Topic: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hello all,
I am finishing my week off of chemo, having completed my fourth cycle of Gemzar/Cisplatin. I am now halfway through my chemo and very excited to be on the this half of the count down. I have had a few bumps along the road, but all in all it has been an okay journey thus far. I had my CA 19-9 rechecked and it is 9! That is well below the normal range. I also had my first repeat CT scan since starting chemo. I don't know the results of it yet, but am confident that it all looks good as my cancer markers are negative.
I am getting neulasta to help boost my white counts after chemo and that has been working great. It has allowed me to continue with chemo with no postponements. My hemoglobin has been gradually dropping and last week it got down to 8.6. I was becoming very short of breath and getting chest pain with exertion. So on Tuesday I got 2 units of blood. I have been feeling much better after the transfusion, but of course the day after the transfusion I got a cold and spent 2 days home from work getting better.
It has been getting a little harder the further I get into chemo, but my husband has been great at helping me with cooking and cleaning. I am starting to feel a little cooped up. I don't leave the house much except for work and the grocery store. I haven't been home to visit my family much. They all understand, but it is hard not to see them and help my mom take care of my dad. It also has been bitterly cold here and winter is dragging on. I cannot wait for spring to come and get some nice days. I think that the cold weather is making me a little more stir crazy, but it is does make me feel better to know that an end to the cold weather and chemo will come soon.
Thanks for your time and listening,
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hi Shari,

Thank you so much for sharing your chemo journey here with us all. I know that your experiences here will be of great interest to many of our members. That is great about your CA-19 and I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a positive result to your CT scan. Thanks again for sharing this and I too hope that Spring gets a move on and hurries up in showing it's face!

Best wishes,

Gavin

Any advice or comments I give are based on personal experiences and knowledge and are my opinions only, they are not to be substituted for professional medical advice. Please seek professional advice from a qualified doctor or medical professional.

3 (edited by marions Mon, 14 Feb 2011 02:36:16)

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari.......Chemotherapy is accumulative  thereby causing you to be a bit more tired as time goes on.  But, you seem to be doing fine otherwise.  What great news that is!  Spring and the end of chemo; I am wishing for both to come around real soon. 
All my best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari, you sound like the most beautifull and strong woman and I am sure your attitude has been so helpful in your Chemo regime. Whatever, however, keep it going as you are a great inspiration to others!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari - You're incredible....keep it up and I wish you sunshine soon!  It's been a long, long winter, hasn't it????

Mother of John who lost his battle on Oct. 9, 2009 at age 30....

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hi all - winter here seems like it has been going on forever. We have had a few nice days as of late and a little sunshine. I am feeling back to my old self this week and have gotten over this cold quickly. I did a little retail therapy with my sister this weekend and that always makes me feel better, chemo or not. Thanks for all of your kind words and well wishes. I will update with the results of my CT scan. I have an appointment tomorrow with the start of my 5th cycle of chemo.
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Ahhhh......retail therapy with a sister.......the greatest words EVER!

Mother of John who lost his battle on Oct. 9, 2009 at age 30....

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

OK - so I got the results of my CT scan today and I have mixed feelings about the results. My liver looks good, just post surgical changes. I have some fluid at the base of my right lung that is still there from when I had a large pleural effusion drained after surgery. I have a few "nodules" that showed up in my lung. They don't know for sure if they are anything as they are very tiny. They scheduled me for a PET scan as I have never had one. The nodules are so tiny that they don't even know if they will show up on the PET scan, but thought that it would be a good idea to have a base PET scan done. I am torn on how to feel about these new findings. I was sick when I had the CT done, so they don't know if maybe that affected my scan. With my CA19-9 being 9 and feeling good I am not too worried about the findings. I am not going to worry about it until the spots are big and there is something to be worried about. On a good note my hemoglobin is 11.3 smile and I am feeling much more spunky and back to my old self again. I can actually walk and not get tired or SOB. I am at chemo now and am going to be starting my 5th cycle. I am going to go now and watch Sex in the City 2 as I have finished watching the entire series from start to finish. At least I am getting caught up with my chick flicks smile Till next time . . Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hi Shari and enjoy your Sex and the City. About the lung nodules, not sure of your age but sometimes as we get older we do get this infamous nodules and I hope that is what it is. I have had them for  about 20 years now and I have friends who have the same. Not saying they shouldn't be checked out, just saying don't get upset. We have enough to get upset about as it is. You are doing so fine. When is the Scan? I just had one and I know how it is to hold your breath until the results. Keep up your great work!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari....Great to hear that your spunk has returned.  Good luck on the upcoming PET scan and what about the weather?  Is it warming up a bit?
All my best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Lainy - I am 29 and don't have any scans to compare them. I won't sweat it until I know if there is something to worry about. If I can't control it, its in Gods hands, and he will take care of it and me.
Marions - we got a teaser of a few days of 40 degree weather, but its gonna cool down to the teans in a few days. I will take it, it warms the heart and gives us some hope of spring and summer.
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hi,
This week I finished my 5th cycle of chemo and had a crappy few days. I don't know if it is the weather of if I finally hit a wall and needed a few days of poor me and a good cry, but I now feel up to writing about how I am feeling. I am feeling okay, but my hemoglobin is down again and I am starting to feel very short of breath and crappy when I exert myself. So here I sit getting ready to get 2 units of blood.
It is hard to explain all of the feelings that I have had the past few days, and even harder to explain why I feel bad for having these feelings. I have been fortunate in that chemo hasn't been that hard on me. I am able to work almost full time, only taking off my chemo days and when I need blood. I don't have many side effects from the chemo and am able to feel just about normal day to day. For me keeping my normal routine had been my greatest coping mechanism. I have given up certain things during the past few months of chemo. I no longer go to the gym as it really gets to be a bit too much. I also have gained a little weight, thanks to the no gym and steroids.
I know that I am harder on myself than most anybody expects me to be, but we are our worst critics aren't we. My attitude has been back to normal now, and I think I just needed a few days of a bad attitude.
I'm sure I am not the only one who has had these feelings, and it is very hard to accurately voice what I am feeling. I am not blessed with the ability to find the right words to explain how I feel. 
I want to thank everybody on this website for listening to me ramble. This website has been a great source of encouragement for me.
I am looking forward to have a good week off from chemo, getting some rest and recharging before starting cycle 6.
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hmm, now let me see, the doctor is in and the verdict is "YOU ARE NORMAL".
If you don't stop being so hard on yourself, you will meet yourself in a dark alley and NOT like what you do to you! OK Enough of that. I think you are going through this beautifully and better than most. Everyone deserves to have some down time and then, enough until the next one!  I am hoping for you to keep up the great job you are doing and feel good, that is most important. Looking forward to you next post.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari - From what I am reading, you are doing incredibly well keeping your emotions in check.  No one can -- or should -- expect more than that!  Depression and breakdown moments (or days) are a "normal" part of dealing with cancer.  Do not be so hard on yourself.  You sound like an awesome person.  Recharge....recharge.....recharge....Nancy

Mother of John who lost his battle on Oct. 9, 2009 at age 30....

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari.....Definitely, not.  You are not the only one with these feelings. At times it really helps to let it all out.  I am glad that you did because; this is a board of real people, with real feelings.   
BTW:  have you ever had the chance to read up on Dr. Giles' responses to others?  It has helped me through some of my rough spots and possibly it might help you too.  Or, you might even want to drop him a note. 
Hang in there.  All of us are rooting for you.
All my best wishes are heading your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Thanks Lainy, Nancy, and Marion,
I have just had a really emotional week. I cry at the drop of a hat for no real good reason. Anything just makes me want to cry. I physically feel pretty good this week, especially after getting blood. I have a good friend that has been a great shoulder to cry on, and think I might be feeling a little better. I know that a week off from chemo will help. This funk of mine will pass and I will be back to my usual self. I will just have to imagine myself on a beach somewhere enjoying a margarita smile
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari, imagine this: you come to Phoenix and we sit by a pool sipping bloody Mary's in the morning, Margarita's for lunch and Champagne Cocktails at dinner. Then we go on a huge shopping spree in Scottsdale, money is no object. Oh, we have to slip in a day at the SPA, maybe run through it twice. In the evening we shall take in a Broadway play. So far so good, I am liking this "Fantasy" myself! I hope you are on the rise up again.

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Count me in, Shari.  Beach and Margaritas....hmmm.  Us Californias are shivering, because it is really cold here well, for California standards that is. 
You have tons of love coming your way,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari,

Hope your feeling better.  I just read your posts and can relate to crying at the drop of at hat at anything and everything during chemo. I'd cry for myself, I'd cry for others and I'd cry over commercials on tv, etc.etc.  It's the steroids.  It can also happen when you go off steroids.   People react differently to steroids and even differently at different times, but the emotions you described are very normal while on and off steroids.  I took them 4 days out of 7 during chemo weeks.  It will pass.

Kathy

Tears aren't a bad thing.  I've read they release toxins out of your body.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Hi all,
I am starting my 6th cycle of chemo today. Lab work looks good and my hemoglobin is in the 11's after my blood. I had a wonderful week off from chemo and have been feeling great. I wasn't emotional last week and I think I just really needed a good cry. I had a PET scan last week to recheck the spots on my lung and they didn't look suspicious. They will continue to watch it with my follow-up CT scans. Now if we could only get a break from this cold weather and all of this snow and it would start to feel like spring.
Shari

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Yea! Shari, you go girl! All great news just like we want it to be. Good luck on this 6th cycle!!!

Teddy ~In our hearts forever~ATTITUDE is EVERYTHING
Any suggestion I offer is intended as friendly advice based solely on my own experience. Please consult your doctor for professional guidance.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

That's great news Shari! Yes, good cries clear out unwanted emotions and make you feel better! I think Spring is just around the corner and you will be enjoying the warmth of the sunshine soon. Have a great day! Nancy

Loving my husband from afar.

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari...That is fantastic news, Shari.  You have made it through the rough spot. 
All my best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Shari,
Have you read , "The Crazy Sexy Cancer Survivor?"  If not, try it.  She was young when diagnosed .. given a short time to live...almost 10 years ago!  She'll cheer you up..she has a great website, too, and a recently published cookbook that is now on the NY TImes Best Seller list...
You really have a great attitude...Keep on keeping on.
Kathy

Re: My Chemo Journey . . .

Kathy....It has been a long time since we have had anyone mention her site.  Here is the link: http://www.crazysexycancer.com/
Thanks for bringing it up.
All my best wishes,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER