Cycle #8

A few days before my last cycle of chemo, my boyfriend Nikita came to spend the week with me. My appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, August 13 in the afternoon.

After finishing my blood work, my mother and I went upstairs for my appointment with the oncologist. We waited some time before being seen by the doctor until we finally made our way down stairs to the infusion center. My infusion was scheduled for 2:30pm and I would stay there until 6-7pm. Based on my blood work and physical examination my doctor gave me the green light to finish my chemo session.

As always, I received the premeds, Bendaryl and some other medicine to prevent an allergic reaction to the Taxol. The most common side effect of Benadryl is drowsiness, a few minutes after being administered it, I fell asleep. A side effect that I was surprised with was one that made me extremely irritable and aggressive. While trying to fall asleep and go into my Benadryl coma, I would become very irritable at the slightest noise. It can also cause restlessness and jitteriness, but thats something I had not experienced.

As I slept in my Benadryl coma, the chemo-drug Taxol was administered. I would frequently wake up and run to use the bathroom to relieve my bladder. An IV bag filled with saline and glucose is administered along with each medicine, so the water just goes through you and of course must come out some way!

After about an hour and a half of the premeds and taxol being administered I woke up hungry from my coma. During the first half my mother and Anna sat with me. They had to sit in complete silence because I barked at them to stop talking or take it outside (this was the Benadryl talking, not me). My mom would always pack a picnic for a small family when we would go to my appointments, thinking that I would be hungry and would want to choose from a selection. This wasn’t the case, but she always insisted. Anna brought us burritos from Chipotle because that’s what I would crave the most. Writing this, makes it very clear as to why I gained 20 lbs from this whole experience. The time went by quickly.

My mom left so that Nikita can switch places with her. He was working that day and we thought it would be better if he came to me when he was done with work. By the time he arrived, my nurse was already taking out the IV from my mediport. But that is not to say that he didn’t come with many Roses to congratulate me 🙂

When I was officially done with my last chemo infusion, Anna made her way back home to Toronto and Nikita and I went back to my house in Orchard Park. The next 10 days would be dreadful.

The day after my infusion, I felt nauseous almost the whole time. My face became flushed as always.

On the second day my muscles started to ache and it was time for my Neulesta shot. The day after that shot my bones would ache and I had to take pain killers for the pain. At that same time, I began to have a strange taste in my mouth and it felt like my mouth was shedding its mucous lining.

Around this time my menstrual cycle was due but never started. I started getting night sweats in the middle of the night, my ovaries had shut down and my body went into chemo-induced menopause. These night sweats were new to me. I’ve had nights where I would wake up from sweating but I never experienced this heat radiating from my body. I had to sleep with the air conditioner blowing and would switch from sleeping with the covers on and off. The night sweats lasted for almost an entire month before they stopped. To this day I have not started my menses. It has been a month.

My fingers and my feet started to feel more tingly then before. Prior to my last cycle, the peripheral neuropathy started to slowly go away but soon after another infusion the neuropathy became worse. My pointer fingers and thumbs became numb at the tips, especially on my right hand. My feet just felt swollen and tingly. My toes felt alright, the most affected were my fingers.

Nikita spent time with me until Sunday, then he went back home. I will not be seeing him again until September 28, well over a month 🙁

Out of this whole experience I never vomited once, that is until my last cycle. I do not know if it was due to the nausea I was already experiencing or if it was due to what I had eaten prior. But it happened. I must admit that as soon as it was over, the vomiting, I felt a whole lot better.

During this whole time, I also made sure to walk around my neighbourhood block every night to get some energy back.

I did not have many bowel movements during this week and was constipated for quite some time. This was not only because of the taxol but also a side effect from the pain killers.

At this point I have lost majority of my eyelashes and eyebrows. When people told me I would lose my hair on my head, my eyelashes and eye brows I was expecting to lose it all during the beginning weeks of treatment, not near the end.

My next scheduled appointment was almost 2 weeks after my last cycle for a PET CT scan. The PET CT scan was to make sure there was no cancerous activity occurring anywhere else in my body and to have a standard to look at if I ever need one again.




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