One of these days, I would like to get back to the point where dropping half of a bowl of egg drop soup on the floor is the worst thing that happens to me. In many ways I’ve been fortunate for very for a long time. And under the circumstances I’m going through now, I still consider myself very fortunate.
Ups and downs
The last few days have been rather difficult. The first chemo treatment was last Thursday the 7th.
Since that time, I’ve experienced severe weight fluctuations. By Saturday, I was up 14 pounds. Between Saturday and now, I’ve lost over 17 pounds. My blood pressure has been on the same kind of roller coaster.
I had not been able to work yet, but I did attempt to do so on Wednesday. I got up, took my time, took my blood pressure and saw that it was normal, and made my way to the office around 10.
By 11:30 that morning, dehydration had caught up with me. My blood pressure shot way down, to 90/60. My body temperature dropped to 93.7°.
We called the clinic for guidance, and they told me to come in immediately for blood samples and an IV. I ended up getting one and a half units of saline, a change in prescription guidance and two blood tests before I was sent on my way. I was feeling much better but still a little shaken about how fragile I have become.
I started documenting this journey under the idea that you need to listen to your body. And in my case, I had. There was no way I could have known that I was overexerting myself. They said that I would have had the same kind of blood pressure crash at home as if I’d gone to the office.
The other thing I learned is that there is so much more that is going to be happening to me over the course of the next weeks and months. The nurse told me that there was a very long list of effects that people experience after the chemo treatments. So long a list, they don’t just hand it to you. She said “If something strange happens, call us. And will let you know if that something that supposed to happen, and how we will help you with it.”
I understand that strategy completely. Giving someone with a new illness a laundry list of possible issues would drive them batty. The last thing I want to do is worry about 40 or 50 different things that could go wrong, and be in a constant state of awareness about every single one. Better to just let my body tell me when somethings that issue, and then call an expert.
The other thing I learned, is that this coming weekend is going to be very difficult. The white blood cells that provide protection from disease have a typical lifespan of 10 days in your body. But they really don’t become active and useful until about day 8 or 9. So by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be going into a period where my white blood cell production was essentially shut down. This will be my greatest risk for infection.
After that, things should get better. I might have some skin issues, and I may still lose my hair, but at least I will start feeling better and I won’t be as prone to falling ill. Then we start the whole cycle over again at the end of the month.
Bless you all
I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to all of the people — family, work family, friends and acquaintances — who are helping me in this fight. Though they are not participating directly in the chemical fray, they are helping take on the extra worries of the world so that I can fight the battle within.
And don’t worry about the soup. The half I had was great, and I have plenty of beef and broccoli for tomorrow.