Chemo 6/12

6/12 = 1/2 = 0.5 = 50% = Half of Chemo Done = Half to Go!

The infusion clinic seemed to be overbooked on Wednesday, and although Earl and I were directed to a vacant chair promptly at my appointment time, we waited close to an hour for a nurse to start the IV.  A later miscommunication or equipment malfunction led to the Herceptin infusion running twice as long as it should have and the combination of the two delays along with the afternoon start time and lengthy additional Cold Cap regimen meant that Earl and I didn’t finish the Cold Caps until 9.30 p.m.  My very thoughtful nurse took pity on us and moved appointment #7 back by 3 hours, which means we could potentially finish before dinner next Wednesday, a welcome improvement.

I think I’ve already mentioned my intense dislike for the popsicles I’ve been sucking during the Taxol infusion to help prevent mouth sores and taste changes (neither of which I am experiencing, thank goodness!).  Over the past few weeks I was first eating fruit puree or juice popsicles (way too sweet) and then coffee/cream or mango/cream popsicles (couldn’t take all of the lactose).

This week, on my brother-in-law David’s suggestion, I tried something different. I cleaned a small bunch of table grapes, blanched in boiling water, drained, and froze in a single layer. These were actually quite tasty, reminiscent of fruit cocktail, and were easy to dispense out of a ziploc bag.  Unfortunately, the amount I brought only lasted 10 minutes out of the hour-long Taxol administration, so I had to dig into the cooler for the next alternative.

Splenda sweetened popsicles.  I shudder to even type those words.  The first popsicle was tolerable, but the odd fake sugar after-taste soon became apparent.  By the end of the hour, I fought the repulsion urging me to toss them all directly into the nearest trash can with the rationalization that, if I didn’t keep my mouth cooled, all my food for the next week could have as little appeal as the reviled popsicles.  It required a tremendous amount of willpower, but I sucked it up and stuck it out.

I am a Benadryl lightweight.  It seems with every progressive week I am hit harder by the antihistamine in my premeds.  This time, I managed to stay awake through treatment and all the way to our car in the parking garage, but not much longer.  I slept soundly all the way home and barely awoke to walk into the house.  For the next 3.5 hours, I had to force myself awake for every Cold Cap change.

While this unconscious state was a welcome distraction from the Cold Caps, its distinct disadvantage lay in my not being awake to rehydrate properly, something I regretted Thursday morning as I skated along a very sharp edge of potential queasiness.  Not quite there, but not entirely not, if you know what I mean.  Anyway, I practically drowned myself in liquids all day Thursday to compensate and messaged my doctor to see whether I could substitute some non-drowsy antihistamine in the future.

On the plus side, I still have a full head of hair at 5+ weeks, in direct contrast to the two chemo patients sitting next to me.  They are also being treated for breast cancer and experienced total hair loss right around 14 days.  Yes, they were immaculately groomed with exquisite (and expensive) wigs, in direct contrast to me with moleskin stuck to my forehead/ears/neck and a decidedly unattractive, funky, frosty contraption strapped to my head.  Still, both women expressed great interest (and — maybe I’m reading too much into their expressions — wistfullness) in the Cold Caps.


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