Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bad, The Worst and The Annoying

I was unblinded in the clinical trial last Thursday and found out that I have been getting the Avastin. I hope this is a good thing. We're happy I ended up on it because the decision to do the trial was so difficult... once we made it, it would have been a bummer to find out I was on the placebo. I recently read a study that indicated Avastin in early-stage cancer might actually contribute to metastasis. But that was just one study. And really, what's worrying about it now going to do? ... I've already gotten a full course of it.

I cannot WAIT for Taxol to be done. Most people say that Taxol is more manageable than Adriamycin/Cytoxan... but it's been the opposite for me. AC put me in a haze for a whole week, but mostly I was just tired and I slept a lot, and sleeping was easy. I was fortunate to not have much nausea. On the other hand, Taxol started being miserable after the first 4 weeks, and it's gotten worse each week. I cringe at the thought that I still have to go through two more cycles...

The Bad: I cannot sleep, I have not gotten a solid night's sleep in many weeks. Before this I had never had any sleep problems, and maybe that makes it more frustrating for me now. Mainly it's the hot flashes that wake me up every couple hours. My typical sleep goes: wake up at 4 am, wake up at 6:30 am, wake up at 7:30 am, wake up at 8:30 am, etc. What is it about 6 to 8 a.m. that causes so many hot flashes???

The Worst: A few Thursday Taxol treatments in, I started having predictable headaches starting Saturday night or Sunday. I think they're migraines. They last 48 to 72 hours, I'm mildly nauseous the whole time, Tylenol and Advil don't do anything, Vicodin makes me vomit, my whole body aches, I can't sleep well enough to sleep through them, and so I usually just spend a couple days writhing around in bed. I finally started feeling decent just hours ago from this week's, which was a really bad one. :(

The Annoying: I have an allergic rash on my hands, arm and face. Most of my fingernails are getting brown and dying underneath & they're really tender so I can't do simple things like open a sodacan. My pinkie toenails are tender, so it hurts to walk around in shoes. My fingertips are a little numb all the time. Most food tastes like cardboard. Unless it's really spicy, in which case it completely burns my tongue... but I endure it, because I'd rather have tasty and painful over not having an appetite at all because there's no flavor. I keep getting a lesion in the corner where my lips meet. Every time I blow my nose it comes out bloody. I get hot flashes when I'm awake too. My eyelashes are starting to grow back and they're stubble right now, so each time I close my eyes they poke the other eyelid and it's annoying.

I know I'm being a total downer right now. I can't wait til chemo is over. There is a woman I deal with at work who apparently thinks this is a vacation for me, and it upsets me. When I talk to her on Wednesdays, she says "You're so lucky! You get to have a 4 day weekend while the rest of us have to work a couple more days!" The first time she said it, I balked and exclaimed that it was NOT a vacation, and reminded her that I'm having poisons put in my body. She laughed and said she was just trying to be lighthearted by teasing me. So I let it slide. Then the following Wednesday she said the exact same thing!!! Ugh!!

Only two more treatments, hooray! Then I get to see my parents for a couple days, I cannot wait! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How Many Biopsies Will I Have In My Life?

Only 3 more left! Last week's treatment itself went okay. I had developed a weird and gross rash on my right hand. The nurses were concerned and made me see a doc to make sure it was okay to do treatment, which got me a little worried. The nurses and onc both thought it was shingles, and then the onc mentioned something about viral meningitis, which really got me nervous, etc etc. In the end, they went forward with the treatment. Afterwards I saw a dermatologist, who told me it definitely wasn't shingles, and said he wasn't that worried so that was good. But he wanted a skin biopsy to analyze what it was. Now, I've obviously been through worse pain, but it was kind of funny because all of the sudden my hand was getting poked, cut up and stitched. Also, though I logically knew it was for a different reason ... it was hard to hear "biopsy" and not immediately think "CANCER!" for a split second. In the meantime, the rash has gotten a little better with topical cream, whew.

I think I've also figured out that the headaches I get every Sun/Mon are migraines. Who knew? Last week's was the worst - I spent 3 days in bed and barfed each day.

Next treatment I get unblinded and find out if I've been getting Avastin or not. Not really sure what I'm hoping for...