Chemo ReCap: Week 3/12

Today ends the third week of Taxol and Herceptin.  I met with my oncologist yesterday and she pointedly remarked that my continued lack of significant side effects implies neither that the adjuvant therapy is not working nor that I’ll be feeling quite as robust towards the end of the treatment. Point well taken.

Weight:  Hmmm.  Last week’s 118.5 lbs + chocolate torte + brownies + Godiva chocolates = 119.5 lbs today.  Ok, maybe I should slow down on the chocolate now, but it was totally worth it!

General condition:  99% of normal.  Running is helping to loosen up the post-surgical tightness in my abs and swimming has enabled the upper right torso and arm to return to their original flexibility.  Not too shabby since just 6 weeks ago I could barely lift my elbow above the shoulder.  No fatigue, no malaise.  I feel great.

Blood Tests (11/14):  They’ve been trending downwards for a couple of weeks.  As of yesterday’s blood test, my hemoglobin, hematocrit, and red blood cell counts all slipped just below the standard ranges.  Dr. Semien was a little surprised I haven’t experienced any fatigue. Even though I haven’t been feeling anemic, I am going to beef up my diet with more beans, spinach, and oranges.

Hair Loss:  The Cold Caps are working!  Dr. Semien said patients on the same regimen typically lose their hair by the 2nd or 3rd week of infusions.  She admitted that she was skeptical about whether the Cold Caps would prevent hair loss when we first discussed them. At the very most, I have noticed a total loss of maybe 50 extra hairs.  I have witnessed some freakishly large flakes detaching from the back of my scalp, but aside from the aesthetic implications, I’m not too worried since they haven’t been accompanied by hair defection.  For a few days after the 3rd infusion, there was a sore spot about an inch back from my forehead hairline; I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was frostbitten and then led to hair loss, but the soreness receded and the hair stayed.    Check out today’s photos.

Body Aches:  None.

Peripheral Neuropathy:  None.

Nausea and Vomiting:  None.  Dr. Semien said that I probably won’t experience any nausea issues with the Taxol and Herceptin since I haven’t had any real problems in the first few weeks.

Intestinal Upset:  None.

Mouth & Nose:  The nightly baking soda rinse has performed as hoped in dealing with a couple of mouth sores from weeks 1 & 2.  I have had a slightly drippy nose with occasional minor nosebleeds, a continuing condition since the first week.

Nails & Skin:  Finger and toe nails are still growing and staying put.  And now add to the picture acne … it’s like I’m 16 again!

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