. We arrive a little before nine and I am the only one in the whole place for awhile. I let the nurses know that I am on a tight schedule and would they plug me in as quickly as possible. I don't start treatment until 9:30.....I don't have much wiggle room. I remind them again that I really need to be on my way by 2:15 at the latest. It is not only me, but Jen has to be home to get her kids off the bus and we only have one car. I tell myself to breathe as I get hooked up to the pre-meds.

I think I start off with a giant dose of Benadryl. This could either wind me up or make me drowsy. The purpose of this drug is to lower the chances of my body having an allergic reaction to the chemical that the taxol is suspended in. I really love the sound of that, so during the drip drip drip of the Benadryl I start wondering if my body is going to have some freak reaction to the next IV. Nothing like feeling the anxiety build, this 5 hour tour is off to a great start.

The pre-meds go off with out a hitch. Now I get to see if I am going to have a reaction, they start the drip off sloooow, and I mean slow. Seriously Jen and I are watching and there is a good 20 seconds between drips. I of course call a nurse to make sure it is working properly, she reports yes, they speed it up in stages to make sure you don't have a reaction. I am a practical person, and this little bit makes no sense to me. This was like slowly taking my IV up to cruising speed for fear of a reaction. It apparently takes 2 hours for the drip to be advanced to its maximum rate. Great, I am not going to be finished until around 3:15. Time to call in reinforcements to pick-up the boys, and get Jen back to town. Thankfully Kate had a free hour to drive to PV and pick up Jen. They in turn helped with the boys and aunt Dan-Dan stepped in to help too. I love how the chaos just works out and I am so blessed to have the help of some really wonderful people.

Physically the treatment seems fine. I get my nuelasta shot on the way out the door, this is suppose to boost my white blood cells after treatment. I head home around 3:30 my kids are there waiting for me and I am worn out. I never know if it is the chemicals or the emotional toll that is so exhausting. I put something easy together for dinner and I turn in early with the boys. However, this treatment gave me insomnia, though I am completely tuckered out I can not sleep. My mind is zooming with all the toxins in my blood and sleep eludes me until about 2:00 AM.

I rise and shine the next morning and get the kids to school and myself to work. I don't feel that horrible, just dead tired from no sleep and there is a little chemo-fog in my brain. I make it through the day without any serious side effects. Towards late afternoon I start to slow down, by evening I am ready to collapse and the bone pain sets in. That's right my bones hurt, and joints too. This could be a side effect of the chemo or the neulasta. I spend the entire weekend on aleve and advil. The anti-inflammatories barely manages the pain, every step I took was very tender. At least I wasn't throwing up too, so I do have that going for me.

By the following Monday the pain had subsided. My energy levels seemed to be returning quickly. I start to feel pretty good. I have been walking in the evenings with the boys and the exercise helps clear my head. I am at this point with my physical body where I don't know how to read the signs very well. My joints hurt and I wake up stiff everyday. I am not sure if it is from the added activity, or the medicine. Like so many question I probably will never know.

Another side effect of the new chemo is that I am starting to lose my eyebrows and eyelashes. The fallout is slow but definitely happening. These two features are way more important then the hair on your scalp. It will be interesting to see what my face is like without them. I can always draw on eyebrows, but I have never been really good at this with my eyebrows as guides. The results could be a little scary. In the end all the hair will come back. I am grateful everyday that my body is coping with all the medicine as well as it is.

Tomorrow I am off to Scottsdale to see Dr. Berardi for the final check on my expanders. We are thankfully up to size and I will not have to be making all these trips to Phoenix every week. I will have to live with these uncomfortable expanders until probably sometime in December when my permanent implants will be put in. Hooray for new boobs, I never thought that Santa would be putting those in my stocking. Jen is going to the Valley with me tomorrow so I will have some company, and we get to go out for a nice lunch.

Thursday 9/2 I am scheduled to receive my 2nd dose of carbo/taxol. It seems like this ride just doesn't slow down. One minute I am at the Dr. for a lump and the next minute I am here, halfway through treatment for cancer. Wild, at this hour it feels kind of like a dream, I have travelled into the unknown for the better part of this year and I am still on that train going full speed. I guess that doesn't make me so different from anyone else. We all move forward into the unknown, all we can do is enjoy today.

I am thankfully up to the present.

Drink water and breathe.....


  1. Hi Sarah,
    I am always amazed at your valor & humor throughout your treatments. You are my hero !!!

    Take care & I will see you soon (if I stay in C.V. long enough to visit the restaurant).

  2. good share. Isolated the compound from the bark of the Pacific yew tree, Taxus brevifolia, and noted its antitumor activity in a broad range of rodent tumors. [url=]Taxol [/url] has since become an effective tool of doctors who treat patients with lung, ovarian, breast cancer, and advanced forms of Kaposi's sarcoma.