Chemo: Round 1…Almost

I apologize for not having posted sooner. I was hoping to wait until I have finished my first round of chemo so that I could make one big post about my first complete experience. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for my counts, so that’s not going to happen.

What do I mean by counts? Every time I go into clinic for chemo, my port is accessed and blood is drawn for labs. The labs come back, providing an array of information regarding my blood and my immunity. The most important count is the ANC, the Absolute Neutrophil Count, because it will determine whether my body can handle more chemotherapy drugs. I have been waiting on my counts to rise for about 2 weeks now, and I can’t do a thing to help.

My chemo schedule is this: week 1, two days inpatient (meaning I am admitted to the hospital; week 2, one day outpatient (meaning I am just in clinic); week 3, 5-6 days inpatient; week 4, rest.

Week 1 was not very bad. My nausea was well controlled: I never threw up, I just felt a little off. After coming home from the hospital I slept for about 3 days, eating very little. After that, I felt normal. Week 2 was a simple 15 minute infusion of Vincristine, but it turned out to have the worst effect. The next morning I was due to take my APUSH exam, but I was too sick to go. It was the first time I’ve thrown up in years (TMI, I know.) ¬†Another 2 days of sleeping and lounging, and I was back to my old self. Now, I’m waiting on my ANC to rise so that I can begin Week 3. After 3 complete cycles of chemo, we’ll be ready to surgically remove the tumor.

Let’s talk about hair loss. A few days after my outpatient infusion, my hair was still completely intact. However, I had been told that my hair would fall out about 2 weeks in. I had already cut and donated 8 inches so that the loss would not be so dramatic. How much time did I have left? That night I hesitantly ran my fingers through my newly shorn hair, and there was quite a lot of hair in my hand. It had begun. I spent the rest of the night pulling hair out myself, desperate to be in control of my situation. The next day my parents and I tried to find hats, and dad finally found a couple at Claire’s. Matthew and Katie followed soon after with several adorable hats. I am dearly loved. My hair continued to thin, and, tired of looking sicker than I am, I decided to shave it. Matthew shaved it for me. Remember when I said I am dearly loved? I am.

I’m much less upset about my baldness than I thought I would be. In fact, I rather like the look. My head is a weird shape, though. It’s long in profile, like Megamind or something. The silver lining is that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described Sherlock Holmes as having the same head shape in The Hound of the Baskervilles. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

I’d like to conclude by thanking you all again for your continued kindness and prayers. Reader, take this time to do something nice for yourself, for me. Even if it’s just taking a minute to do your favorite thing or watch a video of a baby laughing. I wish more than anything that I could properly repay you.

And So It Begins

Last week, my hip area ached so badly that we went back to the hospital for some imaging (I had had a biopsy on my pelvis there the Thursday before) to figure out why the area had begun to hurt so intensely a week after the procedure. We waited for 4 hours for the insurance company to approve the CT scan, and I was on the table for 5 minutes. Super awesome. The radiologist said she didn’t really see anything overtly wrong, and we were free to go. I say this only because I promised to capture my journey on this blog, and this is what happened. I also wanted to mention that I had the most amazing smoothie from the MUSC cafeteria…it was so tasty. Mmm.

The results of the biopsy came back inconclusive a few days ago (the pelvis one). The tissue was found to be necrotic, which essentially means it’s dead. There were cells that could either be lymphocytes or Ewing cells. Knowing this, the doctors have chosen a more aggressive track of chemotherapy. That chemotherapy begins tomorrow.

The time is now. Matthew and Katie brought me lots of cool stuff that will make the chemo suck less, and in doing so they’ve given me the illusion that I’m going on a trip. That’s how I see it right now. I’m just packing up all my cool new stuff and going on a field trip to the hospital.

I’ll post again when I can regarding the chemo itself. I have no idea what I’ll feel like, but hopefully I’ll be able to post a thing or two about how I’m feeling mid-treatment. Anyway, thanks for reading my rambling. I hope you’re doing well.