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.

10 thoughts on “Chemo: Round 1…Almost

  1. You are dearly loved, and boy, is it easy to see why! We continue to pray for you in the Tonks family. Give your mom my best. Julie Tonks

  2. I think about you every day. Praying your counts get up by next check. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please let me know. Love you, Mrs. Ferguson

  3. Hannah, you are such a special young lady. How brave and unselfish you are and your attitude is spot on. This is not an easy process to go thru and it seems like it will take forever. One day, it will be your last Chemo treatment and one day your hair will grow back and this will be behind you. Just ask God to stand by your side and hold your hand. You are not alone in this process and your positive fighting attitude is just what it takes to get thru this. Stay Strong!

  4. You brought tears to my eyes…not because I am sad for you but because I am so proud of your attitude, strength and determination to beat this! <3

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