Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dateline Hemotropolis - The Continuing Saga

Dateline 2014, April 15/16. 4AM. City of Hemotropolis, State of Bart’s Body. Bart’s Brain reporting. Well, it appears the renewed U.N. peace keeping forces (2nd chemo treatment) decided to go on special maneuvers and marching drills all night long on the streets of Hemotropolis (my blood stream). Like tanks rolling down main street, all the inhabitants of fare Hemotropolis and indeed the whole state of Bart’s Body are being kept awake by the roaring chemo streaming through town.

Yup, I started this post at 4:00am and I have insomnia. I actually put myself to bed at 8:30pm last night but have been up and down all night. The only explanation seems to be the treatment. I created a video shortly after the treatment where I was very disoriented and exhausted and then another one at nearly midnight where I was very alert & coherent. Yet I had not actually slept between those two videos. I had dozed off for 5 minutes or less at least a dozen times, but no appreciable sound sleep. I mention in the 2nd video that I'm hot and yet cold to the touch. Especially my hands and feet are extremely hot but now, even as I end up this post at 5AM on Wednesday, only my torso, arms and legs feel cool enough to cover up. I need to leave today in just 3 hours to go for my second session in the 2nd month of treatment and I don't feel the least bit tired.

Finally laid down at 5:15AM and woke at 7:30AM.

Addendum: Date 5/16/2014
Rather than start yet another article, it seemed more expedient to just append here. I had my 3rd chemo treatment on Tuesday and Wednesday this week (May 13 & 14). Typical reaction: Exhausted, dizzy, weak. For some odd reason, after the second day's treatment I get the hiccups that evening and it lasts (on and off) for about 48 hours. The doctor said that what is prescribed for that symptom is actually an anti-psychotic medication. I declined it. I found that the anti-nausea pill he prescribed worked for the hiccups but only about an hour or two. Since the pill can only be taken once every 12 hours, that leaves me with about 10 hours of strong, loud hiccups. This is especially disruptive when I try to sleep at night--which further compounds my exhaustion during the day.

Another issue that came up this time (and with the second treatment) is that leaving the vein tap in after the Tuesday treatment so that on Wednesday all they have to do is hook me up isn't working. Once again, when they started the line, I felt immediate pain and the process had to be stopped; another vein identified; and infusion started up again. But now they are running out of good candidates for the tap. Both sites for this week's treatment are swollen and painful to the touch. One site from the second treatment is still not healed. The nurses urged me to talk to my oncologist about having a "port" installed. I did speak to him and asked what the downsides were. He mentioned infections. I asked if the port would be removed after my last chemo treatment. He indicated that Kaiser usually doesn't remove it but it remains with the patient for their lifetime. I decided against it but am now beginning to wonder which is the lesser of the two evils.

Addendum 6/10/2014
Nothing significant to report. Had 4th treatment. Very tired. The dosage of one of the chemo drugs was boosted slightly because of my body's favorable tolerance of the last (3rd) treatment. Took 2 capsules of "Lip-Flavonoid" when I got home. This over-the-counter supplement was reported to reduce ear ringing, which seems to get worse after my treatment for several days. I'll be interested to see if really does anything. Oh, I did decide to finally have a port put in. That will happen in the coming weeks before my 5th treatment. I opted for this because the nurses were running out of surface veins to tap for the infusion. Also, I spoke to the head infusion nurse who calmed my fears and concerns regarding this procedure.

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