Friday, December 13, 2013

Chemo HIgh - Ready, Set, Go!

(For the most accurate reading experience, please imagine my voice saying all this after I've just had four cups of coffee.)

Chemo pretty much sucks.  I found out I might even lose my hair for these three silly treatments I'm having over the next six weeks, which makes this suck even more.  If I was doing six months of chemo, I get it, the hair might have to go, but I'm doing THREE treatments!!  Because I'm not working, I don't plan on wearing a wig this time.  Oh well, I do love a cute winter hat.  :)

But there is one side effect of chemo that I (and now you), can enjoy:  the steroid high!  Before they give you your IV meds, they give you some pre-meds, one of which is a steroid, which gives you about a 24-hour-high.  My high kicked in last night around 10:00pm.  At 10pm I am usually asleep on a couch.  Here is my re-enactment of what I was doing at 10pm last night while Jason was watching American Horror Story Asylum (NOT my genre).

And right now, it is 5:51am.  Usually I drag my butt out of bed at 7:30am these days, blindly hunting for the coffee pot.  Today, I have kissed my child (who is, of course, up already and reading in her cozy bed) and headed out here to write.  When she asked where I was going I told her I had some writing to do and she said, "But it's 5:44!"

So, today should be an interesting day.  Hopefully I will finish my Christmas decorations, clean my house up, wrap some gifts to put under the tree, and be ready to pick up Rory at 1:15 for her early dismissal day.  Tonight, the crash will come.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy the energy surge and shopping for hats.

Ready, set, GO!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Paper Chains

Remember making Christmas paper chains as kids?  When I was a kid, we made them to count down the days until Christmas.  Each day we would take a link off the chain until it was Christmas.  Well, this paper chain analogy has been in my head this week when thinking about cancer meds. (Wow, do I know how to sour a happy memory, or what??)

For people like me, when one medication stops working, it's time to try another one.  This transition is never fun.  New reading about a new drug and its potential side effects. New scheduling. New plans.  Always a transition that uses a lot of your brain energy thinking, planning, evaluating, watching for signs and symptoms (good and bad), etc.  And when one medication stops working, it's kind of like taking a link off the paper chain, if each link is a possible medication to try.  I don't know how long the chain is, which is good for me psychologically. I like to think it's a lengthy chain, so removing one link isn't such a big deal.  Recently though, I've gotten to do something we don't often get to do - ADD a link to the chain.  With this new drug (Palbociclib) that I'll be starting in the near future, I get to add a link! It's a drug that simply wasn't available six months ago, and now is available to me.  Yay for adding a link!  In reality, I've also removed a link, since my current oral chemo has stopped doing its job, but I'm happy that my chain is staying the same length!  Thank you modern science, truly.

Update as of about an hour ago:  Before starting the new Palbo drug, we are going to try a different chemo for about six weeks so the cancer in my liver can get tamed a bit.  The best case scenario for the Palbociclib is that it freezes the cancer where it is - it's not intended to shrink it, just keep it from spreading more.  So, my wonderful doc called me from an airport in TX this morning to tell me he's been thinking about it and would rather shrink it before trying to freeze it.  I'm totally on board for this plan, so will start an IV chemo later this week.  Side effects should be minimal and manageable.  I'll get the chemo every two weeks for 3 rounds, then possibly start the Palbo.  I like this plan very much.

So, for now, I'm off to work on my Christmas plans.  Gifts to wrap, decorations to hang, songs to sing. There is snow on the ground here in STL, and I have a fireplace all to myself.  By the way, those Christmas paper chains have gotten much fancier since I was a kid (evidence below), but somehow I still like the red and green construction paper ones!  Happy day, all! Love, Jill