The week after cycle #2

It feels like just yesterday I had my last cycle and now in a few days I will have my third chemotherapy cycle. Thankfully this last chemo cycle did not go too bad. I had my nausea under control because I took my anti-nausea medication religiously by the hour. Every six hours I would take Compazine, twice a day I would take Dexamethasone, and at night time I would take one Lorazepam. These three drugs are different classes of drugs, they work differently to prevent the nausea and hence are more effective. I continued this routine until Saturday.

Friday morning I woke up with a soar throat, so after breakfast I gargled my mouth with a mouth wash provided by a physician.  This wasn’t a good a sign. Painful swallowing could mean an inflammation of the throat, which could lead to a flu. Throughout the day it seemed to go away and I was worry free.

My boyfriend stayed the whole week with us, and Friday we decided to go to the mall for some shopping. This coming Saturday we are going to a wedding and he needed some dress pants. That same day my grandmother, my sister and her new family came to visit us for the weekend. We had a full house. I felt great the whole day, my nausea was limited and my throat stopped hurting.

Saturday I woke up feeling the same, however there was some painful swallowing again. This time I could not really ignore my new symptoms and again gargled my mouth with a medicated mouth wash. I went to the mall again but this time with my sister Anna and her husband Nazar. We didn’t do much shopping, instead we got our make up done by a professional makeup artist at Macys.


Michelle, the makeup artist, and Iphoto-5Our new looks


When we got home from the mall, I began to feel more tired and my throat started hurting again. Something wasn’t right. Later in the evening Nikita’s family came from the city for the long weekend. This is the first time our parents met in our 3 years of dating 🙂

I went to bed around midnight but had trouble falling asleep. Saturday night was the first night I did not take the medication to help me fall asleep, I tossed and turned for hours. My throat started hurting  more and more when I would swallow. At 3am my mom made me some tea to soothe my throat, but it did not help much. We decided to call RPCI and speak with the on-call doctor and tell him about my problem.

There a few causes of painful swallowing- one is oral thrush, a fungal infection, and another is mucositis. Oral thrush is caused by an opportunistic fungus and is commonly seen in people with a lowered immune  system. It presents with as a white plaque on the tongue and bleeds when scrapped off, it is also painful. The first time I heard about this infection was in my microbiology class, and let me tell you the thought of having this was dreadful. I first thought I had this infection with my first cycle, when my the mucous lining in mouth was shedding and presented a white film. Needless to say, this is something that I hope to never get.

Mucositis is the inflammation of the mucous lining of the mouth and goes down to the throat. This was mostly like what I had, according to the on-call doctor. He directed that I go into the Infusion Clinic the next morning at 9am to get examined by a doctor. There was nothing that could be done for the time being. I took the pill that would help me fall asleep and passed out for the rest of the night.

My mother and I woke up early and headed to RPCI to see the doctor. Thankfully, after careful examination, the doctor concluded that it was possibly mucositis. All that I could do was keep an eye on it and gargle my mouth with the medicated mouth wash. Back home and into bed we went. Most of Sunday I spent in bed with flu like symptoms. My body ached, I had a runny nose and I was feeling really tired. This is what down time on chemo feels like.

Prior to these flu like symptoms I was feeling quite happy inside. Nausea was my only concern but now I feel like anything can take me down. At the same time as my flu, my poor mom got sick. She was congested and sneezing for 3 days. She walked around in a mask not to infect me. I think what saved me, was the Neulasta shot. This is the medication that is injected under the skin to stimulate the production of cells that protect against infections.

The flu like symptoms lasted for 3 days and I was feeling better by Wednesday. I am surprised that I got these symptoms so late after my infusion. I am not sure if this is normal or expected but it is what is and now I am back to normal! Until Tuesday….

This entry was posted in My Blog.