Monday, March 9, 2015

The Journey Now, Part 7: Up and Down

At first, Round 4 Chemo went much the same way the others had. I began to decline at the end of the day Thursday, and Friday got progressively worse. The usual symptoms happened in the usual patterns: GI issues, energy, aches and pains. I battled them with the usual tools: corticosteroids on Friday (boy are they helpful), and Claritin. Overall, I could tell that I was trending downward, heading into that spiral I had experienced last time.

An image going up a Roller Coaster, looking to the sky.

The Claritin was in preparation for something we hadn't tried before: Neupogen. This drug, injected 24 hours after chemo, is the faster acting version of Neulasta: it upholds the white blood cell count, but it needs to be injected more frequently. The Claritin helps with that flu-like bone pain that sometimes results. The shot itself is administered in the soft, lower part of the arm, or in the belly. I had mine in my arm; it didn't hurt. We went home to hunker down.

Throughout the day, I sat with my hubby, increasing the heat on my throw, eating lightly, trying to navigate the symptoms, but feeling uncomfortable and flat. Late that evening, as we marathoned Doc Martin episodes, I decided to down just a half an Activia. The yogurt is easier on my tummy than plain probiotics, so just a bit, I thought might steer my system better.

About 15 minutes later, I noticed the change. I was a bit better! I went to bed. The next day, I felt wonderful! I had to go in to the clinic for my hydration, but I was already on the upswing. I was irrationally happy: No GI, no pain and real energy! Maybe the Neupogen did the trick!

It was such a blessing to feel this way; I was happier than I had reason to be! I cleaned my house top to bottom (I felt that good) and saw an old friend that evening, Saturday. I was so happy; I thought the worse was over. I organized this blog post just to tell you so. 

Then it hit.
An image of the steep downslope of a roller coaster.
It began with an upset tummy Sunday, and worked it's way through by evening. Sunday night and I was sick again. No energy, GI issues (various, no nausea), aches and pains. Instead of going shopping, I was going to nap and recover. I was feeling awful.

Now, I became irrationally sad. I had felt so good! I wanted this to be over! This bump in the road felt more like a pothole. A sinkhole! The thought crept over my mind that I would never be well again!

Ok, by now you're making the same conclusion I have: yeah, that's overdone, too. Both the up and the down: they weren't natural reactions! The fact is, the chemo is affecting my emotional regulation as well: the highs are higher during this time, and the lows are very, very low. My cognitives (memory and thinking) are not horrible, but my emotional regulation is a bit off kilter. 

Well, it's good to know. At the moment, I'm just fine. I am a little metallic, a little GI, a little tired, but not terribly so. The sun is shining and I'm hoping to get dressed today and get some natural Vitamin D. I'm fine, my standard answer to everyone who asks. 

From here, it should be all recovery. I should be feeling better, despite the two additional Abraxane rounds in front of me. 

Day by day, hopefully, better and better.

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