Over the last ten days I've been experiencing the side-effects of this last treatment. It's not great, but nothing about this is. I'm still dealing with the effects of the first one, but they're evolving too...
- The bone pain caused by the Neulasta has irritated my old slipped discs. My back hurts and doesn't really seem to get better, even though I'm not doing anything that should irritate it.
- About 30% of my hair has fallen out. Even using the cold-caps, we knew some hair would go, but we didn't leave it on nearly long enough after the treatment (1 hr instead of 4) and it doesn't cover the nape of my neck at all, so that's a strip about an inch deep that has just gone. And when the hair comes out it hurts, so my scalp has a sort of sunburned/plucked feel.
- The nausea that I was experiencing lessened after the first week, like last time, but it is still omnipresent. For the last two days I've only used over-the-counter stomach meds (zantac, tums, dramamine), so that's an improvement.
- It's still very difficult to eat dry or hard foods.
- I'm extremely dehydrated all the time, just cannot drink enough. It's especially difficult because if I try to drink a lot, I can't.
- The act of trying to put any large quantity of anything into my body is difficult right now, I don't understand it. All I seem to be able to do is take tiny nibbles of things or drink little sips. It is difficult to get enough and it seems to take forever.
- Sleeping has been very difficult since surgery, I can only manage about 4 hours most nights, it's exhausting along with the weakness. I don't really know what to do about it. If I take something to make me sleepy like Benadryl or Melatonin, I don't sleep longer but I'm much more tired all day. Even when I do sleep, I have nightmares that I've accidentally rolled on to a side and I'm going to damage the temporary, saline tissue-expander or (on the other side) I've twisted the port tube which goes into my ventricle.
- My memory has become terrible, and I get confused easily.
- The chemo has brought on early menopause symptoms and I've got occasional vaginal dryness, which is surprisingly painful. But it's easy to deal with, I just use a little of the aloe lubricant that I already use for sex.
All of these symptoms are pretty standard as far as I can see. And there are some improvements too:
- The L-Glutamine seems to work and I have minimal mouth pain now.
- That cold I caught last week is almost gone (or throat infection, but I think if it was a throat infection, then the antibiotics would have helped a bit. Maybe they did, but the cold sure carried on being a cold all week.) It was very snotty. I'm glad it's tapering off now.
- I was out of bed all day today, mostly sat on the couch doing some lettering for a comic for Joe, but it was still nice to be up. I couldn't have walked around anyway, I'm shaking I'm so tired.
- Despite how badly I'm sleeping, today I persisted and after an hour I managed to go back to sleep for a few hours! With 8 hours altogether, I'm feeling slightly human.
- This morning we has sex for the first time in about 5 or 6 weeks and I was on top, something I hadn't been able to do since before the mastectomy! I think that if I can't really get around, this is a pretty terrific way to get some exercise. It was difficult, but it was wonderful and completely worth it.
- Farne has been an incredible support, making sure I eat and don't overdo it. I don't know why it's so hard for me to take care of myself. I think maybe I just can't mentally process how quickly this is happening.
Right... so I couldn't post this three hours ago when I wrote it because I suddenly found myself insanely nauseous, dizzy, there were lower abdominal cramps, and a dull ache in my stomach and lower back (where the old disc injuries are). I couldn't stop shaking and I couldn't imagine how I'd get off the couch. A Dramamine and a glass of coconut water perked me up enough to get to bed after an hour, but it was grim. Now I'm sort of alright, but still feel quite horrible. It's been nice not to use marijuana for a couple of days, but the without the nausea never entirely lets up and it is incredibly hard to eat or drink much past that feeling. I hate it. So exhausted now, must try to sleep...