Chemo ReCap: Week 4/12

Tomorrow begins my 5th week of chemo.  I had to pop back over to the surgery department today because I noticed the ends of my abdominal incision had been sore and the right side was even bleeding minutely.  I eventually took a closer look and found the source of the blood: an exposed suture tugging on the surrounding skin.  At Kaiser, a nurse practitioner neatly clipped one end of the suture just above the skin and then started to pull the other end to free it.  Eowwwwwch!  Dr. Orman said the left side is probably inflamed because of another troublesome suture.  He recommended that I apply a warm compress to the area to encourage the suture to surface and then gently pull it out with tweezers.  Considering how painful today’s removal was, I don’t think I’ll be pulling out any sutures, but will take the coward’s way out and cut it.

Weight:  The chocolate binge is over and I’m back down to 119 lbs.

General condition:  99% of normal.  Subtract one percentage point for annoying dermatological issues (see below).  Sleep has settled into an atypical bimodal pattern with an insufficient 6 hours at night and a complementary 1 hour nap in the afternoon.

Blood Tests (11/21):  My blood counts have mostly recovered and moved back into normal territory.  The WBC (White Blood Cell) result has been decreasing linearly since the beginning of chemo and at this rate should fall below the normal range in two weeks.  Meanwhile, I had two children sick at home today as a test of my immune system’s resiliency.

Hair Loss:  Minimal (almost normal).  The freakishly large flakes observed on the back of my head last week have gravitated up to the top.  I have watched with morbid fascination as 5mm sections of scalp have lifted, but fortunately the hair has stayed in place.  I am a molting lizard.

Body Aches:  None.

Peripheral Neuropathy:  None.

Nausea and Vomiting:  None.  I’m beginning to suspect the quasi-nausea in earlier days was psychosomatic.

Intestinal Upset:  None.

Mouth & Nose:  Normal.

Nails & Skin:  Acne – 10, Susan – 0.  As if the mammoth dandruff wasn’t enough, my face seems to be demanding attention in a very dramatic manner.  Conditions include super dry middle-aged areas mixed with a pustular adolescent outbreak.  Why can’t I experience complexion afflictions one at a time?  See this week’s photos for my many-pimpled splendor.

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