Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chemo Session Three Update

I've stopped trying to figure out the rhyme and reason of chemo. So much seems so arbitrary to me.

Here I am on Day 7 of this cycle, and I've spent the past two days living my life at about 80% of my pre-chemo capacity. I've been up early, working a full day, coming home, and getting things done. Yesterday, I pretty much resumed my usual diet. I even had a glass of wine. This time around I had minor problems with diahrrea, but no problems with constipation even though I only took very minor preventative measures. My mouth is sore and that just started yesterday, so that may get worse. It's been fantastic, to be honest. If I could bottle this and sell it to other chemo patients, I'd be a zillionaire. I'm not discounting the fact that on days 1-4, I felt pretty crappy, but this kind of rebound is pretty remarkable, in my opinion.

(That being said, I have met people who said that they felt virtually no negative effects from chemo at all. I suspect that those people, like this most recent incarnation of Big Foot, are actually 96% possum.)

I do have a new symptom: minor numbness or tingling in my hands and feet. Right now it's not a big issue. When I sit or lie still for a while, I get a little coldness or pins and needles action. My RPN says that this symptom may be cumulative and (shudder) may lead to problems with my fingernails and toenails. So far, it's just annoying. Especially in the middle of "beginning of the school year" meetings.

A second symptom that I've yet to address has been acne. I've always had problems with my complexion. I used to joke (not funny) that it sucked to be divorced, childless, with grey hairs AND acne. But this is not the garden variety acne. And it's particularly upsetting because I'm, well, BALD. My face is HUGE. It goes away around halfway through the cycle, but it's a wicked indignity during the first week and change.

The day of chemo three, I had my first pre-chemo expansion (expansion #2 overall) of 60ccs per breast. Because of the horrible pain I'd been having, I hadn't been expanded for-- I'm guessing here-- around six or so weeks. At the end of the chemo 2 cycle, I started to actually feel ok, painwise, for the first time since my surgery. Again, no rhyme or reason-- but I wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Despite my fears, the expansion went well, and I now have wee tiny little boobettes. I'd say that, misshapen though they are, the boobettes are as big as my mom's teeny, weeny A-cups. It doesn't do much for me, figurewise; I guess I do look a little less concave from my shoulders to my belly, and that helps.

One of the biggest complaints I had this round, though, was pain (again) during days 1-4. I have found this to be true every cycle-- that there's something in the chemo or in the 'roids that they make you take that causes the surgical site to hurt like a sonovabitch all over again. This time the pain was particularly pronounced; I imagine that was because of the expansion.

Also on the plastic surgery front, because I'm a teacher and would like to do as little harm as possible to my schedule (more on my teaching trials later), the PA at the plastic surgeon's office went ahead and scheduled my "swap out" surgery for December 17. December is a busy time for them and Dr. T is taking an extended vacation... and, I think the PA wanted to give me a light at the end of the tunnel. This is all tentative, of course, but it IS a light at the end of the tunnel.

I have yet to decide how far I want to go with the girls' expansion. For any number of reasons, I want to keep them small. But moreso than hair, when I see a woman with nice breasts, I get a little jealous. I definitely miss my girls way more than I miss my hair.

That's pretty much all the news on the physical side of things. Either later today or soon I'll update with more personal/work/emotional related stuff. I've not been as diligent with this blog as I would like to be. Ideally, I would have liked to have blogged every day even if it was just to say "Feel like shit." On the positive side, I've been keeping myself busy-- hence not making time to blog. On the negative side, I've been hiding out a bit from this process. If I don't write about it, I'm not thinking about it. Well, of course I'm thinking about it, but writing about it is PROOF that I'm thinking about it. Sigh.

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