My Journal Entries

Journal Entries

MY 1st JOURNAL ENTRY: 01.16.05

“One week and two days since first chemo treatment (January 7).  First day after treatment on Saturday, felt no major side effects.  Beginning on Sunday, foggy feeling in head (hard to concentrate), fatigue and rapid heartbeat.  Appetite increasing similar to pregnancy.  Went to work on Monday, left at 3:00 for Neulasta injection at doctor’s office.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday difficult: fatigue, foggy head, rapid heart rate continues (spoke with Dr., rapid heart rate due to dehydration.  Taking in more water now).  Began Meditation on Sunday, had massage on Monday night.  Went for acupuncture prior to chemo treatment, next acupuncture is scheduled week after second treatment.  Had to rest after work on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday prior to making or going out for dinner.  Many mixed emotions  during the week: fear, anger, frustration, sadness, depression, anxiety-all fleeting.  Meditation big help; need to make time at least every other day.  Friday afternoon started to feel better, head clearing, less tired.  Weekend the same.  Hair growth is slowing down all over body….scary.  Will schedule wig appointment this week (haircut very, very short on Saturday 1/8, positive reactions).  Port remains troublesome, but less so.  Putting on weight! Went into work on Friday one hour late-very sleepy in the A.M.   Difficult journey, have a bone scan on Tuesday.  Very scary waiting for the results, so many negative tests results since October, fearful of tests now.  After bone scan results will schedule cat scan.  One step at a time…..”


Between first and second treatment had bone scan, cat scan of thorax, abdomen, and pelvis.  Scary…..but, thanks to God all appeared negative.  Second chemo, the port did not draw blood secondary to a clot.  Had to use Actulace (kind of a rotor rooter injection) to clear the clot.  Took an hour extra.  During second treatment cycle, red blood count fell.  I had to get two Procrit shots a week apart.  No more palpitations with increased water intake.  However, gastric reflux very uncomfortable.  Had to give up chocolate, orange juice , excessive tomato sauce, and my evening wine.  Doctor increased Prevacid to twice a day with relief.  Reflux is better.  Symptoms experienced during first cycle, similar in second cycle, but more intense early symptoms and continued longer.”


“Had third treatment; port still not working correctly.  Doctor prescribed 1 mg of Coumadin (blood thinner) to hopefully prevent port from clogging without changing PT/INR (in lay terms, this relates to a person’s blood clotting time).  Writing this day after treatment, feeling tired, but otherwise okay.  Adjusting to wig.  Marita (my hairdresser) washed the wig for the first time (on my head) and styled it.  Looks nice, makes me feel more “normal.”  Did not meditate much during second cycle, but continued guided imagery provided by my acupuncturist every day.  But did not sit in meditation (not sure why ?).  Today and yesterday I listened to “positive affirmations” while lying down.  Went to bed last night at 8:00 pm—exhausted.  Continued with acupuncture and massage during second cycle.  Have both scheduled for next week along with an appointment with plastic surgeon to start planning reconstruction when treatments all done.”


“Left work yesterday at 2:30 pm, totally wiped out.  Port very sore, was actually apprehensive about making the drive all the way home.  Reflux terrible yesterday, even though didn’t eat anything on bad list.  Really bad gas cramps in the evening.  Had to start putting in eye drops as pressure increased in eyes (probably due to steroids) and a salve at night along with refresh all during the day for dry eyes.  Called in sick to work today so I can rest, eat small frequent meals.  Depression winning this week.  Praying for strength…..”


“Next to last treatment today…one more to go!!!!  I’m writing this still under the influence of Ativan injection into the port during chemo.   Not sure why I haven’t journaled during the last three months.  The Cytoxan and Adriamycin finished after four treatments, started Taxotere on 4/1.  I had high hopes the the Taxotere would be much easier,  however, I was depressed to find that Taxotere is also very debilitating in its own way.  I’ve had to stay home from work following treatment on Friday (off on weekend), but couldn’t go in on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday following each cycle.  This is mostly without pay due to using up all my sick days between surgery, etc.  Treatment day is fine.  I’m just tired, sleeping in the afternoon for 2 to 3 hours.  Rest for remainder of the day.  Saturday usually not too tired, able to grocery shop, get a few things done.  Sunday, the tiredness progresses.  By Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday extremely weak, shaking on inside of body, feeling totally debilitated.  Feel very depressed during these times, feels like it will never go away.  Have also been having problem with white blood count on the Taxotere (which is supposed to be easier on bone marrow/cell production).  One day in April, had to stay home from work and isolate myself secondary to unsafe low white blood count making me too prone to infections.  Thankfully, 24 hours after Neupogen shot (and using powerful visualizations of a white blood cell factory in my body inside my bones producing new cells like crazy), my white blood count went way up, all the way to 12.  Doctor couldn’t believe it!  Red and white blood count have been up and down, have needed Procrit and Neupogen (or Neulasta) to maintain appropriate levels.  After treatment on 4/22, I received neulasta and had severe bone pain in spine, coccyx bone, and leg bones (oh, also rib cage and that’s pretty scary because hard to tell if heart or ribs are what is causing pain).   This time (following 5/13 treatment), I will request Darvocet script after Neulasta injection.  Getting really weary of the whole thing.  It’s amazing how you crave your old “normal” life just feeling healthy and going places, having hair, and an attractive body.  Speaking of hair, I have “peach fuzz” all over my head.  CAN’T WAIT to have my own hair again!  I will try to write more over next few days about what is occurring.”
Weakness, weakness, weakness…..that is what is occurring.  Body so shaky inside; depression and anxiety take over.  Along with jaw pain from the neulasta, there is about 48 hours of a weird throat constricting feeling.  Reflux awful for a few days.  Need to sleep a lot.  Not able to work all week.  Can’t wait for this to be over!!!!!  Bone pain not quite as bad this time.  Had bizarre dreams, did not sleep well.  Getting fatter and fatter.  Can’t wait to be able to diet and exercise again!!”


“It is the morning after the last treatment (moved up one day by me!)  I was unable to sleep, woke up at 5:00 am and was reading on the couch.  I was thinking how, of course, I want to survive (that’s what the treatment is all about) but when I hear people talk in terms of “I am a 5 year survivor, I am a 10 year survivor, it bothers me (fear maybe? I don’t know).  But, in the same way I fear terrorism, and want to be diligent in protecting myself from terrorism, I don’t want to live each day of my life afraid of terrorists.  I want to be diligent in testing and keeping myself as healthy as I can without thinking of myself every day in terms of “cancer” or “survivor.”


“Today I had the port removed!!!!!  It feels like a major step toward a positive future.  Like the end of chemo, it is happy, but a little scary.  Chemo and the port are life saving treatments, and, as Dr. C. said at my 10 day visit following my last chemo treatment…”your security blanket is gone.”  So, evidently my reaction is typical.  Now, I can’t wait to start a diet and gentle exercise routine ( I have to see how tired I feel with the radiation treatment that starts the second week in July).  Two more surgeries to go for reconstruction. “


“Long time since I’ve journaled.  I will try to back things up.  I didn’t start radiation treatment until July 25th.  Three preparation visits: cat scan, permanent blue dot tattoo on chest for placement of radiation, “dry run” and then radiologist went on vacation for a week.  Radiation went very well, just a little fear of the unknown in the beginning, but pretty much “a piece of cake” compared to chemotherapy.  No burn (just a little pink and a slight rash), no discomfort and no major fatigue.  Thirty-three treatments finishing up on Thursday, Sept 8th.  During that time, my hair was growing back, had it rinsed blond on August 16th, but not ready yet to go wig-less in public.  My first day wigless in public on Sept 7th…went to work without wig!!!!  Still feel a little self-conscious, but it’s growing!  Went to plastic surgeon on August 22nd.  She is very pleased how my skin looked at that time (about half way through radiation), but cannot have reconstruction for 3 to 6 months after radiation ends.  She says closer to 6 months.” Disappointed.


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