Before I get into how I've been feeling, I told you last time about the Neupogen shots I'll have to get every day for a few days. Because my white blood cell count dropped drastically (which is actually very common in chemo patients), they need to get me to make some more white blood cells. The Neupogen shot stimulates bone marrow growth and should cause a significant bump in my white cells. Low white blood cell count means my body will have a hard time fighting off an infection, so we have to be careful with that.
The first two shots I got at my oncologist's office (Thursday and Friday), but since they're closed over the weekend, I had to go to the ER to get the shot today and will do the same tomorrow. The shot goes in your stomach (or you can do the back of the arm but they recommend the stomach). The needle is really tiny, so it doesn't hurt, but the Neupogen stings pretty good as it's going in!
I didn't have any side effects from the first shot on Thursday, but I did after the Friday shot - mostly nausea and some flu-like symptoms including a sniffley nose. This morning when I woke up my joints were achy and many of my muscles (arms, legs, abs) were sore to the touch - like I had a really tough workout the day before (I didn't). I just woke up from a nap and am feeling really achy again. Thankfully it's not too painful - just bone and muscle aches.
Tomorrow should be the last shot for this round of chemo. They'll test my blood counts again next week to make sure, but I expect to be back to normal by then :)
The Last Few Days
So, how have I been feeling these last few days since chemo? Well.... I haven't had a migraine or really even a bad headache this time around. I have some discomfort on my tongue, but thankfully it's not nearly as painful as last time. Pain killers have been helping quite a bit, so I've been able to eat and drink without too much pain, woo hoo!!!
The nausea this time around has been worse (which could also be caused by the Neupogen shot), but it's manageable. So far my digestive system is working well - no constipation and hope to keep it that way! So overall, this seems like cakewalk compared to where I was at this point last time. I hope it stays that way!
But boy am I tired.
Low white blood cells can cause fatigue, as can the chemo, the pain medicine, and the Neupogen shots. I've been napping several times throughout each day - I went to bed at 8:00 last night! I find it hard to even keep my eyes open sometimes!
My hair is coming out pretty good now. Even gently running my fingers through my hair leaves somewhat large chunks of hair in my hand. Although I knew this was coming, nothing can really prepare you for that.
I'm going to get it cut a little shorter on Monday - the hope is that with less weight, less hair would come out (and it will make it easier to clean up as it comes out!). I'm using a silk pillowcase (a gift from Grammy), which I think helps a lot - there doesn't seem to be much left on the pillow in the mornings. Still holding out hope that I won't have to shave it completely, but also prepared for that possibility. Again, only time will tell.....
Before & "After"
Obviously, I'm not done with treatment, so this isn't a true after picture... but I wanted to show the progress of how treatment is working on my tumors - it's amazing! In just a few days after my first chemo treatment, the large lump on the side of my neck was almost completely gone! Now, you can't even see or feel anything! The scar is barely even noticeable! Seeing these results is incredible - makes dealing with these icky chemo side effects a little bit easier when you can actually see the chemo working.
Ok, well I'm off to bed. It's almost 9:00 - that's a late night for me :)