Where to start? The last 3 weeks have really been my worst since this whole cancer nightmare started. I've had to dig deep (and I thought I already knew how to do that!) and even when I dug to China, I still cracked a few times. Here's a synopsis of the last 2 weeks (as I already blogged about my 1st bout of tummy trouble):
(photo of me getting treated on the 22nd of March with Hubs by my side)
It felt like I was over the abdominal/bowel/tummy issues. I had some new products to use to combat what was going on. I was starting to feel better and actually had one of the "easier" chemo weeks (in terms of my health) since I've started, except that my litttlest one got sick with another coughing cold. She barked for a couple of nights, I took her to the doctor and I actually felt a bit ashamed....because I was worried that her cold would keep my husband and I from heading to Vancouver Island for his Grandma's 90th birthday. I had asked for, and received special permission to go on this weekend trip. My counts have been so good that S wasn't worried I would get sick from the plane or something and I was really looking forward to surprising Grandma at the special dinner (and meet up with family) and also to have a change of scenery, if only for 48 hours. Luckily, the little pipsqueak started to improve and with some help from friends and family we were able to go to Sidney on Friday night.
In fact, on Friday I felt well enough and strong enough to go work-out with my trainer (which I hadn't done in a couple of weeks). I had a reasonably good performance and it really buoyed my spirits. I started to feel excited about the trip and couldn't wait to get on that plane. But, waiting in the airport for the flight, I started to get a very sore throat and run a low-grade fever (yes, I had my thermometer with me). I felt brutal that night but a bit better the next day so maybe it was just a chemo effect? Saturday night at bedtime (9:30?!) I began coughing and that was the start of the cold. My bowels also started to act up so by the time I came home I was wrecked. I think Monday was one of my worst days in recent memory. My body was just not co-operating, I wanted to crawl under a rock.(this is me enjoying the fresh sea air in Sidney)
Tuesday I talked to S and she wanted me back at the hospital for a chest x-ray, abdominal x-ray, and labs. Yay. More time at the Tom Baker. However, it was a very interesting visit. The chest x-ray was all clear (meaning the cough was definitely due to a viral cold, not an infection or from chemo drugs), the abdominal x-rays showed little change from 2 weeks ago, and the labs were "predictable". Predictable? My neutrophils counted 2.7! Normally (and I normally have my labs done 4 days after I got these done) my neutrophils are 1.3ish (1.0 is the standard required to continue chemo). I asked how it was possible that they could be so high, especially given that I had a bad cold to fight. The doctor explained that it was what she would have predicted - the neutrophils are working extra hard to fight the cold and it was a very good sign that my bone marrow is healthy and that I could actually produce that number of cells. "Cool", I said, "but what about my bowels?, I don't think I can live with this pain for much longer". My doc gave me another new prescription to try, but she also offered an explanation as to why I was suffering so much and what we can do going forward. They think that one of my chemo drugs, Vinblastine, is to blame for my misery. How she explained it is that in some people, the vinblastine basically stuns the nerves in the bowels, thereby slowing or stopping the ability for them to contract. SO, we are going to back off my blast of vinblastine for my next couple of chemos and see if that helps at all. Off I went with hope in hand.
Wednesday I was feeling quite a bit better. Still coughing but almost had a full night's sleep. I had an amazing massage and she even did some abdominal massage to help my poor belly. Today I felt the best I'd felt in a long while. The new drug seems to be helping, I had a good night's sleep, and had fun with my kids. A ray of sunshine in a mostly gloomy 3 week stretch of struggling with health issues.