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Pump is off for first chemo cycle

Jo Joy
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2012

Over the weekend (my 96 hours of chemo) I felt pretty good. I drank 75 oz. of water a day and ate like I normally eat. Saturday I kind of felt out of it, like I had taken some heavy cold medicine, but that lifted by the next day. I did sleep a lot this weekend. I was in bed by 7 PM and relaxing and to sleep by 8 PM most of the long weekend. I have been constipated and that caused the rectal bleeding again… I was feeling good today until they had taken off the pump, flushed the lines with heparin and started the bag of fluids and another IV of anti-nausea medicine, when I had a wave of nausea hit me pretty strong.

One of the chemo Dr.s (not mine) came over and told me that it was all in my head,since I had eaten breakfast just prior to that, and that people expect to get sick at chemo and so they do. (Ya, didn’t have that experience 96 hours before, why would I think that I would now??!!)

Then the chemo nurse came over and said that this next week would be the toughest for chemo, and since I was feeling nauseated that I should start taking the super strong nausea RX medicine they gave me for that on a regular basis for awhile. I ate some Greek protein yogurt and feel fine now. I don’t want to take the RX unless I have to because it will knock me out. However, if I do start feeling that way again, I will certainly take it. I will see the chemo peeps next Monday for blood count and dressing change on my central line.

Is this similar to any of you that have gone through this? Is there anything I can do or eat to keep my blood counts as high as possible during this week? Or will I just need to monitor how I am feeling and call the DR. if it gets bad?

law522
Posts: 37
Joined: Oct 2012

Thank you for posting I am going to start treatment either next Mon or the following Monday and your post has given me a lot of information.
Your post is inspiring to me THANK YOU.

Jo Joy
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2012

You are welcome. So glad that I could be a contribution to you right now. There are many voices of wisdom here I have discovered. I looked through posts to help me set myself up powerfully for the journey through this based on what I read. I am as ready as I can be for any side effects to make it as easy as possible for myself. One thing I did give myself was time to grieve the loss that the cancer diagnosis brought with it, even though my doctors assured me that my case was curable. I let myself cry when I felt like it and my inner circle let me express whatever I was feeling...even if it wasn't positive at the moment. They continue to do that for me even now. It is very easy to go to the place of 'it isn't fair or why me?" but it is hard to leave that place. So I don't go there very often now.

Gigi is right when she said to live in the present. Today I feel great! Today I feel cancer free and normal like before I started treatment. Pray and hope for the best but get yourself prepared as best as possible mentally and physically. One thing one of my oncologists told me was "Now it is the time for it to be all about you."

Stay tuned and I will report in as often as I can. Take care!

geneviasue's picture
geneviasue
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012

As a mom and grandmother, I don't often stop and absorb any pats on the back or enjoy moments where I'm the focus. And that's ok because being a mom means life is about my family. Well, until this revelation took place. When I was first diagnosed, some of my cancer survivors friends immediately started telling me this was about me and how I needed to allow people to focus on me. I'll be honest..that was very hard. Just the thought of someone doing something like cooking us a meal or making a trip to the store for us brought me to tears of humbleness. I've since realized that for this season in my life, this is about ME and the journey that God has me on is for a purpose, a good purpose. I have to be still and know He is God and He knows the plans He has for me, to prosper me and not harm me, for hope and a future. (Psalms 46 and Jeremiah 29:11).
I know that on the other side of this cancer, lies a blessing for me and a ministry of caring for others as others have cared for me during this time. I've never been so surrounded by people who care..for me..just me. I will forever be grateful and plan to pay it forward for the rest of my life.

So yes, stay positive!! This is a journey and we have to remember how curable this cancer is if caught early and treated properly.

Much Love..Gigi

Dog Girl
Posts: 100
Joined: Sep 2010

Gigi,

I'm glad that you realized that this time does need to be about you. I am single, and do not live in my hometown/state, so I very much needed to rely on my friends as I had no family to help (although my sister from TN came quite a bit and even my brother from AZ came in for two weeks.( Conversely, I also didn't have to take of anyone else during my tx either except for my animals. :)

Just put yourself in your friends' and family's shoes. Don't you want to do something when someone you love or care for is hurting or needs help? Of course you do, and your friends and family want to do the same for you. They can't take the tx for you, and it can be such a powerless feeling to see someone you love suffer, so believe it or not, you are helping them too by letting them help you. And since I am very independent (by both personality and circumstances), it is a good reminder that we are not in (total) control of our lives. I believe this experience will make all of us more empathetic to others and I know I'm now much better about recognizing and giving thanks for the small, everyday blessings I have.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I am so glad that you are doing pretty well. Interestingly, the only time that I ever got nauseated and light headed throughout the treatment was when they flushed the lines on disconnect. I did not have any IVs at all upon disconnect. No antinausea meds or IVs on disconnect, or at any time for that matter. The nurses also told me that the light headedness was more psychological. I have no idea what caused it. I can still remember the pungent smell of whatever substance they used to disinfect and flush.

As far as food during treatment, do you have a dietician at the cancer center? I found the dietician assigned to me very helpful. Protein is essential for healing. You want to monitor your fiber intake. If you are constipated, you might want to try a little more fiber. Most of the time during treament, you may have diarreah, and then you will change your diet to eliminate high fiber foods.

Here are the foods that I relied on during treatment. I used organic whenever available.

Plain baked chicken, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanut butter on white bagel or cracker, baked custards, hummus on pita bread or plain bagel, string beans, butternut squash, white fish baked, salmon, steamed yellow squash, cream of rice cereal, applesauce, greek yogurt plain, do NOT have any acidic foods like citrus juices.

The hummus is very helpful for diarreah. To this day, I have a least 1/4 cup a day, and it has really helped.

I was told that the blood counts could not be aided by food during chemo. My white blood cell counts got low during treatment twice. It is really important that you are using hand sanitizers and avoid crowds, especially at this time of year. When my counts got low, I was given neuprogen shots and felt like I had the worst flu that I ever had for a week or so afterwards. If your cancer center has a dietician, I would recommend a session or two to develop a plan that will work for you.

Hang in there! You are one week closer to a cure!

geneviasue's picture
geneviasue
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012

Hey there!!

You've been on my mind and I've been praying for you. Week 1 DONE!! YEAH!! Praise the Lord.

Ok, to your nausea question. I didn't have nausea at the time of the pump removal. I will admit though my nerves were on edge with not knowing what it would feel like. We all know nerves can cause nausea so maybe that was it for you. Plus, like Linda said..that smell was unpleasant but left quickly.

Week 2 - I got my pump off on Nov 2nd (Friday) and by Tuesday 4 days later I felt so good and have felt good the remainder of that week. I'm on Day 12 of rad treatment today and still feeling pretty good. Starting to feel some anus discomfort though. I hate to mention this but I also got a yeast infection in week 2 from the chemo so be aware that is a common side effect. If you notice anything, address that quickly with your dr.

Counts? My white blood cells dropped from 6700 last week to 3700 this week. My red blood cells are still normal. I meet with a dietitian today so if I learn anything from that, I'll share it.

God also taught me a lesson this past week. I've found myself so anxious about the next 6 weeks but the Lord gave me this thought and I've adopted it as my new motto. "That's not Today". No matter what I may face in weeks to come, that's not today. Today, I'm ok. Today, I can eat. Today, I'm not X. Whatever it is, whenever it is. I'll deal with each moment right then..not a minute earlier and when it's gone..it's gone, never to feel again. Hope this helps you as well.

Marynb
Posts: 1134
Joined: Aug 2012

I am glad you are doing well. Living in the moment is the only way to go when you are going through this, or any tough situation. Many of us get through this treatment and never face worse case scenarios! You remain in my prayers!

geneviasue's picture
geneviasue
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Mary,
You always reassure me and others too I've noticed. Thank you for all you do.
Also Jo,
I take half pills instead of whole ones for my nausea which for me reduces the drowsiness.

Jo Joy
Posts: 39
Joined: Oct 2012

Hi Gigi!

So glad to hear from you again! I have been praying for you too and waiting expectantly to hear from you and how you are doing.

I am feeling great again today. I did end up taking a nausea pill last night and having soup and dry toast for dinner. The pill didn't make me sleepy at all! Today I am back to normal and so is my appetite. I think Mary was on to something when she said it might have been the heparin flush that could have made me sick like it did to her. When I get the dressing changed again on Monday, I am going to tell the nurses aid to do it slowly and that way it won't make me sick to my stomach.

I have never had a yeast infection but know what to look for. Do you think acidouphalas (sp?) would help me prevent it?

I was supposed to start rad yesterday but the machine was down. I went for my rad appt this morning and when I was in the parking lot, they called to say it was back up but not up to specs and the physists were still working with it. So no rad today either...grrr...let's get this show on the road! I have my life to live! But then i have the assurance that this is all in God's timing and He will make the way for me through this. I see the wisdom in what you are saying Gigi about living today. Today I have an appetite, food tastes good,I got a great call from my daughter today, my puppies snuggled with me this morning, I have a great new job waiting at the end of this...so blessed.

I had a meeting with my new employer this morning and told them about the diagnosis but more importantly the timing of treatment. I am going to be finishing up right when I am supposed to start work there. They were so gracious!! They said that whatever I needed would be given to me as far as flex schedule while this was going on. They said that if I didn't feel well that I could go home at any time and that my health was the most important thing. They even asked if I was able to drive myself to treatment and if I needed help in that way. They have had another department director that got gravely ill with the hanta virus and almost died and then had to fight lung cancer. More and more I am assured that this is what God has for me. This job will be easier, less stressful, a totally supportive environment (which I haven't had where I am at), great leaders, and it is a half a block away from my home. Again...blessed.

geneviasue's picture
geneviasue
Posts: 89
Joined: Oct 2012

I'm glad you're doing well too. God is so good to us isn't He?

I spoke with a dietitian today and she said that there isn't anything you can eat to help your white blood cells. Red meats will help with building iron which in turn will help red blood cells. I'm was so hoping to hear of some positive, proactive foods but apparently not.

I will tell you something too if you haven't already noticed. Your diet will play a huge role in your diarrhea. I've removed milk, ice cream, nuts and heavily spiced foods like chili so far. Craving breads for some reason..probably just my system. My husband said it looks like Taco Bell for him for a while. lol. Our friends are doing a meal train for us so our dinners are cooked by them through the month of November. That really helps!! So blessed.. I also made up some flatbread turkey and roast beef sandwiches and put them in the refrigerator for days I don't feel like eating much but want something lite and filling.

Are you still working? I'm a criminal fraud investigator which is all done from my office but felt it was better to take off instead of dealing with the stress. God bless you if you are!!

Take care..sending prayers your way!!

Psalm 34:8
"Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him."

Thats means us Jo Joy!! We are blessed for trusting in Him. It's going to be okay my friend.

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