2017 is over and I can happily say that we are now 1/3 done with my chemo treatments. Celebrating small milestones is really what is getting me through this long journey.
For my second treatment, my doctor wanted to have it done inpatient one more time to monitor me. I was admitted on December 27th in the early evening and fortunately this time things went much faster and the entire chemo treatment was able to be done in less than 24 hours.
Sherrie came to the hospital to keep me company while I waited to be admitted. We chatted about babies, life, and other random stuff it was nice to just socialize face-to-face because I’m not able to get out as much now.
I got a room at 6:30pm and had to wait for all the chemo orders to be put in before we could start. This time, they started with the rituxan (the R in R-CHOP) first at 11:30pm. This is the drug that has the most side effects and also takes the longest to administer. Last time, the doctor wanted to be conservative and minimize side effects so it was administered very slowly where it took 13 hours. This time, the speed was increased slightly so it was done over 8 hours overnight. I had a different reaction this time. I felt like I was covered in ants crawling all over me and was very fidgety. I had to have Roberto put an ice pack on me or rub my back because I felt so weird. I asked the nurse for Claritin and this ended up helping me and I was able to get some sleep. The rituxan ran until 7am and they have to check my vital signs every hour! So I didn’t get great sleep that night. That’s okay though because I rather get things done faster and go home sooner.
The next morning, I received the rest of the chemo drugs (the CHOP portion in R-CHOP). Like last time, I had no reaction to these drugs. We were done with all of them by noon! We ate lunch and waited to be discharged. I didn’t need a blood transfusion this time because my hemoglobin counts were fine. Side note: MD Anderson is in need of blood donations.
I was discharged by 2:30pm and we headed home. Since the chemo treatment, I’ve felt pretty good. Over the next 3 weeks until the next chemo treatment, the doctors will continue to monitor my blood counts. Last chemo cycle, I did become neutropenic (low white blood cell count) and did have to get an injection (Neupogen) that stimulates white blood cell growth in my bone marrow. While I am neutropenic, my immune system is especially weakened and I have a higher risk of infection occurring so I have to be extra cautious. It’s expected that this will likely happen every chemo cycle. My next treatment is January 18 and will be done outpatient this time.
Here I am working on my team’s year-end performance reviews the last week of the year while getting my chemo infusion.
Notable Progress From This Round
- Normalized blood pressure. Prior to this my blood pressure was low (like 100/60) and now it’s closer to the normal range of 120/80.
- Lowered heart rate. My heart was working hard to pump blood with the mass in the way, so my heart rate was around the 90s at rest (previous to this I had a resting heart rate in the 50s!). It’s now down to the mid-70s to 80s.
- Increased lung capacity. My spirometer readings continue to improve!
- Not really progress, but something notable. More hair loss. Yes, it is upsetting, but the chemo is working. I’m glad I cut my hair.
- Baby continues to grow and is healthy. Last ultrasound he was at 73 percentile in growth! I am currently 27 weeks–third trimester here we come!
- Increased energy levels. I’m walking more with my longest walk up to 45 minutes. I’ve also added in light resistance training 3x a week to maintain muscle tone and strength.
- Because of my increased energy levels and Camila has been healthy, I’m able to spend more time with her.
Ringing in 2018
I was still able to have a little fun ringing in 2018. I’ve been feeling conflicted whether to go out (and risk getting sick with this crazy flu season) or stay in. I went to my aunt and uncle’s house to have a little New Year’s celebration with my family (and when you have kids you celebrate it at 8pm anyway).
As I reflect back on 2017, it really was a great year for me despite my diagnosis. We traveled to Scottsdale, Sedona, Clearwater, and Austin. We had all of Roberto’s family come visit us and Camila got to meet her first cousins for the first time. We’re expecting a baby boy! I continue to enjoy my job. We survived Harvey with minimal issues. Camila is healthy, thriving, and happy. My love for Roberto has grown stronger. I’ve been filled with so many blessings in my life that even despite my diagnosis, I still feel incredibly fortunate.
I’m pumped for an even better 2018 filled with more love, memories, adventures, another baby, and kicking cancer’s ass. Happy new year to you and here’s to a great 2018 ahead!