I want to preface this post by saying that I take back everything nice I said about Doxil before. So there.
I was originally scheduled to have my second Doxil treatment on Thursday, October 4. The pre-treatment visit with Dr. F made it clear that the staff would be unable to administer chemo that day due to mouth sores and a crazy skin thing, both caused by the Doxil itself. It seems a little weird to me that the drug is responsible for these outrageous side effects, but the side effects have to be completely cleared up in order for me to safely accept the drug. Whatever.
I left the hospital more than a little discouraged, armed with instructions to come back the following Tuesday so we could "try again."
Mom and I followed directions and were there before the appointed time on Tuesday the 9th. This time I passed inspection and we were sent down to the chemo room. We immediately picked up on an invisible power struggle going on between the two chemo nurses. One definitely seems much more competent and patient-friendly than the other (to me, anyway), but does it really matter whose side of the room has more heating pads? I felt especially sorry for Keith, the new guy, whose job it is to collect patients' vital signs, document medications, and otherwise be at the nurses' beck and call while learning the ropes.
I had some apprehension about my port. The last time I had treatment, I had just come straight from surgery and the surgeon had just left the port accessed for chemo. Today I would find out what "accessing the port" really means. Bottom line: IT HURTS. As I write this one week later, the area around the port is still tender and sore. I would much prefer to have IV lines started each time. I fail to see what the big advantage is!
My pre-meds went down with no problems. Just when I was getting comfy with my pink hoodie and my zebra blanket, the nurse had a new fun surprise. She started the Doxil, and then she brought over two huge ice packs. One went on the floor and I was made to rest my feet on top of it; the other was for my hands. Additionally, I was given a cup of crushed ice. The presumption is that ice slows the circulation of blood to the extremities during treatment, which in turn lessens the chances of sores popping up in the weeks after. I am in favor, of course, of avoiding painful sores on my hands and feet and inside my mouth, but I was freezing. I had to keep the ice on me the entire hour that it took for the Doxil bag to drip. It seems hard to believe that in the year 2012, we don't have any more sophisticated method of preventing chemo-related sores!
We made it home with plenty of time to spare before the cowboys got home from school. I went straight to bed, not feeling terrible, but not feeling great, either. And so it has gone for most of the last week. While I have had some bouts of nausea, I haven't felt terribly sick. Mostly, I feel tired. Fatigued. Exhausted. I can be working my way through a day, and suddenly I just have the overwhelming urge to lie down. That usually results in a "nap" that lasts 3-4 hours! These naps have been defined by nonsensically vivid dreams. One day I dreamt that I lived in a 2-bedroom apartment in the ghetto. My friend Rachel, aka Moldy, brought over a random baby boy for me to take care of, but he was dressed in girl clothes. My neighbor loaned me her double stroller for this babysitting bout, which was chrome and outfitted in the latest "hooptie" styles. Another neighbor insisted that I join her in a field and fly kites with her because we were running out of wind energy. Strange. Another dream had me dressed up in Little House on the Prairie-ish clothes, running through an old Indian village. As I ran in and out of teepees I shouted, "Sanctuary! Sanctuary!" I finally found safety in a nearby saloon, only to be discovered by a little boy I used to teach who I suppose grew up to be a bad guy. A dream over the weekend involved a wartime airplane. I was decked out in goggles and a scarf, and I expertly landed my plane in the desert. I had nothing to eat but cactus, which was lucky because somehow I knew how to cut a cactus just right so as to get the grape jelly out of it. People I went to high school with were there, but their cacti did not have any grape jelly. I guess they weren't properly trained.
So, one week in to the 2nd cycle, I am tired. The good news is that I seem to have finally turned a corner with my new and not-so-large-intestine. I am still very cautious with what I eat, but I have been pleasantly surprised to find that I am finally able to eat some meat, a few finely-chopped fruits and veggies, and even one slice of pizza the other day! I still have not worked up the courage to test another baked potato, though. It will be a while before I feel that brave.
I continue to ask God for protection from illness, germs, and sores. I thank Him when I wake up and realize that I am not really Laura Ingalls or Amelia Earheart, and that I have enough sense to find those crazy sleep scenarios comical. I am glad when I stay up later than my kids, and I am thankful when my Hubby sends me to bed, even if it is a ridiculously early time. I plead with God that Doxil, with all of its quirks, would be THE drug that I need it to be. I know that so many friends, family, and even strangers are pleading with me and for me. Thank you. He is good, and He does good.