Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cycle 3, moving into week 2

Last Monday was the first day of the first week of the third chemo cycle. It was, as I am growing used to, a new experience. To that date I had on more than one occasion had reactions to Taxol, the drug I receive weekly. But last Monday I had a reaction to the Carboplatin - the drug I receive only on the first Monday of each 3 week cycle and a pretty important drug in my treatment regimen. The reaction is hard to describe ... first I found myself very restless and spent much of the time standing up facing the nurses (because it seemed rude to face the other patients). I attributed this to worsening of the restless legs syndrome that I get in response to the IV benadryl, and also a worsening of the neuropathy in my feet. But it was hard to understand why these should be particularly worse last Monday. I went back and forth to the bathroom several times, and the third time I suddenly noticed the palms of my hands were all bright red. Then looking into the mirror I realized that my entire face was swollen and bright red. I went out and showed these to the nurses, who leaped into action shooting me up with (I think) more IV benedryl and steroids. Elizabeth (my chemo nurse) tells me that this reaction to carboplatin is more common with restlessness and I should try to sleep through the chemo. But I am not sure of the cause and effect. I did try to be still and sleep, wiht limited success. But I could slowly feel little shooting stars of relaxation in various parts of my body in response to the IV meds they gave me, and I suspect that perhaps the restlessness is less the cause than the sign of an on going reaction that led to the final red face and hands and whatever. Either way, i have decided that it is time to again start recruiting drivers for my Two drug Mondays so that the nurses can treat me with any drugs they want wihtout an iota of thought as to whether I can safely drive myself home. Another week, another adventure. Since Carboplatin is the corner stone drug for my treatment as long as my disease is sensitive to it, this reaction is not necessarily a good thing. Not really a good thing at all. Guess we will have to proceed with caution and hopefully it wont happen again. Beyond that life continues to move smoothly. My Arkansas childhood friend Barbara Breen is visiting from her current location in Iowa at Grinnell, which has been fun. And my sister called to say she and Joe are moved into their new place in Raleigh and when can they come help me. I meet with my doc next Thursday and will have a more certain understanding after that. But if we stick with the original plan, after the next 2 weeks complete the 3rd of 6 chemo cycles the plan is to switch to radiation therapy for 4-5 weeks, then return to complete the last 3 cycles. So Martha tentatively has the start of the next cycle marked on her calendar ... about early March... and I will count on her support them.

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