I feel SO much better! What I am learning is that God so often doesn’t keep us from the fire, but He keeps us through it.
The Chemo from Hell
I have already experienced 4 treatments of chemotherapy, but this last treatment with my final drug Docetaxel (the one my doctor called “harsh”) really took me for a ride. I felt like I had been run over by a bus, and then backed over a few times. I realize that not everyone reacts the same way to every drug, but this drug made me wonder if I was ever going to be normal again. Not only did it completely wipe out my immune system by taking my neutrophil count to zero, but it caused severe neuropathy pain in my legs and feet to the point that I could hardly walk because of the pain and weakness in my legs. It also caused my abdomen to swell to the point where eating and breathing became painful. I constantly felt like I had eaten a huge turkey meal and I could not get rid of the pressure of that meal. On top of that I broke out in a bright red rash on my hands, face, neck, chest and back. And with my good bacteria all destroyed, my mouth was filled with thrush, and my gums, tongue, inside the mouth, and lips all felt like they had been burned raw. Yet through all of this God gave me two special blessings. I was blessed to have no nausea at all and I was so fatigued that as the painkillers took effect, I would sleep through until the pain woke me up again. Sleep is a tremendous blessing from God!
I was admitted to the hospital with a fever last Wednesday in the early hours of the morning. …
After a couple trips to the emergency department, I have been hospitalized with a fever, possible infection, rash and abdominal pain. While the blood culture is growing for 48 hours, I have been put on antibiotic pills and liquid form. My abdominal pain is better and I am being well looked after. My husband is especially helpful. He has hardly left my side and stayed with me as the doctor put me into isolation. I think he grabbed a little bit of sleep but it was sleeping in a regular chair.
Yesterday afternoon my white cells responsible for the immune response dropped to 400 which put me into grade 4 neutropenia. Overnight in emergency the count dropped to zero. I am in isolation while they try to fix the problem and keep me from getting sick. …
I survived the harsh chemo and lived through it. and now it is time for me to suffer through the results of the chemo. I have severe leg pain from my mid thigh to my heels. This is neuropathy caused by the chemo. I have been on special pills for the nerve pain, but they aren’t working yet. I hear it can take a couple of weeks before these pills handle the pain. For now I am just suffering and pretty much bed ridden. I praise God for a chance at life, but I also ask for His help to bear the pain.
My doctor and I were ready for the worst, but God gave an amazing answer to prayer!
My immune system – specific white cells needed for my immune system – had to be high enough to handle the harsh chemo that targets both white and red cells and kills them more thoroughly than the last chemo did. In my third chemo session, I only qualified for 3/4 dose because my immune system was not high enough. The minimum qualification for full dose is a count of 1500. I was only at 1200. But with with the lesser dose of chemo that was given to me at my 4th chemo session, I came up to the count of 1900, still below “normal” but the best I had seen since I started chemo.
So when my blood was tested this morning, I was at 8000 a count that is far above “normal”! One of the nurses was very worried that the high count could mean an infection, but after a thorough check, it was attributed to the 3 doses of steroids that I was required to take to prepare me for the allergic reaction that can happen with this chemo. …
Today I started my pre-meds in preparation for “D” day — the start of the harsh chemotherapy treatment that could be a part in my healing, but could also threaten my life.
I was prescribed twice the dose of steroids to protect me against an allergic reaction to the chemo and also to help protect me against a side effect that would cause my body to swell with fluids. How well this pretreatment works will be seen shortly. I was also given pretreatment for the neuropathy that accompanies this particular chemo. I already experienced this attack on the nerves in my legs with the last chemo, and I came close to over medicating myself with Tylenol because I couldn’t sleep due to nerve pain, but the next level is said to be much worse. In fact all one’s nerves can be affected include the nerves in one’s ears which could lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss. There is so much to be afraid about, but God is giving me peace to walk this road to go for the cure.
In the words of my doctor, “We are going for the cure.”
What does this mean?
The four rounds of chemotherapy that I have already endured have done wonders for the visible cancer. The cancer had attached itself to my chest wall and was hard and locally spread. Not only was a lymph node involved as well as multiple tumours, the cancer had also spread to multiple local areas within the skin itself. It was a very aggressive cancer. However all of that visible sign of cancer is now gone and only some blemishes on the skin are left to show where the cancer existed. But cancer is a malicious thing that is not necessarily “gone” until there are no cancerous cells left. My doctor thinks I have a chance at a cure, and he wants to take me through a process that could give me a complete cure, but there are problems.