It’s single-digits now. Three Taxols down, only nine more to go. I'm 25% complete.
I had my 3rd Taxol on Friday. My counts were a bit lower than Dr. B liked but they were good enough. Jason and I realized we are at the hospital every week, whether it’s for an infusion or a blood draw. It’s like Norm going into the bar in Cheers. They all know my name. If only I was getting real cocktails instead of chemo ones.
I am happy to say that Taxol is easier than AC. I’m not a fan of the weekly doses but but on the flip side, it does make it go by faster.
The worst side effect has been body aches and pains on the third day after the infusion that last about 2 days. After the first infusion Dr. B dialed down the dose amount to alleviate the pain. This doesn’t impact the effectiveness of the chemotherapy. It did the trick for the second infusion but for some reason it came back for the third. Urgh. There’s never a dull moment with cancer!
Last week my eyebrows and eyelashes finally gave up. It’s bad enough to lose them but it’s annoying that they’re falling out in chunks like a bad patchwork pattern. I debated about plucking the last few eyebrow hairs or filling in the gaps with an eyebrow pencil. Fortunately my eyebrow and eyelash cells must be super strong. As soon as they started falling out, they started growing in.
I'm excited to say that my head is sporting new soft, fuzzy hairs! It's so fine and light you can barely see it but it feels so good. It's like the softness of a newborn's head. There's a scattering of old hair stubble that just won't let go but I can deal with patchwork hair. I thought I’d embrace the baldness and wear it proudly but I’m over it. I want my hair back!
Oh, and did I tell you that I have no hair in my nose? I know, TMI, but it’s the weirdest sensation. It makes my nose runny a lot more than usual.
Last week I had a massage with a therapist who specializes in oncology patients. She adjusts her approach based on your treatment and side effects. Since I’ve had low blood counts, she used a light touch and pressure to avoid bruising and inflammation.
It was nice to have my body feel good after weeks of being beaten up by these treatments. It felt like heaven. Why do we wait until we’re feeling bad to treat ourselves to something that feels good?
Go book yourself a massage. Now.
My cancer badges
It’s been 12 weeks, 7 chemo infusions, almost 40 shots in my stomach and over a dozen blood draws. I count these things. I play number games to get myself through it. After my fourth Taxol infusion I’ll be 1/3 of the way done with chemo. That sounds much better than I have 8 more to go.
There’s also an odd sense of accomplishment. Each appointment and treatment is a milestone. Each side effect that I survive is like a badge of honor— although some achievements I didn’t want to earn. Playing with numbers reassures me that I have what it takes to beat cancer. This is a game I want to and will win.
I had some fun making my own badges to recognize my 'achievements'. Taxol is going to take a little longer to earn but it’s a big one— it marks that I will have finished all of my chemotherapy. Here's a few of the badges I've earned so far...