Saturday, September 15, 2012

Crossing the Half-Way Mark.

Moments before: "Captain, isn't this a lovely quiet night?"
Nurses tend to be a superstitious bunch.  Don't believe me?  Just waltz onto any unit and happily announce how quiet it is on the floor.  I can almost guarantee a well directed glare if not all-out protest from the staff.   Why the hostility you may ask?  A statement such as the dreaded "q" word can bring about unbridled mayhem faster than a bus full of drunken fraternity brothers.

In fact, there may be a direct correlation between history's worst disasters and some well-meaning sap describing the utter calm of the current situation:  Titanic, Hindenburg, World War II - all brought to you by the letter "q".  Now of course I'm still working on tying all this together, but until then I'm not taking any chances.  

Thus, there's a reason I haven't talked much about
Always lookin' up - The view from my chemo chair.
 my third round of chemo (which has now come and gone) and it can be summed up in a brief synopsis:  I didn't want to jinx it. 

Because of the severity of symptoms during my first two chemo rounds, my oncologist decided to make a few mid-game change-ups.  Most notably, he added a fantastic drug called Emend to assist with nausea. I was also given a Neulasta shot the day after my chemo treatment to ensure my white blood cells didn't end up in the toilet this go-around and I was prescribed Claritin for its antihistamine effects which counteracts the bone pain associated with Neulasta.  In addition, I was prescribed prophylactic antibiotics, began taking glutamine and also studied nausea specific trigger point therapy.  In short, my med cup is overflowing these days- but I got the break I so desperately needed.

Don't get me wrong - chemo (at least my experience with it) is not a walk in the park.  But with these changes, round three felt more like a bad case of the flu rather than a bout with the plague - and I'll take those improvements any day!

Which leads us to Round 4 - or as I like to call it OFFICIALLY MORE THAN HALF WAY DONE!!

Duck face is a little known side-effect of chemotherapy.
My fourth chemo treatment was Thursday and as much as I would like to report a glowing experience - I can't.  Although I changed nothing (right down to wearing the same shirt to chemo - superstitious Nurse remember?) so far I'm back to feeling achy, nauseous and fatigued.  But hopefully once the Emend kicks in things will ease up a bit.

The maddening part about all of this is the sheer lack of predictability.  Just when you think you've got it all figured out, along comes a giant wrench in the well-laid plans.

But as Winston Churchill once said "If you're going through hell - keep going."  And I couldn't agree more. Because the best part about being at round four is I'm finally feeling like I'm making progress.  Four down - two to go. We've got this in the bag.  It may not be the most pleasant of experiences, but day by day I'm getting through.  And if that's not something to celebrate, I don't know what is.

But don't go around uttering the "q" word.  Just in case.