Thursday, September 5, 2013

The worst day so far

Warning:  Not a happy post.  Today was bad.  Just bad.  And I'm telling it like it is.

I felt bad all day yesterday.  Today was my appointment with my oncologist.  My appointment was at 11:15am.  I checked in and sat in the waiting room.  And sat, and sat.  Finally got called back to my room so they did vitals and the nurse asked how I was feeling.  I just shook my head and started to cry.  I literally have never felt so bad in my life.  New side effects were appearing (3 day diarrhea, headache, sores in my mouth and down my throat, not sleeping, not eating, metallic taste in my mouth so nothing tastes good). Every time I did eat something, I got stomach pains, so then I really didn't want to eat.  I've lost 8 pounds in 9 days.  I'm so dehydrated.  Even water taste different and it doesn't taste good.  My blood pressure was low and my heart rate was high.

I was frustrated by how long I was waiting to see my Dr.  It sucks to be waiting on a Dr. always but it sucks even more when you feel like crap.  I cried and cried in the room.  I'm pretty sure the nurses there think I'm nuts.  I feel nuts sometimes.  The Dr. finally walked in at 12:45.  That's right, appointment at 11:15, he walked in at 12:45.  Don't get me wrong, I love my Dr.  He is awesome.  But he is overbooked and cancer patients tend to need a lot of attention.  When he came in he was so apologetic and told me that he had been running on time until the two patients before me who he "had to give very bad news to".  Then I felt bad that I was so angry.  Someone before me was told they were dying.  My situation could be so much worse. Reality check.

He told me that my white count was 1.5 (very low).  This condition is known as neutropenia and puts you at very high risk for infection.  So, I had to get a shot of a drug called neupagen (and two more over the next two days).  The side effects for this drug can sometimes be worse than the chemo side effects.  It affects everyone differently so we'll see.  Going forward I will get the long-lasting shot (neulastin) the day after chemo.  This should help my white cells boost up faster after they dip.
Neutropenia—A lower-than-normal number of neutrophils (infection-fighting white blood cells) in the blood. It is a common side effect of some chemotherapy treatments. Doctors check the number of neutrophils when they measure the white blood cell count, to monitor the risk of infection. He looked me over and gave me some things to help alleviate the symptoms I'm having.  He said he rarely sees patients that are hit this hard the first round.  I literally had 8 out of 10 of the major side effects of this cocktail of drugs they are giving me.  The good news is that now that we know how my body reacts to the chemo, there are things he can do for me for the next round.  New meds to try to help curb the side effects. I'm praying it works because if I have to do this six times I will lose my mind.

By the time I left the Dr. and picked up Julianne at school, I was exhausted.  My sweet friend took the girls for a few hours so I could rest and then brought them home and helped me put them to bed.  I'm so thankful for my friends during this time.  They've been showering me with gifts, meals, and love.  I have the most amazing people in my life and this whole experience has just made me appreciate that even more.

So there you have it, the worst day so far in this whole chemo experience.  It's only day 7 so I'm sure there may be worse days to come.  I pray there is not.  I will always remember day 7 as the day that almost broke me.  Here's to hoping for better days to come.

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