Chemo ReCap: Week 2/12

I am relieved to report continued smooth sailing for the second week of Taxol and Herceptin.

Weight:  Up slightly to 118.5 lbs, probably due to over indulging in yummy food Sunday night (Thanks, Truc!).

General condition:  99% of normal.  Still exercising every day, more recently with either a 7 mile walk or an hour on the stationary bicycle.  Am able to sleep longer periods at night again (>6hrs.) so afternoon naps haven’t been necessary.

Blood Tests (11/7):  All well within normal.  Platelets are back up after last week’s drop.  Red and white blood cell counts are falling slightly.

Hair Loss:  45+hairs Sunday.  40+ hairs Monday.  I would have guessed that hours of direct subzero exposure to my scalp would cause frostbite or at least freezer burn.  And yet all looks ok, just slightly drier and itchier than normal.  Here are some pictures of my hair yesterday.

Compare Week 2’s shots with those from two months ago when I trimmed off 9 inches.  There are no obvious differences except that it’s now a bit longer and less coiffed (per Penguin Cold Cap regulations).  Perhaps it’s less shiny as well, but that could be attributed to the flash.  I am a little surprised to see how quickly my hair grew (surely not a trend to be continued over the next few months).  BTW, getting a short cut in September turned out to be a smart move. Gently caring for my hair with minimal washing and combing is painstaking but feasible.  I can only imagine how much more difficult and stressful this would have been with long hair.

Body Aches:  None.

Peripheral Neuropathy:  None.

Nausea and Vomiting:  A few periods of very slight queasiness Sat-Sun.  This is the sort of treatable quasi-nausea I experienced during pregnancy when I inadvertently let my stomach become empty.  Just in case, I’m keeping crackers on the nightstand and ginger chews in my purse.

Intestinal Upset:  None.  Conditions are back to normal since I opted to eschew the prescription anti-nausea meds.

Mouth Sores:  Two more mouth sores and a generally dry mouth (even with plenty of fluids) popped up Wednesday night after infusion #2.  For some annoying reason, I seem to notice these and the queasiness mainly in the middle of the night when I’m in otherwise deep sleep. The dry mouth resolved itself after a day, and since I started rinsing my mouth nightly with a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in ~1/4 cup of warm water, the mouth sores have either stopped causing any discomfort and/or disappeared altogether.  I will be switching to sucking on regular stick popsicles during tomorrow’s treatment.  I suspect the push-up Otter Pop format wasn’t properly cooling the insides of my cheeks, where the latest sores had popped up.

Nails:  Taxol supposedly attacks the fast growing cells in finger and toe nails, as they do the hair.  The nails can weaken, split, discolor, and even lift completely.  Two easy but uncomfortable techniques to help prevent this damage are similar to Cold Caps: putting all twenty digits into icy water or bags of frozen peas during treatment.  I don’t feel like freezing yet another part of my body, so I’m simply protecting the nails with clear hardener. And just for fun, I’ve been adding a color coat to my toenails on top of the nail hardener. They’ve never looked more polished!

Leave Your Comment

Your email will not be published or shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>