Tag Archives: r-chop

Salad, Shopping & Chemo Don’t Mix

Today I learned that when you’re in recovery from chemotherapy, having a grilled chicken caesar salad and then going grocery shopping is a really bad idea, especially if your stomach has decided it wants to live life on the fast track, if you catch my meaning :). I thought my stomach had clawed its way back to some semblance of normalcy, but I was very, very mistaken.

I’d been craving a caesar salad for days, but hadn’t had the energy or whatever was required to make one, so my hubby offered this afternoon to take me out to a local restaurant for one. We headed out, and it really was a delicious salad… I guess it’s possible they made the dressing the old fashioned way with a coddled egg, but I really doubt it, cases of salmonella poisoning tend to drive away the clientelle. Anyway, I finished most of the salad; I’d wanted a dessert but couldn’t manage that, so we headed off to our local Coles to do some grocery shopping. Within about 15 minutes of leaving the restaurant I was pretty much doubled up in the grocery store sweating and on the verge of tears. I thought my stomach was going to explode, and I guess it kind of did. Lucky for me I have excellent bladder and bowel control, and lucky for Coles they had a restroom at hand; thank God for the little things I reckon. I was just so nauseated afterward. I don’t know if I should be taking my anti-nausea meds now. I usually don’t take them for more than two days after a treatment, but I’ve been really nauseated this time around.

Anyway, I guess it’ll be awhile before I attempt another shopping trip. When we got home I was so tired and sweaty I needed a rest and then a shower and then another rest. I honestly can’t remember ever sweating so much in my life. I walk around the house, and I need a towel to wipe down. I guess it must be my body trying to get rid of toxins, but it’s just amazing how much fluid I lose in a day. I’m having to drink sports drinks because prednisone depletes your potassium stores, and if I don’t keep hydrated with PowerAde or GatorAde I start cramping like no ones business; weird cramps too in places like my rib cage or my esophagus or the tiny muscles between my meta-tarsals, even sometimes in the tiny muscles in my hands.

I have a count down going on in my head right now. I’ve set a day 5 days from now when I imagine I’ll be totally over this last round of chemo, and I’m counting down to it. It gives me something to do since I don’t know yet when this will all be over. I know it is wrong to punch people, especially people who are trying to help you, but I feel vaguely like punching the staff at the clinic, only in the arm or something, but still; scheduling has been a pain in my neck. I’m sure there’s some lesson in patience here. Once again I’m failing a lesson in patience. I guess I truly was born without any and noone has seen fit to bless me with any since. It just feels like I’m ready for it to all be over with; I wish everyone else was. I don’t have any intention of relapsing anyway, I could do without the stem cell harvest. Harvest sounds a bit scary; I keep thinking I’ll wake up in a bathtub of ice missing a kidney like the urban legends, or maybe ten years from now I’ll see a kid in the street who looks just like me at ten… spooky Jackie clones… if so I’ll kidnap her for my mom :) lol

Round 6 Day 1

Today I started my last full round of chemo. My port actually bled enough today for them to get a blood sample; the only trouble I had with it was at the end when they do the heparin lock, for some reason, the port didn’t want to take the heparin. They had to fiddle around with it, pushing the needle in deeper, wiggling it around; great fun!

I did speak to the doctor today about the sheath that’s formed over the end of the port-a-cath’s line, he said he suspects if you looked at most of them you’d see the same thing as it’s the body’s natural reaction to attempt to encompass a foreign body. He figures as long as it runs ok tomorrow, we should be ok.

One thing that has me really terribly annoyed is the fact that the clinic has somehow forgotten to schedule my next appointment. When I was in two weeks ago they’d told me they would take care of it, when I went in today they weren’t even aware I’d be in tomorrow for Day 2 of my R-CHOP treatment; I’ve been going here for 12 weeks now; my treatment doesn’t vary itself it’s quite standardized. Today they told me they couldn’t schedule my next appointment within the doctor’s timeframe (two weeks from today) because they didn’t have any appointments and don’t have any even three weeks out. I don’t know what’s happened to the place. They’re seemingly falling apart. In my husband’s words “They couldn’t organize a root in a brothel” — root is Australian for…. well you know. I just don’t know what’s going on, but I’ve been nice, calm, rational Jackie up to this point. If I go in tomorrow and they haven’t sorted this out I’m going to become She-Hulk… Jackie Smash Schedule! Seriously though, I’ve been a patient with a standarized treatment going in every two to three weeks regularly. They didn’t anticipate the appointments I would need. I feel maybe I’m somehow a substandard cancer patient; I’m not dying and so don’t need palliative care. In fact I’m seemingly cured, I’ve never looked particularly sick, though I’m tragically bald, still for my treatment to work as it should I need to complete it within a particular time period, and I will just say here and now they will have an appointment for me in two weeks; even if loud, obnoxious, indignant cancer patient Jackie has to rear her tomato red, shiny bald head and raise the roof of that place. I sound angry, don’t I? I’m a bit at the end of my tether after being badly jerked around over last treatments’ blood transfusion. I don’t particularly care to be jerked around, and since my accounts with them are currently all up to date, I do feel I have a bit of a right to expect a certain level of care.

Anyway, I’m not really angry, just averse to being jerked around, well more than averse; I refuse to allow it. It’s my health at stake, and I’m not going to risk that so that I can appear polite. I am polite, but if you step all over me, you can expect to see the ugly side of me. I’ve said it before, you have to be your own advocate when it comes to your health, because no one else will be.

Why I Hate Taking Prednisone/Prednisolone

Firstly the taste; I can not describe it, nasty is not nearly a strong enough word. The hideousness of the taste lingers on the back of my tongue like nothing else I’ve ever put in my mouth. It’s a cloying bitterness that makes you want to rub your tongue with a wet rag.

Second, it makes me crave sweets, intensely; I’m never hungry when I’m taking it, but I crave SOMETHING sweet, SOMETHING delicious, maybe something chocolate. I ignore the cravings for the most part, but I’ve never experienced anything like it before in my life; I just find I want to eat constantly. Even after having a filling meal; I just want to keep eating, even if my tummy hurts. I don’t, but it’s really weird to want so deperately to eat when I don’t even feel hungry.

Third, it’s causing me to have a potassium deficiency that may have played a role in my arhythmic heart beats a couple of weeks ago, and which definitely is causing me to have insane cramps throughout my body. Muscles in my rib cage, throat, feet, hands and stomach all cramp randomly and intensely. It’s so very weird to have a cramp in your throat muscles. I’ve had to move on from just bananas to pill based potassium supplements because the cramps have started to wake me throughout the night.

Fourth, it makes my stomach acidic and I can’t eat things I love like oranges and tomatoes and other fruits.

Lastly (for now), it makes me feel bloated like a big mutant human-toad creature.

Thank heavens, I only have to take 20 more prednisone pills, and I’m done with them. If I never see another pill I couldn’t be happier.

I’m watching a special on Judy Garland right now. I never realized how pretty she was, though I guess if I think hard I remember Dorothy was very pretty, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Wizard of Oz. It’s such a shame she was so troubled, she had so much talent. Drugs stink!

I’m exhausted tonight. I had a girl friend over for dinner tonight, which was fun, but apparently fun is a no-no on chemo because fun makes you really really tired. My friend really likes my cooking :). Tonight I made spaghetti bolognese and bruschetta with salad; it was nice. I wish I could’ve had a glass of red wine with it though. I have a couple of nice bottles in my wine rack and one in particular would have been delicious with the spaghetti. Ah well, in a few months. I’m off to a good nights sleep; wish me no cramping.