I can understand why people wear down and want to give up, and you don't understand it until you go through it. That stuff is poison!
A few weeks into round two of chemo (12 weeks total), my fingernails and toenails started turning purple and will probably eventually fall off. I also started suffering from neuropathy (tingling in the fingers), which the doctor anticipated.
Seven weeks - They considered changing my chemo meds due to continued neuropathy
Eight weeks - They decided to change the meds and didn’t feel the need to give me Benadryl or steroids prior as no one had ever been allergic or had a reaction to the drug I was receiving. Well, lucky me...guess what happened? Yep, my lips swelled up, my palms turned purple, I was red under my nose, on my forehead and behind my neck, and I got purple and red blotches on the top of my hands. All the nurses surrounded me, the doctor came out, and they immediately hooked me up to Benadryl and steroids. They kept me there for an hour and a half watching my blood pressure and breathing, hoping I wouldn't go into cardiac arrest. Fortunately, the Benadryl and steroids worked and I am fine, with a few bumps and bruises. My hands looked like I had a chemical peel.
Nine weeks - I pre-medicated with Benadryl and steroids and had no reaction except the usual neuropathy, which was getting worse.
I made a trip over to Seattle and, while I was there, SCCA was able to get me in for a pre-op ultrasound. Great news!! The technician couldn't find the lump, so they sent me for a mammogram to find the clip that had been inserted during the biopsy.
10 weeks - I went in for another dose of chemo and neuropathy was still getting worse. Dr. Brady asked if I could make it for two more sessions, and I told him I'll do whatever I need to do. We'll get through this.
11 weeks - When I went in this time, the nurse told me I didn't look too good and went to speak with Dr. Brady. He was concerned that the neuropathy would cause permanent damage so, with that and the results of the ultrasound report, he released me from the last two chemo sessions. Hallelujah!! Jim and I were both crying, I was jumping up and down like a little kid, and the nurses were celebrating with us.
On May 1st, I went into SCCA for a pre-op appointment and met with the surgeon, who was very happy about the ultrasound report. As of now, I am ready for my lumpectomy on May 28th, after I return from Josh's wedding in Hawaii and reception in Yakima.
First and second round comparison: Being allergic, tired, and drugged up most of the time felt just as bad as feeling sick, tired, and having pneumonia. It wasn't so much the chemo, I mean it was the chemo, but the Benadryl made me want to lay down all the time and say, "Leave me alone," because I was so tired. When I went out to visit the Zumba classes, the ladies would tell me I looked really tired and ask if I was ok. I wanted the energy to dance with the girls, but I couldn't, and that bothered me. If I have a choice, I don't want to do either one again. Hahahaha! That's behind us now. Chemo is done...YAY! We're now waiting for the neuropathy to go away and the hair to grow back and looking forward to celebrating having all of this behind us. Now it's time to focus on the wedding, surgery, radiation, and complete healing.
"Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure." Robert Lipkin