Tuesday, June 27, 2017

3rd Cycle

I finished up my 3rd 5-day treatment a week ago on Saturday and just had my follow-up appointment with the oncologist yesterday. All my blood counts were low, the red blood cells more so than usual, which explains the breathlessness and the pounding in my head with just about every step. Luckily the mouth sores mostly stopped being a problem a few days ago.

This has been a bit of a rough go. I had some... uh... digestion trouble once I got home, which, strangely, contributed to some nausea. Feeling much better in that regard and am now just hoping my red blood cells will propagate through sheer force of will. I know white blood cells and platelets are important, too, they just aren't as intrusive into simply being as I'm finding the red blood cells to be.

Something else that resulted from my hospital stay is an unfortunate case of phlebitis. The first IV I got—I've only had peripheral lines so far—burned a little and was sensitive to pressure/throughput. Even so, I pushed and pushed for them to keep it connected as long as there was blood return. I've been through 2 IVs each cycle so far and have been worried about my veins holding up to the end. Anyway, they switched it after my arm had gotten pretty swollen and all was well. The swelling didn't seem to be cause for too much concern and did go away, but after I got home—over the course of a week—the vein started to harden and swell beneath the skin, to the length of about 2 to 3 inches from the insertion point. It's red, sensitive to the touch, and feels like it just might snap if I completely straighten my arm. Not fun. I'm heating it several times a day now and hoping that the occasional outbreak of itching is a sign that it's starting to work itself out.

I've got another follow-up with my oncologist on July 3rd and hope to be admitted for the 4th and final cycle on July 5th. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CT Scans

If I were sticking strictly to schedule, I'd have been readmitted to the hospital on Wednesday, the 7th, for my 3rd cycle of treatment, but since, my white blood cell count was low and my oncologist wanted another round of CT scans, I'm now scheduled to go in on Tuesday, the 13th.

The CT scans were done on the 8th and brought good news: the affected lymph node had grown to 4 cm by 3 cm and is now, thanks to treatment, down to about 2 cm by 1 cm—almost normal—and no longer producing detectable amounts of the telltale chemical marker. Yay!

Overall, besides tiring quickly and easily and being super susceptible to infection, I'm feeling pretty good. Hope that holds for a week from now!