Chemo ReCap: Week 8/12

Well, I was feeling superb until I assaulted my body during Sunday’s race.  (Great.  Now I can’t stop mentally replaying my 17-year old niece Rachel’s favorite Monty Python joke:  Der ver zwei peanuts, valking down der strasse, and von vas… assaulted! peanut. Ho-ho-ho-ho.) The physical toll no doubt exacerbated many symptoms this week, but those were mercifully short-lived.

Weight:  Drop down to 119 lbs. as calculated by the following entirely non-scientific formula:

500,000 calories consumed in mini M&M packets at  marathon aid stations – 1,000,000 calories burned off during marathon = 1 pound loss.

General condition:  99.9% (before race).

Blood Tests (12/19 ): Slight anemia continues.  Also, both liver tests, Bilirubin and ALT, are now elevated.  I was a bit worried about this change until I read that a mild elevation in both liver function tests can be due to nonhepatic related causes like muscle damaging strenuous exercise.

Hair Loss:  No change on head hair which continues to grow like crazy.  My last hair cut was back in September and I could really use a hair trim but won’t have one until maybe 6 weeks after the last Taxol treatment.  Arms and legs, by contrast, are quite smooth from extensive body hair loss.

Body Aches:  Yes!  Just not any due to Taxol or Herceptin, but to the 2nd half of Sunday’s marathon.  It took every ounce of willpower to make my jelly-legs walk the additional 1/4 mile to my car after leaving the finish line.  I miraculously managed to navigate the car home, mummy walk up the stairs to my front door, and immediately start a hot bath running (which I found out afterwards was a bad idea since it encouraged inflammation).  Soreness on Monday made sitting and stair climbing/descending significant challenges, but was improved through a therapeutic morning swim.  By today, Wednesday, I’m almost normal, a big relief since it’s chemo day. I’ve been swimming, resting, taking a little Ibuprofen, and lightly massaging to bounce back a little less painfully.  No running planned for at least a week.

Peripheral Neuropathy:  None

Nausea and Vomiting:  None.

Intestinal Upset:  None.

Mouth & Nose:  Almost daily nosebleeds.

Nails & Skin:  Ugggh, my skin.  Every day it gets drier or rashier, or on blue-medal days like yesterday, both drier and rashier.  Of all the parts on my body, my complexion seems to be taking the biggest hit from treatment, though I have to hope this is primarily from eczema triggered by the extreme Cold Cap temperatures rather than the Taxol itself.  In a mildly distressing development, weekly photos like the ones below (compared, say, to the photo in between the two surgeries) where I’m tracking hair changes have also inadvertently documented accelerated facial aging.  Still, this is a small price to pay for the potential curative benefits from chemo and Herceptin.

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