Chemo (Week 3) – Roid Rage arrives

Good news! As of this past week, I have completed three chemo treatments. Tomorrow (Tuesday, 6/8), I go in for my fourth round on my way to a total of sixteen weekly treatments. If everything stays on track, I will complete my chemo regimen on August 31st. Can’t wait!

This past week was my big chemo (FOLFOX/Erbitux with pump for 48 hours). I experienced some definite chemo symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue (just thinking was exhausting for a couple of days) and lots of sleeping.
  • More dry, itchy and blotchy skin. Every morning, I look in the mirror and see myself aging rapidly on the outside. I just hope that the tumor is aging as well!
  • Hair is thinning.
  • Tenderness on the balls of my feet.
  • Tingling in my fingers and toes as the neuropathy is starting to develop. Today, it has eased up some.
  • Developing cold insensitivity. Feels like needles going through my fingers if I hold anything cold. Needless to say, I’m avoiding the freezer.
  • All the symptoms that come with steroids. Since I get infused with steroids along with my chemo, as well as the two days after chemo, I can’t sleep much at night during that time. I feel completely AMPED UP and go into hyper-productive mode in spite of my exhaustion. It’s just hard to sit still or even read. And the most fun part (for my family, especially) are the personality changes – impatient, aggressive and irritable. I’m just not myself for a couple of days. While I do not get anabolic steroids (which athletes sometimes use to mimic testosterone), the corticosteroid I receive has some of the same symptoms. I now know why the term “roid rage” exists.

On the bright side, I still haven’t had any nausea. All the symptoms so far are manageable (except for the steroid symptoms). I just have to listen to my body and rest when I need to. And avoid talking to my family while steroid symptoms are in full swing! 🙂

In spite of the list of symptoms, I am grateful for this chemo. Whatever discomforts I experience is nothing compared to the alternative.

Doug and the girls are doing pretty well. My mom is helping keep everything running smoothly. The girls are going to Wonders & Worries every week. It’s a fantastic program with child-life specialists that work with kids who have a seriously ill parent. They utilize play/talk to help kids open up while teaching them the basics of cancer. Even though we are very open with them about the whole cancer situation, it’s great to know that they have an outlet for any feelings they might not be expressing with us. They are currently in a group session. They are excited about going to tour a cancer center to help them better understand what is involved with cancer treatment.

Thanks for the cards, meals and emails. I appreciate every little thing. I may not get back to you right away as it takes more energy now but I love hearing from you. I am blessed to have you all as friends!

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