I have my fourth chemo round tomorrow. As a result, today I am taking pre-medications that I have to take the day before each chemo round. I take steroids on the day before chemo and stay on the steroids for about four days after the chemo. Taking the steroids the day before and the day of is critical because it helps to suppress the body’s immune system. This in turn allows your body to take the chemotherapy without causing infusion reactions (like the hideous reaction I had when I was told not to pre-medicate the day before chemotherapy – it was a mistake – and one that was nearly fatal as I went into anaphylactic shock, stopped breathing, bad, very bad). So, the steroids are really important.
I still have reactions during the chemotherapy as I am pretty sensitive to the drugs that I am given. I have read also that once you have a reaction to the drugs, you are more prone to have reactions. However, they (my doctor and ESPECIALLY my nurse – thank God for her – are really keeping a watch on how much of the steroids I take – have increased the amount and also I am put on an awful lot of benadryl during the treatment day. And wow, the benadryl is given intravenously and really causes me to be immediately very tired). But, I have to stay awake to watch for any symptoms from the chemo. These can come on fairly quickly and so my nurse needs to know right away so she can back down the infusion rate of the chemo or increase either the benadryl or steroid or stop the chemo infusion altogether to give my body a break. If the chemo is stopped, it is usually resumed as soon as my reactions subside.
So they really love me over there where I get my chemo. I have to take the drugs very slowly and this makes for a long day for everyone. I also have to have someone present with me during the entire chemo day so that if there is a problem they can alert one of the nurses. I am their problem child. This is complicated a little bit by the fact that Thursdays are very busy days there so the nursing staff is attending to a lot of patients. The afternoons however, pretty much everyone is gone (patients that is) because they only come in for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, so there is a better nurse to patient ratio at that time.
Today I also have to get blood work done in a little bit so that my doctor can see this prior to my having chemo tomorrow and make sure that I am okay to have the next round. So far my blood work (CBC) has been really good (red blood cell counts good, white blood counts good and the same with everything else).
Well, I am still high on the great news of yesterday – that my cancer is responding really well to the treatment – that two of the tumors are no longer visible on my MRI. So fantastic, I am so relieved.
Today is a busy work day, and again, without having much of any sleep at all. I have got to get a handle on that. Sleeping is so important for my recovery.
Hopefully tomorrow will go well, no reactions, I am praying for that.
Just so you know, I probably won’t be writing here for the next several days as the chemo will put me out for a little while.