Chemo 4/12

In the battle between steroid and antihistamine today, the Benadryl won.

Before the Taxol infusion every week, I have first received a small combination of Benadryl, Decadron/Dexamethasone (steroid), and Pepcid.  In the first 2 weeks, the steroid and antihistamine seemed to balance each other out:  I was neither wired nor tired.  Starting last week, the pharmacist halved the steroid dosage and I subsequently felt slightly loopy and tired during the infusion.  This week, I became even woozier, and as soon as we reached the car to go home, I closed my eyes and went to sleep.  Waking only to walk into the house and for bi-hourly Cold Cap changes, I slept for 4 hours before finally forcing myself out of hibernation to eat some dinner, put the kids to bed, and type out this quick post.

We are continually fine tuning the Cold Cap regimen to simplify the process.  This week, Earl decided to bring just 6 Cold Caps to the infusion clinic, leaving 2 at home.  Earl has been taking the caps out of their storage in our basement freezer and putting them into the cooler stocked with dry ice at least 3 hours prior to infusion time to chill the caps down to -34°C.  In fact, with 75 pounds of dry ice in a well-insulated cooler, it seems the caps are actually cooling down sufficiently in fewer than 2 hours, which means we could theoretically bring only 5 caps (since we change just every 20-30 minutes), though we’ll continue to bring 6 in case of an emergency (e.g., if a cap leaks).

Also, thanks to a helpful suggestion from Earl’s mother, I smeared a thin layer of vaseline on the sticky side of the moleskin I attach to my forehead for frostbite protection.  I did leave a 0.5cm clean border all around the moleskin strips to ensure adequate adhesion.  The strips didn’t budge for the 7 hours that I wore them and pulled off effortlessly, painlessly, and cleanly at removal.

The pharmacist stopped by to check on my hair results and seemed impressed that I’ve experienced almost no loss.  He spied me finishing up my friend John Mefford’s new murder mystery on my Kindle and we ended up chatting about the new Kindle Fire he was expecting to receive today.  Surprisingly, the infusion clinic turns out to be a good place to read a suspense-filled story.  The room was well-lit and populated and, really, how could a work of fiction be any more frightening than intentionally injecting poison into one’s body?   John’s debut novel is a delightful read, filled with evocative prose, hairpin turns, engaging character development, and colorful details.  I highly recommend it and look forward to his next installment.

But first I should really go to sleep; it has been long and productive day and I am satisfied to have 1/3 of my chemo behind me.  The Benadryl beckons me back to bed.

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