I’m fine, thanks. Well… I’m fine considering what my body has been through. I’ve done 20 weeks of chemo and now I’m on the recovering side of things. I’d like to feel like I did last fall – but it’s going to take some time for my body to recover from the chemo, and from the inactivity. These are the things that I’m dealing with now:
PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY: My fingertips have some loss of sensitivity and are tender when I try to open my pudding cup. And my fingernails are ugly AND tender… items that require fingernails to open (like the mustard, or a pop can, or the Tylenol) usually end up being opened by Kevin. My feet are tingly/numb, with tender toes and toenails. I was telling Kevin that my feet feel like I walked 20,000 steps yesterday – but they feel like that every day.
TAXOL RASH: The backs of my hands and the soles of my feet have a rash from the Taxol. This rash is raised red bumps that itch like crazy when warm, but not when cold.
So I haven’t been wearing socks much, because that keeps my feet cold and relatively itch-free. Benadryl cream also helps. BUT if I walk very much (like when I take a trip to the grocery store or library) then my feet get hot and my rash itches. How am I supposed to get back in shape with my feet doing this? I haven’t walked around the block in weeks because of this problem… which leads to…
WEAKNESS: I am SO VERY out of shape!!! I especially notice this when I am going down stairs. My muscles are not used to doing much with all the sitting around and resting I’ve been doing! It is going to take a while to build these muscles back up! I can’t wait to return to boot camp… maybe in June?! But at boot camp I’ll be walking a lot and resting a lot and having to remind myself that the only one I should compare myself to is me.
FATIGUE: which is different than weakness… I’m still tired a lot. I’ll have energy in the morning and do stuff, and then rest all afternoon. I THINK that I’m not as fatigued at the end of the day as I was last week, but it’s difficult to measure. I expect that the fatigue factor is going to improve in such a gradual way that I won’t really notice until suddenly I realize that I’m okay.
HAIR LOSS: I have 7 upper eyelashes on my right eye and 4 on my left. I have zero lower eyelashes on my right eye and 1 on my left. That was the eyelash inventory last night… so I’ve continued to lose eyelashes, and eyebrows. BUT meanwhile, I have fuzz on my head! Why am I losing hair on my eyelids and growing hair on my head?? The fuzz appears to be mostly white, with a sprinkling of darker hairs. In some places the fuzz is actually long enough that I can pull on it with my fingers. With this warmer weather I’ve been going hatless indoors most of the time, and wearing a baseball cap when I go out.
So that’s what I’m dealing with. I’ve been SO lucky… neither Kevin nor I have gotten sick over the last 20 weeks… not even the sniffles! And my side-effects, while annoying, have been relatively mild. BUT I’m looking forward to getting beyond the fatigue and neuropathy effects of the chemo. I’m looking forward to building my strength back up. I’m looking forward to getting out and being around family, friends, coworkers, and patients!
I’ve probably told you this already, but I have my 4-weeks-post-chemo appointment with my oncologist on May 29, where they will draw labs and, hopefully, declare my counts back to normal. If so, then we’ll schedule my port removal surgery, and my oncologist will say: See you in 6 months!