Colon Cancer Sucks Ass

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Maybe It's Not That Bad

I've now completed my fourth session of chemotherapy. Each treatment has gotten progressively easier. I'm not naive enough to think that is going to continue. I'm guessing that it won't get any easier than it was this time. In fact, many of the side effects have more of a cumulative effect. This became very apparent Sunday night when I decided to risk eating ice cream. It had been almost two weeks since my last infusion and between previous treatments I was able to consume cold beverages. I ate the ice cream despite the burning sensation in my mouth - with the knowledge that it was just a sensastion and my mouth was not actually burning. My nerve ending are just all out of wack. I'm guessing that I won't be able to try that again unless I get another week off for blood count recovery.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I've been having issues with my white cell and hemoglobin counts. The anemia from the low hemoglobin has been around for a long time. I was hospitalized for this last May and it has been a struggle to get it up to a normal count because my iron stores are so depleted. As I try to increase my iron consumption, the chemo is working against that and attacking the hemoglobin. After my week off, my count went up to 10.5 (11.5 is the very lowest of normal), but this week it was back down to 9.7. If it drops below 9, I'll have to get a blood transfusion. The white cell count is also low. That was the reason for the extra week off between treatments. My count had dropped down to 2.2 (3.2 is the low end of normal). With the week off, it went up to 4.2, but following my last treatment it's back down to 3.1. I'll have to wait and see what effect this week's treatment is having. If my white count continues to drop, I'll have to start getting shots to increase production. I'm already getting the shots for the hemoglobin. I'm getting pumped full of so much medication.

They cut my steroid dosage in half because of the breakout/rash all over my neck, chest and back. It actually made a big difference. I still kept the nausea away and enabled me to eat, but the breakout is much better. I was told that the steroid is not for long term use. They want me to gradually stop taking it. I hope that the nausea won't come back.

They also put me on a whole new drug this time. My neck, jaw, and sholders have been extremely tense. This gets worse any time that I am exposed to cold. I talked to my doctor about this and he thinks that although it is partially from the chemo, it may also be caused by anxiety. I'm trying ibuprofen to handle the discomfort, but he also prescribed Ativan (an anti-axitey med) to try as well. The ibuprofen has been helping during the day. I tried the Ativan Tuesday night and for the first time in months, I slept through the night. Last night... not so much, but still ONE WHOLE NIGHT OF SLEEP!!!!!



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