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Goodbye, A/C. Hello, T!

ejourneys's picture

Today I received my last infusion of Adriamycin/Cytoxan (fourth of four cycles). On average, this is the toughest phase of my treatment. If that is indeed the case with me, I should have pretty smooth sailing ahead, relatively speaking. Later in the month I'll start on Taxol for 12 weekly infusions. Radiation and aromatase inhibitors are farther down the road.

I was so excited that I had left my lights on for the three hours I was in the cancer center and had to call AAA for a boost. :-) Cancer has also touched the mechanic's family, so we talked for a bit. Today I am thankful for my cell phone, AAA, water bottle, lemon juice, and sunblock, along with the cancer center staff and a host of other things. That includes my subconscious, which treated me to last night's dream in which I met and hugged Neil deGrasse Tyson. :-)

I am also thankful that I got home before the skies opened up. We've had some very close lightning strikes -- close enough to make our lights flicker. They prompted me to temporarily disconnect my computer, modem, and router, and to turn off the other A/C -- the one that keeps us cool.

I write myself a checklist when chemo comes up. The day of chemo and the next day when I get my Neulasta shot, I just want to head home and rest afterward. There follow a couple more days of primo nap time before my energy level starts to climb again.

It means that I get to the grocery ahead of time, to make sure I have enough food (and enough of the food I need) on hand. If there are any other errands I need to do, I do them on the days before infusion. This week I also made sure I delivered three freelance jobs to clients before chemo day.

Then there's my chemo prep checklist, which looks something like this:

1. Take Claritin and Tylenol (along with my usual Vitamins C and D) on the day of chemo and for 4-5 days thereafter. For those days I set out my pills in a bowl the night before.

2. Make sure my Emend (anti-nausea) pack has arrived and place it immediately inside my chemo bag. I don't take it until I get my go-ahead from the chemo nurse. Once I'm home, the pack goes into my pill bowl because I'll be taking it for the next two days.

3. Place a Prilosec in a baggie, which then goes into my shirt pocket. I take Prilosec daily to combat chemo-induced heartburn. That means that on the day of chemo, I take it while I'm still in the chair.

4. Make sure my MP3 player is charged, because epic music gets me through those hours in the chair.

5. Make sure my chemo bag has my water bottle, a small bottle of lemon juice to add to the water (otherwise my "chemo mouth" makes the water taste metallic), my weekly side effects report, and anything else I want to share with my medical team.

6. Make sure I have sunblock in the car, because chemo makes me extra sensitive to the sun. Cancer center guidelines specify SPF-50 or higher.

7. Make sure I remember to wear my sunglasses and my chemo cap.

Due to my heart racing on the third night following the third infusion, my steroid dosage was halved for the fourth. I'll see how I do with that. The steroid is meant to increase appetite and decrease nausea. Fortunately, the drug is still doing its job as of this writing.

My modem was on the fritz for a few hours the other night. Digital art is one of my forms of meditation (especially with a chemo session coming up), so I spent my time offline putting this together:

Large size

Uses a self-portrait (taken on July 7, 2014), my shot of the Full Pink Moon from April 6, 2012, and my shot of a Tree Nymph, taken at the Florida Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Rainforest in Gainesville on May 2, 2011.

Prior to that, I had warmed up with other digital doodling:

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