My tests last week at M.D. Anderson went just fine. Bloodwork and x-rays were normal. The post-surgery CT scan of my chest, abdomen and pelvis was clear and is the new baseline for future scans. Lots of “post-operative changes” (aka radically-altered terrain on my insides) so it isn’t that fruitful to compare previous CT scans to this new one. Whew. I guess I was holding my breath a little more than I realized.
A couple of weeks ago, I had my first post-surgery chemo treatment (5-FU only) for three days. All my familiar side effect friends came creeping back. Additionally, the chemo has aggravated my neuropathy so it is very uncomfortable again. The good news is that it’s just aggravating and not actually damaging the nerves since oxaliplatin is out of the mix.
During last week’s “off” week, I couldn’t understand why I felt so much more tired than during last year’s six months of chemo. This time I felt fatigued to the bone. I was wiped out by noon day after day, wondering when I was going to bounce back. Then it dawned on me. Last year’s chemo was weekly so I was getting a steroid every week. This time around my chemo and steroid is administered every other week, leaving me hanging during the off-week with no steroid. Apparently, the steroid was doing a great job and masking some of the deep fatigue last year. This time around it has taken me about a week and a half to start bouncing back. Just in time for this week’s chemo treatment.
Now that my expectations are reset, it will help me mentally prepare for each chemo treatment. Hey, by Thursday of this week, I will have completed two out of the six chemo treatments ordered this time around. Not bad!
The current plan is to finish three months of chemo, go back to MDA for more tests and CT scans sometime in April and, if everything is still clear, then I will just visit MDA periodically for follow-up scans and doctor visits. Probably every three months for the first year. But I’m not there yet so I will keep my head in the chemo groove for now.
Just gotta keep punching through!