The Crappiness Has Set In

I’ve struggled this week, mornings in particular. Sore throat, low grade fever, stuffy nose, runny nose, stomach issues…it’s almost over.

Almost. Over.

This is the beginning of hell week for me, and it’ll last about another week. Then I have one more cycle of chemo and it’s all over.

There will be other issues then, I’m sure. Surgery, recovery, etc.

I feel like those problems will be nothing though, compared to all this chemo sick.

I got satin sheets. My chemo nurse this week suggested trying them for the hot flashes since they tend to be cooler than cotton sheets. I’m laying on top of them, having a hot flash, so we’ll see about that.

Something funny I remembered about chemo day this week…I sat next to a nice lady who also has breast cancer, hers is triple negative. We claimed the space between us as a neutral zone. Anyway, moments after we introduced ourselves, like less than two minutes, I forgot her name, and she was calling me Amy.

It was kind of a relief to actually experience a fellow chemo brain.

Duh… (& hot flashes)

I spent a few minutes today looking for my phone that was in my hand. I was at chemo, and wanted to post something snarky, but by the time I found my phone (smh), I forgot what I wanted to say. So I figured I’d just say: “Hey! Today is my second to last chemo treatment! Woohoo!” Then I forgot to post it…

The chemo brain is strong with this one!

Aside from that, I’m doing well but super tired!

I may have mentioned that my liver numbers were a little high at my last chemo appointment. Well, they’re still a little high. So Dr YB reduced my taxotere dosage, as that can sometimes be a side effect. So we’ll see if that changes how I feel this cycle since taxotere is the nasty one. It would be nice since Christmas falls right smack in my bad week, so it would be cool to feel not as bad.

It was a long day, but I chatted with my recliner neighbor and listened to a book on tape, then did some word games and puzzle books. Tomorrow I’ll go for my Neulasta shot, and I don’t have to go for one week labs next week since my white and red cell counts have remained well throughout treatment. Score! One less thing to do the week of Christmas!!

After the Neulasta shot, the next thing I have to do is chemo on January 8th!

Oh! And I did talk to them about the evil hot flashes. Since my liver numbers are rising, the doc didn’t want to add any news meds to the ever growing cocktail I already have, as that can make those numbers worse. As it is, post-chemo I’m taking meds for: heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea, plus a steroid and Claritin for the Neulasta bone pain. And then I have other meds to take for more random symptoms that may pop up. It’s bananas, but I get it. So I’ll deal with the hot flashes. They’re a result of the hormones, since I’m basically in an induced menopause. Once I come off the chemo on January 8th, I’ll be continuing some hormone maintenance stuff until September. So once the chemo stops and the side effects slow down and those liver numbers go back up, we can look at treating the hot flashes.

I can’t really complain, I mean I’ve finally found fixes for most of what I’m experiencing, except the fatigue, lightheadedness, and hot flashes. It could be worse!

Ok, I’m going to crash! Have a great evening!!

Tonight, We Waxed

If you remember my first hairless photo and corresponding blog post, you’ll remember that I was left with a bit of a buzz (or click here for a recap).

So I’ve been living with the buzz for a while now, slowly losing some of the little spikes, occasionally using tape to rip some of them out…but nothing was really doing it and it has been getting more and more frustrating. Mostly because the same problem is present now that was present when I finally lost all patience and decided to shave my head in the first place. They hurt! The follicles are getting irritated because they want the hair out and that results in soreness, particularly when I lay down to go to sleep and my head hits the pillow and rubs against it, thus irritating the follicles.

I’ve officially had enough.

Today, Brad and I hit Ulta searching for the perfect wax. And seriously, visiting Ulta in a busy shopping center one week before Christmas was not the smartest idea, but fortunately it wasn’t too horrendous.

There was a sale, so we bought three kinds to try. One is a sugar something, one is strips, and one is a gel.

I got the strips to try on my legs. I can’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but I shaved my legs around the time of my first chemo. The hair grew back a tiny bit and has been that way ever since. I’ve read some cancer blogs and websites and all of them say not to shave after the hair loss starts because it will be harder for the hair to fall out and that will cause irritation. Well, I’m currently getting occasional bumps on my legs where the shorter hairs are, sort of like razor burn, so I was looking for an alternative. I know waxing is a long shot because the hair is so short, it would be hard for anything to grasp it and pull, aside from a tweezer (I am not going to tweeze my legs – no way!). Anyway, the strips didn’t work at all. I even tried them on Brad to see if it was just me, and they didn’t work on his fur either. So wax strips – waste of money.

Next I tried the natural hair removal gel on a small patch on my head. Victory! Of course, I have some stubborn hair (it has always been stubborn, might as well be stubborn in the end, too). Not all of it came out in the first round, so we’ll have to do another, but it has worked beautifully. I’m impressed.

I did some spots in the front, Brad did some spots in the back, and it’s progress.

I may try it on my legs when I’m done with my head, just to see, but I’m pretty sure I’m SOL with my legs since the hair is so short. I just don’t think it’s going to catch. I wish I had read ahead, or someone had told me, don’t shave!! That’s such a huge piece of advice!!

Anyway, chemo is tomorrow! Only one more after this. 😁

Chemo Pimples :-/

I thought I got over breakouts when I exited puberty.

Well, that’s a lie. It seems I have never been completely without breakouts, but they certainly haven’t been puberty level bad in a long, long time…like 20 years a long time.

Until now.

Thank you, chemo. Thank you for the chemo pimples.

What is a chemo pimple? I’ll tell you. (And no, I promise this isn’t going to be a gross post…well, any more gross than talking about pimples is in general.)

So, chemo pimples sort of look like regular pimples, only they are hard and they hurt and they can’t really be popped. They feel like a little grain of sand under the skin. And they are little red devils from hell.

And they turn up everywhere!

I have them on my face, my forehead, my head, the back of my neck, my back, my chest…everywhere.

They show up near the end of week two, beginning of week three, of each of my chemo cycles, so about 2 weeks post-chemo.

They don’t respond to acne treatment, these mutant chemo pimples. And I have tried to pop them, but even if I make progress on that front, nothing really happens. They don’t go away.

It figures they show up right when I start to feel well enough to rejoin society.

Concealer, foundation, scarfs looooooow on my forehead…

Gah!

I mean come on, chemo…..we’re already bald, pale, and generally feel like garbage, gotta make us pizza faces, too?

So there…that’s my rant for today. ❤

For sticking with me, how about a free book? Click here.

Peanut Butter is Kind of Cool

Why, you ask?

Because it kind of, sort of, almost (but not entirely) masks the metallic taste in my mouth the week after chemo.

So, one of the other side effects that irks the heck out of me is the metal mouth taste. It ruins the taste of food and is all together unpleasant.

I noticed the other day that when I’d eat Reese’s Puff cereal, don’t judge, the metal taste wasn’t as persistent. It was still there, but it was covered up a bit. So I proceeded to eat the heck out of the cereal. First, it tastes like it’s supposed to, and second, it kind of hid that metallic taste. Win, win.

Of course, I can’t whip out a bowl of Reese’s Puffs every time I want to get rid of that taste, and (unfortunately) it doesn’t really have a lasting effect on the metal mouth.

What’s the alternative? Peanut butter! Straight peanut butter. Right out of the jar, with a spoon. Yummo.

Again, it doesn’t eliminate the taste, but it masks it pretty well. And the straight peanut butter is thick enough that it lasts a bit longer than the Reese’s Puffs taste. It helps before bed, because there is nothing worse than trying to sleep with a metal taste in your mouth!!

And mouthwash, gum, Biotene, etc. does not help at all. If anything, mint makes it worse. So I do brush before bed, but after rinsing that mint taste out, I opt for the peanut butter chaser!

Hot Flashes Suck

One second I’m cold, the next I’m hot. One minute I’m comfortable, the next I’m crawling out of my skin.

Hot flashes might be one of the most annoying chemo side effects.

Why? Why is something that seems so non-evasive in comparison to other side effects so obnoxious?!

Well, for one, because they happen all. the. time. All the time. Day, night, awake, asleep, home, out, etc. All. The. Damn. Time. And the lovely weather here in South Carolina isn’t freaking helping. The temperatures fluctuate between 50 and 70, day and night.

Should we have the heat on? The AC? Nothing? Fans? Blankets? What thickness of blanket? Sleep pants, a night shirt, shorts? It’s so uncomfortable! What I think will work might work for about 20 minutes, then I need a complete readjustment. Then by the time I’m comfortable again, my stupid internal temperature shifts and I need something else. But it’s like I don’t have the hot flash until I’ve adjusted myself, until it can be considered inconvenient. “Oh what perfect timing for a hot flash!” said no one ever.

So yeah…layers. Lots and lots of layers. Day clothes, pajamas, and even bed sheets. Everything must come in layers.