Trixieland

words about words

Chemo – Week 3


I haven’t felt much like blogging, and I thought about apologizing for the delay, but you know what? Fuck it. Here are my words about what’s what.

The Nausea

I felt really good the last time I posted and I assumed that things would improve each day afterward. That wasn’t exactly how it worked. On about Day 8 post-chemo I started feeling really nauseous again. Like almost more than the Zofran could manage. This doesn’t really make sense to me. Wouldn’t you assume that whatever it is that makes me feel like yakking would lessen as time goes by? Shouldn’t I get less barfy each day until I don’t feel barfy at all? I pondered if this is normal or a complication. I pondered calling Dr. Cap for a different nausea drug. But in the end I just sucked it up. I keep my Zofran by my side at all times.

The Fatigue

I had good days and I had bad days. One day a walk to Allison’s school bus stop would leave me exhausted, and another I could do housework and make a trip to the grocery store and remain upright. I was flattened by a terrible migraine on Day 10. It was the worst I’ve ever had in my life and I actually barfed. I had migraines before the cancer, but I’m just going to go ahead and blame this on cancer too. Because fuck cancer.

The Gross Stuff

I’m learning a lot of things. Like, raspberries are actually acidic and can give you heartburn from hell. Now I look up everything before I eat it! Also, cancer did not give me a hallpass on lactose intolerance. Chocolate milkshakes, while delicious, still make my tummy hate me. Most of my reading of the chemo side-effects handouts lead me to believe that chemo generally shuts down your menstrual cycle. But, as I found out, it’s not the case with everyone. Some of my homies on the BC boards even had the chemo throw their ovaries into desperate last-ditch overdrive providing mega-periods. Fun fact: you can’t use tampons on chemo because bacteria/germs/low white count yada yada yada. So contemplate that: Periodzilla plus old school diaper-pad action plus the aforementioned shit-fountain. Basically that was Week 2.

Speaking of white count, mine is FABULOUS, thank you. It’s just as robust as before chemo so I get a gold star. Way to go, bone marrow! You rock!

The Hair

I was told by both Dr. Cap and the oncology social worker that my chemo drugs (Taxotere and Carboplatin) cause hair to fall out on Day 21. They were both specific. I read that hairloss is often presaged by a tingling feeling–or even pain similar to a sunburn–on the scalp. I felt no tingles, ergo, I thought I had another week before The Fall. Then, on Day 15 I took a shower and this happened when I rinsed the shampoo:

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So I freaked out. I mean, I knew it was coming, but I thought I had a few more days. So I Googled “When to expect hair loss taxotere” And from that I found a discussion board and the consensus was Day 13-16 is when it begins. The next morning I woke up and gave a lock of hair an exploratory tug.

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Oh boy. Later that day we were at the party store getting supplies for Allison’s upcoming Astronaut birthday party and I picked up a couple costume wigs. Why not fancy legit wigs? Because my BC board girls say they’re goddamn itchy and hot and they suck balls. So, rather than get a two-hundred dollar thing that looks realistic, why not have some fun for those rare times I want to have hair and just rock hats (or skin) the rest of the time?

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The next day a shitload more hair came out and I knew my do’s days were numbered. So, as the social worker recommended back at the beginning of this, I let Allison cut my hair.

IMG_1835She had a great time doing it and pouted when I told her that was short enough for today. She now says that after cooking school she wants to go to hair-cutting school. (Why, Christa? Why does the girl having an astronaut birthday party not want to be an astronaut? Well, because she’s terrified she will go to “out of space” and fall into a “space hole” which she learned about on Cosmos. Way to crush a dream, Neil Degrasse Tyson!)

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You know what? I think she did a great job! So now I have less hair (but still a lot of hair!) and my next round of chemo is this coming Tuesday and I feel much more confident about what to expect.

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9 thoughts on “Chemo – Week 3

  1. Kellie Parker on said:

    Hi Christa,

    I just sent you a friend request on FB since we have some friends in common. I’m also in treatment for breast cancer, starting chemo on June 4th. I’ll also be on Taxotere and Cytoxan, and Neulasta. I’d love to compare notes and support each other.

    Best of luck to you!

    kellie

  2. Amanda on said:

    Great blog! Thank you. I am day three following 1st time chemo treatment and already I am expecting to wake up with my hair on my pillow instead of my head.
    I honestly thought I was ready for the hair loss, that it didn’t bother me until I saw your photo of your hair in your hand from the shower. That really bought it to life.
    Great photo of your girl cutting your hair.
    xxx

  3. Not sure how this found me but I too am looking at my first chemo on June 1. Cancer sucks

  4. Elizabeth on said:

    Sorry you’re having to go through this… I’m a six year surviver. Thank goodness no one gets all the side effects! If you are suffering with the nausea, request more meds… That’s how I made it through… I was on 7 different meds at the same time to help with it… Was never close to being not sick… But made it more tolerable.
    Best wishes! God bless!

  5. Pingback: Chemotherapy 2 of 6 – Getting the Hang of It? | Trixieland

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