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LAST CHEMO TODAY AT LAST!!! (at 80% strength & Neulasta tomorrow & close monitoring now)

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I FINALLY got my last chemo round today, at 80% strength because my blood count numbers were still pretty bad and the oncologist said we ‘pushing the envelope’ giving me chemo today. (i.e. my platelets were 84 instead of the 100 cut-off number; and absolute segs at 1.01 which is the subset of white blood counts that provide immunity). In order to get chemo today with those lousy counts, I had to agree to go in tomorrow for a shot of Neulasta as my white count (immunity) is dangerously low and will drop further after today’s infusion without some intervention. This will be my FIRST Neulasta shot so I am soon to experience what so many of you do as a matter of routine. And I have to plan on going in weekly over the next month to have my blood drawn again for very close monitoring as this chemo starts to kick in, so there may be another blood transfusion in my near future. So, in addition to my Neulasta appointments, I have an April 2nd appointment scheduled to coinside with when this chemo begins to really kick in and drop my blood counts even lower. But at least I got my 6th round of CHEMO into me!

The injection site is a big goose-egg gooney for the first time, and Vic and I turned the car around and went back when we were coming home and my hand started to swell. It’s the lack of platelets causing bleeding inside and they told me to ice it for 24 hours off and on and then switch to warm compresses after that. My veins are almost all shot now and they had to poke around with the needles to find one that the chemo hadn’t scared too badly, so my arms look like I’m a junky with purple and yellow bruises everywhere. I pity the technician who has to stick me for my CT-scan in 2 weeks; it’ll probably be my daughter-in-law Audie who has to find a working vein for the contrast. I should have gotten the port, but it's too late now.

But I feel surprisingly good (steroid-induced hamster days, perhaps??), even with my compromised bone marrow and scary blood counts. I had to be there at 8AM today and got home at 4:30 so I am really tired. Looks like my 4 or 5 week ‘recovery’ period before radiation starts will be interrupted with my weekly monitoring visits with hematology, and (I'm guessing) getting my radiation ‘butt cast’ and tattoos, but am sooooo happy to have the chemo infusions behind me at last!

Thank you so very much for all your prayers and good vibes and faithful support and guidance. I'll keep you posted on the decision about my radiation, but I plan to fight to get it ALL, if my bone marrow can recover enough to do it.

pjba11's picture
pjba11
Posts: 192
Joined: Nov 2008

Sorry about the post we must have both been entering!! Now I can read about you. ..........Just read your entry. What a day!! some really good ........some bad. The really good. YOUR DONE AND HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY AND SMOKED THROUGH NUMBER 6!! YES!! .....so very happy for you. Hope the shot tomorrow kicks in for your healing. I can sure relate to what you went through with the bruises and needles today. Please be careful that yours don't turn into blood clots like mine did. BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND: CELEBRATE THE FINISH AND REST REST REST!! Radiation here you come. Piece of cake for a survivor like you. HUGS!!

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Thanks, Peggy! You are my constant inspiration and I just love you. Any ideas other than the ice followed by hot compresses to help prevent these huge 3-D puffy 'bruises' from becoming blood clots? The swelling has already gone down by half. I don't need any more trouble at this point!!

I'm too tired tonight to celebrate, but after my Neulasta shot tomorrow, I have a birthday party to go to for my sweet grandson Jakey's 7th birthday. I shouldn't go and be in a roomful of little runny-nosed kids, but I'M GOING! (full of Neulasta!!) I may even have a glass of wine! I got Jakey a Nintendo DS and Mario Cart game and a special Mario race car 'pen' to use to tap the touch-screen when he plays. The grandkids have Mario Cart in Wii and he loves to play it on the big screen TV, so this is a little version for him to play on the schoolbus. (And my Emily already has a DS, so I got her a Mario Cart game cartridge too, as I always take a smaller Un-birthday gift for my other non-birthday grandchild to help with the envy-factor!)

pjba11's picture
pjba11
Posts: 192
Joined: Nov 2008

I wish I knew more in the remedy class... but I don't. I had to do my own shots in the stomach for my clots. The swelling in my arm went down with anti-inflam. prescriptions. Was quite entertaining to watch myself enlarge quickly..felt like a living balloon. Is that how you felt too on your hands today? My Hint: Do your neulasta shot in you stomach... it won't sting as bad as your arm... although this shot is not a bad 'sting' either way. Also.. what is a butt cast? Did I miss out on that in my treatments?? Sorry to ask ...Butt couldn't help myself (pun intended.) Stay strong.. have a mind set that no self respecting germ would DARE enter your zone at that party tomorrow while you are enjoying at least one glass of wine...............CELEBRATE.

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1390
Joined: Jan 2009

I know how important it was for you to get your 6th treatment. I am so glad you could get it. Now I hope you do well with the Neulasta shot and the blood work in the following weeks. Hope you can enjoy the birthday party too. Sorry to hear your veins are so bad and you have such bruising. Wish I could give you some of my veins and some of my blood counts. Just remember to be careful to not bump into anything or fall. Your need to protect yourself from more bleeding. Take care.

shortmarge's picture
shortmarge
Posts: 295
Joined: Nov 2008

Glad you are finally finished with the chemo. Many, many hugs to you. Rest, rest, rest. Let everyone take care of you so you can get those blood levels up. Before you know it you will have the Jamie Lee Curtis look going on like me!

Believe it or not I can still see the spot where they put the IV in at my 3rd chemo. I bruised so bad it discolored my skin. I was thinking about getting a tattoo there that says C.C.K.M.A. (Cancer Can Kiss My A**) with a peach ribbon.

You take care of yourself and get your strength so you can be strong for radiation. I will be praying for you.

MIND, BODY AND SOUL!!!

Hugs.

pjba11's picture
pjba11
Posts: 192
Joined: Nov 2008

I had to stop and laugh after reading your last entry Marge............I love the C.C.K.M.A part. Some days I think that should be my exclusive motto!! MIND, BODY AND SOUL.... I always think of that as your brand. Today as I read that my mind changed your brand to MIND, BODY,SOUL, & A**...........just so cancer would know right where to stick it peach ribbon and all!!! Does it sound like I need to see something besides SNOW!!? Sorry!! Hope all of you are have a good healing day. God Bless. CRFB!!

cookie1948
Posts: 79
Joined: Feb 2009

Linda,
I am so glad you got the last chemo in!!! We'll keep praying for you and that your counts will go up. I am so sorry you have to go through all of this , but you are a fighter and will be CANCER FREE when this is all over. You have been so supportive and informative to all here, and it's in the "cards" for you to succeed and do well. I know it's a battle you're fighting, and you will WIN.
God Bless you and keep us posted. You are a wealth of information and have helped so many understand this horrific disease while u too are fighting the fight. Keep it up, you "go girl."
Fondly,
Cookie Linda :)

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

Congratulations on getting your last chemo, I am sooooo happy for you. Sorry for the trouble of the low blood counts, but I think you will do fine. Rest and let your body heal so that you are able to take the radiation treatments.
I was disappointed to not get my 4th treatment on Monday, but I was able to spend time with my neice and I was able to go to St. Louis for my grandmother's 91st birthday. I am so thankful that I was able to go. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. I am learning not to question what he has in store for me. I am so happy that I was able to spend some time with my grandmother.
I am home now and dozing in my recliner. I will spend the weekend resting and sleeping to build up my counts before Monday. Hopefully I will have that treatment.

fuzzytrouble's picture
fuzzytrouble
Posts: 210
Joined: Feb 2009

Hi Linda I am so glad that you got your last treatment, the Neulasta shot I hated because of the bone aches. It should help you, I was in the same place as you a couple of times, I had the transfusions and the boosters and they worked for me. Here's hoping you will bounce back in a hurry. My doctor told me to take 2 Tylenol's 500mg every 8 hours for the Neulasta shot and it did help. I am going for my special ct scan on Monday to see if the chemo worked for me. It's the waiting game again. Remember don't run with scissors or cut yourself it takes a long time to stop the bleeding. My cat clawed me accidentally and it took forever for a small scratch to stop.
Have a good weekend Linda and again I am happy that you don't have to worry about your next chemo treatment.

Living with hope,
Sharon

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I feel 'off' today, and will probably baby myself all day and maybe even finish the book I started during my first chemo treatment and never finished because I always ended up yakking with my fellow chemo buddies instead of reading during my treatments. I'm think I'm just tired from my hamster days (nights) of no sleep from the steroids. My oncologist said to expect my counts to REALLY tank in about a week, and that's why I have to go back in Thursday for more blood work and intervention if I'm dropping too low. The Neulasta shot yesterday was painless and so far no aches, and maybe it won't be painful for me. It's when you get Neulasta when your counts AREN'T that low that they hurt, my doctor said. My bone marrow has to be HOLLOW with MY counts, so there will be plenty of room in there for my white count to multiply without pressing on my bones! HA!

Deanna: you may have these extra weeks for recovery in your last couple of rounds, too, but you have the right attitude. That surprise extra week where you feel good can be a real blesing, and I always tried to pack in a few more good times as long as I had the extra week before chemo. It's lousy to have to push back the 'final treatment day' in your calendar, but I think it's wise to let your body set the pace. My CA-125 dropped a little even in the extra week, and my hair didn't even try to grow back even when I had almost 5 weeks between treatments this last time,...showing that the chemo is still working away even in your 'delay' week. I considered the delays as perhaps God's answer to my prayers that I not have long-term side-effects from my chemo, and that the slower pace was keeping the neuropathy down and maybe even preventing me from destroying my bone marrow for good. My grandson has his SECOND birthday party today with all of his classmates at a skating rink / miniature golf place, but I am going to pass on that one and doubt if he notices my absence. I think I need to avoid 30 kindergardeners, and as much as I LOVE to roller-skate, I'm too out of practice and all my falls would REALLY make me black and blue with these low platelets!

I wore FALSE EYELASHES to the birthday party last night! They are HARD to put on, but easier with totally NUDE lashless eyes like mine. So with my wig, drawn-on brows, and false lashes, and my rosy round steroid-face, I thought I looked pretty healthy. I look so pitiful most of the time any more. The 'no lashes / no brows' is a truly bad look for me. I may have to try harder to get dolled up more often. I see the reaction of my kids and friends when they stop in and catch me 'au naturale', the tears that spring to their eyes. I don't want to look pitiful; I don't enjoy that kind of attention.

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

It seems that most are handling my bald head (including me) relatively well, but now that the lashes and brows are slowly falling out, I am starting to look ill. I used to have a lot of days that I got up and just put mascara and powder on, now I find myself applying all of my makeup most days. When I look at myself in the mirror without make up, I see a sick person. That doesn't always reflect how I feel. Even on the days I am lazy at home, I am putting on make up. I still have sparse eye lashes and very thin eyebrows and will probably be investing in false eye lashes soon. I have been practicing up on drawing on the eye brows... I can't stand wearing my wig, so I go with a hat most of the time!
I hope this last round of chemo is easy on you and your hair starts growing back in soon. Keep us posted on the radiation, I think you will breeze through it! You have such a great attititude, I don't think anything will keep you down for long.
Take care of you.
Hugs,
Deanna

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1390
Joined: Jan 2009

I lost my eyelashes this week. My eye lids were itching and I noticed there was nowhere for my mascara to go. I still have some of my eyebrows. I too have tried to put make-up on most day, as I think I look healthier, too. I wear a hat or scarf most of the time. I wear my wig to church, or if we are going somewhere that I don't think the hat is right to wear. I have been using the eyeliner on the top and lower lid, and I am getting better at applying it. I still have not mastered the eyebrows yet. I think part of it is the eyebrow pencil is too dark for me. I just need more practice I guess.

Deanna I hope you can get your chemo treatment next week. Hope you do well after it, too. Did you stock up on anti nausea things? Hope you have them and don't need them. HUGS to you.

deanna14
Posts: 733
Joined: Oct 2008

Sorry about your eyelashes. I am having difficulty with the eyebrows too, but it's okay. I got an RX for Emend from the doctor, but my portion after insurance is almost $100.00, so I think I am going to try to just take the Compazine and Zofran starting the morning of chemo and hope that gets me through this treatment. If not, I will fill the Emend RX for next time. I think if I can keep ahead of the constipation and keep something in my stomach I can overcome the nausea. I'm going to stock up on light snacks.
Anyway... thanks for the encouragement.
Hugs,
Deanna

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

I've only had 3 or 4 days of each chemo cycle where eating is a challenge, but I know how important it is to find something you can choke down that stays down. I find that when everything to eat looks or tastes disgusting, there are a couple of fall-back foods that I seem to always be able to get down. So I thought I'd share them in case they work for you, too. Please share any ideas you might have as I have no appetite at all today. Seems like I can usually eat a little warm oatmeal with a handful of almonds tossed in, as long as it's not a sugary version of instant oatmeal. I can usually eat a piece of unbuttered whole wheat toast. I get those fancier soups that come in the cartons (V-8 makes some good ones) and the spicier unusual versions of tomato soup, butternut squash soup, and split pea soup all seem to taste pretty good and stay down. I can eat a salad if it doesn't have any dressing on it at all. I try to eat a yogurt every day because I think it helps get the digestive system re-balanced, but I look for kinds without sweeteners because, for some reason, the sweets and fats I have loved all of my life are the very things that are MOST disgusting to me when my taste-buds are off from the chemo. Marge's suggestion of the ginger-ale has been a life-saver for me (THANKS, MARGE!), as even water tastes horrible right now, and I drink a lot of unsweetened hot jasmine or green tea (not sure how good this is for me, but I know I must stay well-hydrated and this doesn't make me nauseated). For the last couple of chemo rounds, I took 2 stool softeners the night before chemo to get ahead of the constipation. I skip my vitamins and calcium on chemo day. I don't take the anti-nausea pills unless I am really in distress because I think they are constipating, but I've had a cast-iron stomach all of my life and I haven't really ever been nausiated enough from my chemo treatments to throw up. But everything DOES taste moldy right now.

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