Friday, March 2, 2012

Annette 1- Chemo 1

Hey All Y'All!!  My husband is cringing right now because I used my Texas language.  Isn't it fun pushing people's buttons?  I only do it cuz I love him so much.  *hugs*.  I've barely started this blog and already I have run off on a tangent....

I am laying in bed at my in-laws' house, hooked up to my pump and almost ready to sleep.  I started my 3rd round of chemo today and, to be perfectly honest, I'm not feeling too bad!  I'm tired, but I'm not nauseous.  I have cold sensitivity, but I think I'm learning how to cope with it.  My last round was pretty mean to me.  As a whole, I got knocked on my bottom by the chemo.  I survived the time in the ring, but the chemo definitely got in more shots.  Not only were the symptoms worse than the time before, but I ended up catching a cold, which led to a fever, which is not a good thing when you are doing chemo.  I've been warned by what seems like every person I've encountered in the cancer agency about what to do if I have a fever.  Apparently, the fever is one of the only ways to detect if a patient has an infection during chemo.  The white blood cell count is usually so low that normal signs of infection, inflammation at the site for example, do not occur.  The majority of deaths during chemotherapy are a result of infection that has gone undetected.  Thus the huge emphasis on educating us patients on what to do when we have a fever.

First step, monitor the temperature!  I have a mouth thermometer nearby all the time.  Apparently the ear ones read a bit higher than the mouth ones, which means they aren't quite as accurate.  Pity.  I would much rather stick one in my ear, but I suppose putting in in the mouth beats the other options.  I have had enough probing of my behind, thank you very much.

Second step, wait for temperature to rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Once there, continue to take temperature every hour.  I had problems with this step.  I was taking my temperature every 10 minutes, partially because I was paranoid that my fever would spike and partially because I was bored.  I had a headache, couldn't be in the light, couldn't watch TV, couldn't read, couldn't use my computer, wasn't tired enough to sleep.  All I could do was lay there feeling gross.  So, I took my temperature over and over again.  It can be a fun activity- guessing if your inner heater has turned on or off.  

Third step, once temperature remains consistently above 100.3, call the oncologist.  After 2 1/2 hours of my game, I decided to call the on-call oncologist.  She was great.  I had fortunately gone to my GP the day before who was wise enough to send me for blood tests.  This was extremely helpful in allowing the oncologist to figure out what to do with me.  All my tests and everything that my GP had observed when I went in the day before pointed to a viral infection.  Not the kind to worry too much about.  I was allowed to take 2 tylenol and go to bed.  If the fever continued or went up, I was to go to the hospital.  Thankfully, my fever broke a couple hours later and I started to feel ravenously hungry.  A good sign I think!

The toughest part of it all was that Mike had to work that night and since I was in no condition to even look after myself, I had to find someone to watch Gwen.  Thankfully, my dear friend Charlotte (who is also my Landlord) was able to come down and offered to stay the night on my couch.  What a life saver!  I think God put me in this house for a reason.  Mike and I had a pretty hard time finding a place to rent after selling our house to put him through school.  We didn't know the plans God had for us, but I count myself very blessed for being so close to part of my support group.  We didn't know how long we'd be in this basement suite.  We knew that it would depend on God's urgings and His timing.  We thought it could be 3 months or 3 years.  No telling!  It's small for us, pretty cramped compared to our old house, but we make these sacrifices for the greater good.  I am so excited for Mike to finish his schooling and get a REAL job!  Haha, I feel like my parents have been telling me to get a real job all my life (rather than acting).  It's sort of funny that Mike is going into a line of work in the same industry that I've been in.  Fortunately though, VFX is much more likely to have the ability to support a family.  

OH! I didn't get to tell you all that Mike has been accepted into the Lost Boys VFX school in Vancouver!  It's very exciting!  It's an 8 month course with a 100% job placement rate for the past couple of years.   He's decided to delay his start date until September so that I'll be done chemo.  A very smart move in my opinion, but I know how hard it is on him to be putting this off.  He wants so badly to get through the program and start working.  He really loves this line of work.  This sacrifice, allowing him to focus on me and hold our lives together while I do chemo, is a big one and I appreciate it more than words can say.  Isn't it lovely to see a spouse sacrifice themselves for their partner?  I think it is.  It's even better being on the receiving end, knowing how much I must mean to him if he's willing to put off this thing that he desires so wholeheartedly.  I think I like him.  Maybe I will keep him around after all.  ;) 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Annette! It's Susan Shearer here!
    I enjoyed reading your blog (brought back memories) Sounds like you are keeping a positive attitude as you fight this battle. That's really key to getting through this. And you have an amazing support system which is even more fantastic.
    I hope you are up for the 168 Film Festival otherwise, I'll have to catch you next year!
    Lifting you up in prayer.
    Susan :0)