Episode XXIX - I'm going the distance...
Taxotere - 1st Dose
A day of appointments. A day of waiting. No really... lots of waiting!
Before I even got to my Oncology appointment, I had a morning Gynecology appointment. Since I have only seen my family doctor about my lady parts, I needed to establish myself with a more specialized Gyn doctor. I spent over an hour in the waiting room before hearing my name.
By the time I got to the patient room there was only 1.5 hours until my chemotherapy appointment. So as the nurse was getting all of my personal information, I was literally opening my shirt and applying Lidocaine/saran wrap to my port. She was a bit freaked out, but there was no way I was going to risk having port pain. At least I was prepared and brought my stuff with me. Always be prepared!
Go figure... my gyno appointment ended around an hour before my chemo appointment. The two offices were close together and home was 30 minutes away. If I drove home, I would have just enough time to turn around and drive back. With no quick food nearby, I just drove to the Cancer Center and decided to play some Sudoko on my phone. I was worried that the lack of food and water may negatively affect my pending chemo appointment.
I walked into the building 10 minutes early (even though I had been in my car for almost an hour). Normally the appointments were pretty timely, but it turned into a 2 hour waiting game. I expected to be home and eating by 3:30 pm, but was actually just put in a patient room waiting on a doctor at that time.
Playing the waiting game...
Of course my waiting was not over, I still had to sit in the patient room. All that waiting was for a 10 minute talk with the Oncologist... really!?! While I had already spoken to the nurse on vacation, we re-discussed my CT scan results. Overall, they felt like the cancer was shrinking and I was headed on the right track. Sweet! Also, I was able to actual take a smaller dosage of Neulasta during these treatments. Double Sweet!
After some more waiting for my now very delayed chemotherapy appointment, I finally got back to a very empty treatment center. I picked out a chair next to the only other chemo patient there in hopes of possible patient banter. We got a few minutes of talk, but she was wrapping up her chemo session. Seems I was going to be one of the last patients of the day.
It was that time again... Chemo-Time!
The one good thing was that the Taxotere chemo was suppose to be less time consuming and side effects. The Taxotere was broken up into 3 treatments over the next three weeks. Then the day after the 3rd treatment I would get the Neulasta shot. Instead of my normal 3-4 hours of treatment, I would be finished in about 1 hour. Finally something would be quick!
Learn more about Taxotere, click here!
By the time I was finished it was somewhere after 5 pm. What a long day! I had not eaten since 8:30 am. My last water intake was around 1 pm. I was definitely tired, hungry, and did I mention hungry. I walked out to a very empty parking lot and hoped that the chemo would be kind.
One of the last out of treatment!
The day was exhausting! Unfortunately, chemo was not as kind as it should have been...
Oh... my stomach!
I was nauseous by the time I was home and for two additional days. The nausea was not the typical bucket-holding pain. Instead it was more of a sore stomach that ached whether I ate or not. It was the tummy turning, brick sinking discomfort that while manageable, was utterly annoying. Thank you Phenergan for making it better!
I knew that they had originally lowered the anti-nausea dosage because most people do not get as sick. However, I went nausea-overboard with AC it only figures I would with Taxotere! I contacted the nurse and they plan to up my anti-nausea medicine during my next chemotherapy appointment.
The nurse did give me good advice regarding purchasing eye drops... as my eyes were in need almost immediately after treatment. Throughout the day I will feel the need to rub my eyes, meaning I had waited too long before I use the eye drops. The need to rub them stems from what I can only describe as dry vision. Basically my eyes are so dry that I can not see correctly.
Of course it would be too easy to just have dry eyes... I also have a funky eye twitch in my left eye. It happens randomly throughout the day and is beyond annoying. Twitch! Twitch!
Really, more pain!
A few days after chemo I had similar bone/joint/muscle pain that resembles the Neulasta shot. I could not determine if it was bone or joint or muscle, as each seemed to hurt. From foot to head, my body ached for relief. I attempted to walk through it... that did not work. I attempted to just keep moving... that did not work. I had rare I have to take something for the pain moments. I can manage a lot of pain, but enough was enough. Nothing like when sitting creates a back pain so severe that no heating pad, no position, or no general functioning (physical or mental) works.
Generally pain medicines cause me nausea - me an codeine are not friends. So, I finally had to call the nurse to ask to try some non-codeine based pain killers because if my body is going to fight me I am going to fight back. Or at least numb it! I really dislike pain killers, but the intense, unrelenting pain creates debilitating issues. Trust me I will continue to push through the pain... even if I have to go somewhere deep inside myself.
In my head...
My so called "easy" chemotherapy might not be so easy! The multiple issues, appointments, and waiting that occurred prior to treatment probably did not help my situation. All the delayed appointments caused me to be tired, as well as prevented my normal chemo routine. The lack of water was not a good thing. The empty stomach was not good. I scheduled next week first thing in the morning... imagine why?
At least now I know what Taxotere is like and have more ideas and options to help prepare for some issues that have occurred and may potentially occur (Neuropathy seems common with Taxotere). Hopefully, I can get back on routine and find ways to make the next four months as positive as I can!!!
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”
- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Episode Reference: The Distance, Cake song