Chemo Round 37 was not like the others, and not in a good way.
Let me start over. I can’t blame chemo for all of it. Really, I can’t blame treatment for most of what I’ve been through over the past ten days.
It started on the Saturday before last. I woke up feeling fine, humming away on the computer and on a project that Dr. Lenz and I have been working feverishly on (unveiling of that project coming soon). At around noon, I hopped in my car and headed to the gym…and that’s when I felt it. A wave of exhaustion.
For someone who never gets tired, this was strange. I totally could have pulled over to the side of the road, reclined my seat, and taken a nap right then and there on the 101 Freeway. I kept driving to the gym, figuring that it would pass as I worked out. But it didn’t. Even on the basketball court, playing the game I love so much, I wanted to stop. So I did. I took a nap at the gym, drove home, and took a two hour nap at home. When I woke up, nausea hit me. I puked. Then had a bout of diarrhea. Then slept more. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I picked up a stomach bug and that the weekend was pretty much shot.
And it was. I spent the weekend in bed, barely eating, sleeping a lot, and dealing with diarrhea. By Monday morning, I felt about 50% better and figured I’d just push through with chemo.
Chemo infusion went fine. The steroids they gave me had me feeling good, eating fine, and relaxing. By Monday night, though, the fuzziness and nausea was more than I could take. I puked again. It was gross, but I felt much better afterwards and slept soundly. But I knew that a trip to my parents’ house -- and some good, old-fashioned help from all three of my “three nurses” -- was in order.
By Tuesday afternoon, I was at my parents’ house. By Tuesday night, I had a sick headache and was back in the world of vomit and diarrhea. Wednesday was even worse, as I started to get dehydrated on top of everything. And by Thursday, I went into Norris to do blood work and get fluids. Everything looked great with my blood except my liver enzymes, which were sky high: a pretty solid indication that I indeed had a virus that was attacking my GI system. Fluids helped, as did the anti-nausea meds, but I was kneeling in front of the toilet by Friday afternoon.
While chemo side effects lifted by Friday, I still battled the virus and spent the weekend in bed, barred from exercise or travel – specifically, traveling to LIVESTRONG’s 15th Anniversary Gala. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I was so upset I could barf – and I did again on Saturday. By Monday, I was back at Norris for blood work and fluids. This time, my liver enzymes looked much, much better and the fluids made me feel far closer to my old self. I spent the next couple of days in bed, eating more, pooping less, and keeping food down...slowly gaining strength and getting back to my old form.
And now, here we are: Wednesday night, and I feel totally recovered. I’m planning on taking it easy for the next couple of days, I’m planning on pushing chemo a week to give my body more time to recover, and I’m planning on never giving my body a 1-2 punch like that ever again. To be clear, this sickness had nothing to do with my cancer (only in that chemo made it harder for me to fight the virus), so don’t go freaking out thinking that cancer got me down for a week and a half.
There is some good news amidst all of the vomit and loose stool: I lost about 8 pounds so I’m looking pretty smokin’ and my CEA is down. And Chemo Round 37 will go down in the books as an incredibly valuable one: a round that taught me a lot about my body, what I can handle, and what I can’t handle. WunderGlo, after all, is still just flesh and blood.