Sunday, May 17, 2009

EPOCH+R, round seven

Well, first for some backtracking. After cycle five, I had written that my leg cramps had cleared up. I think it was only minutes after posting that I got leg cramps again. Cycle six they came back during the second break week, but instead of diffuse cramp-type pains, my calves just decided they wanted to be shorter. Sitting or standing straight up was fine, but leaning forward to take a step? Ouch. Going downstairs was the worst - I had to keep most of my weight on the handrail for a few days.

The pain from my last round of Neupogen shots was minimal - no need for acetaminophen, even at night. I had none of the pain from breathing or leaning forward, and no esophagus tingling, either. I still had a few days where eating made my upper chest awfully uncomfortable, though. Oddly, some foods went down better than others: Tuesday of my first break week my dinner was no-salt potato chips and ice cream.

In the days after cycle six, the bottom of my tongue ached when I first got up. Thursday of that week it didn't stop. The numbing mouthwash helped a lot with eating: no mouth pain, and it reduced the pain of swallowing (although it wore off after about twenty minutes and sometimes I had to re-dose mid-meal). The tongue pain was not intense when not eating, but it bothered me enough I had to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to get to sleep - and then I would wake up in the middle of the night and have to take pain meds again. It wasn't until the following Monday that all that cleared up.

My blood counts before cycle seven were still good, but worse than they've been before any other cycle. I guess my bone marrow is getting worn down. Happily, my thirst kept working throughout my break of cycle six and until Thursday of cycle seven. At that point, though, the awful taste in my mouth came back. I had the nurses give me IV fluids Thursday and Friday.

My heartrate stayed high for longer this time around: Thursday morning I checked it at 120. It made up for lost time Friday morning, though: I checked it at 44 beats per minute. I had the buzzing in my ears when I got up at night, like last cycle, and a dizzy spell Friday morning, again like last cycle. Only this time, the dizziness lasted longer and was complete with colored spots completely obscuring my vision. This repeated Saturday morning, with it taking a few hours before I was confident in my ability to stand up and stay that way.

I have slept more this weekend, my first "break" weekend, than in any previous cycle. Not only was there no early am insomnia Saturday - but after napping Friday and sleeping in Saturday, I went to bed at seven Saturday night and took a nap today, too.

I had hot flashes really badly while getting my seventh cycle of chemo. Multiple times every day and every night. I had night sweats when I was first diagnosed and for several cycles into treatment. They were intermittent; not having them often, plus the temperature changes as spring has come, I wasn't sure if the hot flashes were the same thing. But with the sweats, I didn't feel extremely hot. And with the hot flashes, I'm not extremely sweaty. So I think they're different. I have wondered if the hot flashes are related to my menstrual cycles: I have not ovulated since the end of January. I don't know if my fertility will come back post-chemo or not. The partner and I didn't have any plans for children, but the idea of that option being taken away is sad.

For now, though, I'm celebrating the disappearance of constant unbrushed or chalky tastes in my mouth: my husband and I went out to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary. Yay us!

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