[It’s been a tough week and a learning experience for sure. Raw mouth, digestive issues, sore fingernails, very low white cell counts, and shingles. On my skin not my roof! 😳 I can see why Dr. M wasn’t worried about the nausea 🙊 With the help of @meganfrary, I enjoyed this soup all day with my pup. It’s the small things like soft donuts, cards, texts, and care packages that have made my heart smile through the tears this week. Thank you to everyone for checking on me. Things should improve from here! Until Round 2 that is 😝] November 20, 2015
Cancer cells divide quickly and can take over like ants at a picnic. I swear my tumor grew noticeably in the 6 weeks I waited to see my surgeon. Shocking really.
Cells also divide quickly in moist parts of your body. (This is as scientific as I can get with my liberal arts education.) I think of this as “the rooter to the tooter” (I’ll blame it on my time in the south) – basically the entire digestive tract.
Chemo targets these rapidly dividing cells. ALL THE CELLS. The problem is that chemo doesn’t know which cells are good and which are bad. It just kills them all. Wonderful. This left me with a mouth so raw that I couldn’t brush my teeth. Tooth paste lit me up like FIRE. A very nice nurse would tell me later that my white cell counts were tied pretty closely to the rawness of my mouth. The low point for both is called your NADIR (think Ralph and that’s how you say it) and it can range from 4-9 days after an infusion. This was Day 9 so things were going to get better quickly. Until then…SOUP (with a side of Great Dane – just the way I like it).
Oh, and the SHINGLES. Apparently the chicken pox virus is always living in your spinal cord. Terrific. It can rear its ugly head when your immune system is compromised. (Interestingly enough, I had numerous friends comment on this Facebook post that they had shingles with their first pregnancies!) This is where the nadir comes in. I had really itchy red bands on the left side of my body. I can’t remember Dr. M’s explanation of why you only get shingles on one side of your body. Interesting, huh? I started a preventative medication immediately and it knocked it out. Thank goodness because mine never got painful. This would be the first in a long line of skin issues that would result from the chemo. I’m actually STILL taking the shingles preventative and yesterday was 6 weeks since my last infusion. I think I’m allowed to stop soon.
Looking back, I’m proud that I endured with only a couple of teary episodes but never felt defeated. It would have been EXTREMELY DIFFICULT if every round was like the first. You can endure almost anything once, but 6 times is a different beast altogether.