March 15 – Chemo Class
Today I have to attend chemo class. I guess there is a lot to learn about receiving chemo? So here I am at the cancer center with MaryBeth ready to learn about all the toxins they will be putting into my veins and all those nasty side effects I’ve heard about over the years from other chemo patients. My nurse navigator is here to explain it all.
We start off with a whole bunch of stuff she brought out for me to look over. Several booklets and a bag full of useful stuff I may need.
First we go over all the symptoms I need to watch out for after receiving chemo:
- Fever, chills or sweats that soak the clothes or bed. Difficulty breathing (shortness of breath) .
- Severe cough or cough with green, yellow, or bloody mucus
- Diarrhea or constipation
- If I’ve had little or nothing to eat and drink for 24 hours
- sores or pain in the mouth that make it hard to eat or drink
- pain or bleeding
Sores in the mouth? Ouch, ( the picture they gave me looks awful and painful) I hope I don’t get those.
Side effects to be aware of ( every patient is different and not all experience the same thing)
- Low blood counts ( white and red)
- Low blood platelet counts
- Higher risk for infection or bleeding, Fatigue ( extreme tiredness ), Nausea, Diarrhea
- Constipation, loss of appetite, pain, nerve changes, changes in your mouth
- Changes to your hair, skin, and/or nails. ( I’m going to lose my hair, ALL of it)
- Anxiety, depression, or other emotional changes.
- Problems with memory, attention or concentration. Sex and fertility issues, allergic reactions, blood cots and damage to organs.
Sheeesh!! Sounds miserable! How does one make it through with all those side effects and this it what I have to look forward too? For the next several months? 😟
I’m no longer able to take anything containing Ibuprofen. Tylenol only!! I can’t use anything that has alcohol in it ( mouthwash, hand sanitizer, etc.). And. . . .I could even have nerve and muscle damage. Totally not a walk in the park and I have to endure this just to get better and cancer free? *sigh* I guess it’s better than the alternative.
Here is my treatment regimen: A/C + Taxol
Fosaprepitant (EMEND) 150 mg, palonosetron (ALOXI) 0.25 mg, Dexamethasone (DECADRON) 12 mg. All of these 3 are to help with nausea and vomiting that can be caused by the chemo. This is to get ahead of the nausea rather than to wait for it to happen. I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t wanna be sick. I hate being sick to my stomach 🤢 These will be given to me prior to chemo.
Doxorubicin (ADRIAMYCIN) injection 101.4 mg + Cyclophosphamide (CYTOXAN) 1,015 mg in sodium chloride.
This chemo combination is a very intense and aggressive one. 2 chemo drugs together. I will be receiving this one for 4 cycles. Once every other week with a week in between to recoupe. I start this one tomorrow 😧 yikes!! It all sounds horrifying but that second drug just sounds creepy, Cytoxan. It all sounds toxic to me. The day after each session of the A/C I will need to come in and get a shot of Neulasta. What that is is a booster shot for my white blood cells so they don’t go down too low. This could put me at a very high risk for infection. It was recommended to start taking Claritin the day of the Neulasta injection. This is to help with bone pain caused by the injection and should be taken the day of and the next 7 days. hmmmm, who would’ve thought that Claritin would help with bone pain?
After the 4 cycles of A/C are complete then I start taking the next one:
Paclitaxel (TAXOL) 131.2 mg
Supposedly, this is a much lighter chemo and I’ll start this one on May 11 and it will be given to me weekly for the next 12 weeks. I have a long road ahead of me. This will take me clear into summer and there is still possibly surgery and radiation. Yup it’s safe to say my year will be long. I guess I better not make any plans. But my goal is to get to July 27th. If all goes well this day will be my last chemo infusion. I can do it. I know I can get there. July 27th, you are marked on my calendar. I will see you soon. I’m sent on my way with tons of chemo information and off to do lab work. I will need to do lab work before EVERY chemo infusion to make sure my cell count is not too low. If it ever is, chemo will be halted until my cell count is up. I don’t want this to happen, I want to stay on schedule and get to 7/27.
After chemo drugs:
Dexamethasone (DECADRON) in pill form. I will need to take this for the next 3 days after chemo in the morning and at night to keep nausea at bay. And I’m also given a prescription of Prochlorperazine (Compazine) this is a just in case med for nausea as well. Geez, all these nausea medications, I hope I’m not spilling my guts out for the next 5 months, that would be horrible!!!! I can only hope for the best and continue to stay positive. It is all very intimidating though. I do my lab work and we’re headed home. When MaryBeth drops me off, I tell her. . . . . .