Chemo IV = BORING! Pre-CHEMO apt = not boring!

Chemo IV was boring – hooray!  I slept through most of it.  Perhaps an “advantage” of having a reaction to the taxol cocktail is that the dosages of the pre-chemo drugs are adjusted, and those make me very very sleepy.  Cheryl let me sleep on her shoulder… Thanks sweetie (again – we picked a chair we could both fit in to!).

But the appointment beforehand was NOT boring!

Monday evening, I had my post-chemo-III MRI, and I received the results during my pre-chemo appointment.  GUESS WHAT!!!!!  It’s shrinking!!!!  We had talked about the likelihood that it might not actually be smaller than MRI-I showed because I had the delay in starting up chemo…  but that I should expect changes in “texture.”  YIPPEE – I got both!  I can feel this little crease in the tumor now… and that even showed up on the MRI.

OH MAN – that is good for my  mental health!  All this poison is doing its job.

On other news…  My first class was Monday afternoon, and it was terrific!  It’s a freshman seminar titled My Other Car Is a Bicycle, and 15 freshman students are enrolled.  We started out chatting, and then we went for a ~50 min ride.  It was great.  Everyone rode well!

Then, Tuesday was packed full of meetings (one of which was RIDICULOUSLY long) followed by my riding to the Tuesday night cross race, at which I rode while everyone else raced.  I think I was still tired from a weekend packed full of active fun.  My body just had zero interest in doing anything beyond a modestly aerobic pace.  Eh – why was I there?  To have a great time… ride… see friends… and so that’s what I did.  I did find myself shockingly cautious…  the platelet number stuck firmly in my mind.  It’s not very high, ok – who am i kidding… it’s low. So I’ve been told to avoid getting bruised (uhm… cx seems to always result in surprise bruises) and injured (uhm… I tend to crash in cx races about 30% of the time).  So, I rode conservatively….  But it was super fun.  Then, a group of us rode back to Minneapolis together, and that was GREAT!  I was riding with folks I hadn’t seen in quite some time, so it was very social.  By the time I got home, I definitely had tapped out the energy pot and developed a very nice, but tired, feeling of contentment.

Then, Wednesday morning was what I hope shall turn out to be my last biopsy of my entire life.  A total of 7 or 8 core biopsies… to ensure that enough tissue is sent in for the study.  Because of the low platelets, I ended up with the full upper-body weight of the ultrasound tech on my breast for about 10 minutes….  Bleeding stopped etc…  Went well, with the help of xanax (to all those terrified of biopsies, request something to help with the anxiety – makes a HUGE difference!!!!).  Then, went to work… then to lunch… then to pre-chemo-IV where good news was discussed by all present… then to chemo nap…  then my friend Hither came over – that was great… and then I FELL ASLEEP!!!!

Size matters.  And the word of the day?  SHRINKAGE!!!!

Because I had the biopsy that morning, we iced the biopsy site for a while during the pre-chemo-drug stage – ice in knotted glove.  Cute, eh?

HAIR – well – the browns are all falling out much much faster than the greys…  I am truly salt and pepper right now – without much pepper.  And holy smokes does my head get cold!  I have two hats on in this photo.

Pre-chemo-IV stats.  Prechemo-III stats:  131 lbs, HR 55, temp 98 °F, WBC 2.8, RBC 3.2, hgb 10.7, hematocrit 30.7.

And two more to add to the stats list…  Platelets 148 and neutrophils 1.1.  These last two are added because they are LOW…  For chemo IV, I apparently just squeaked by with that neutrophil count (1.0 is the bare minimum)…  Those are a measure of the infection fighters.  I shall be getting neupogen on Friday… and Monday to boost those infection fighters.  My RBC, hgb, and hematocrit are also below normal….  And I can feel that when I’m climbing the hills.  Carboplatin is hard on the counts, so they tell me, and the nadir (time to seeing those effects) is right around three weeks after the carboplatin dose.


About rleepenn

I'm a mom and a chemistry professor, and I love to ride bikes! On July 29th, 2011, I received the news that I have breast cancer. This is my blog....
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2 Responses to Chemo IV = BORING! Pre-CHEMO apt = not boring!

  1. Emily says:

    I’m so stoked for you to hear the fabulous news about the shrinkage!! It truly is amazing what those chemo drugs can do in such a short time. It’s such a great sign that you tumor is responding so well. And the mental imagery of that bastard shrinking is a great salve for the chemo blahs (which is sounds like you’re blowing right through). Fist pumps, fist baps, and all that to you!

  2. Jen Hanks says:

    I would have loved your college class! So happy for the shrinkage. You are killin’ it in so many ways!

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