After the excitement of a reaction early into Round 4, I was a bit anxious going into Round 5 not knowing if my body was going to freak out again 15 minutes into the infusion. My apprehension improved slightly after reviewing my positive scan with the doctor right before the infusion.
Like myself, nurses don’t like drama, so this time I had an emergency kit sitting within arms reach in case my body freaked out again. After being hooked up the Oxaliplatin, my nurse frequently checked on me to ensure I wasn’t having a reaction like last time. Being me, I was hyper-aware of everything going on in my body, but everything went smoothly. We didn’t play any games this time, which is probably good because I’m sure my sister beating me was the cause of the reaction last time. After the two-hour Oxaliplatin session was done, they did the 5-FU push and hooked me up to my chemo grenade, and we were on our way. That when I had the thought, “sweet, no excitement, maybe this time everything will be nice and easy.”
As I’ve repeated time and time, the side effects are cumulative, so this time, I was very somewhat tired by the end of the infusion. All I wanted to do was grab something to eat and head home to rest. However, I’ve come to find out, no infusion session goes without some form of drama.
This time, drama came in the form of a call from a good family friend, informing me that our daughter got some water in her lungs during swim lessons at the YMCA program. So fresh from the chemo ward, we skipped lunch and headed off to pick up our daughters from the pool. Once we got there, my daughter was still having a hard time breathing. She is an asthmatic like me, and since she was struggling, we took her to the ER to have her checked out.
We ended up at the same ER where I hulked out on Reglan, but unfortunately Dr. Awesome was not working that day. After listening to her lungs, they wanted to do a chest x-ray to confirm she didn’t have water in her lungs. However, by this time, we had been waiting in the ER for over 1.5 hours, and I was utterly exhausted from my previous hospital tour stop. Fortunately, my wife arrived at the hospital so my chemo buddies could take me home. Everything turned out fine for my daughter, she had asthma exacerbation from the chlorine in the pool, which went away in 12 hours.
As the week went on the side effects were not too bad this time, some minor nausea and the usual cold sensitivity in my hands and feet. I’ve noticed that the cold sensitivity doesn’t really subside completely now in between treatments. Luckily for my ice cream habit, the cold sensitivity in my mouth only lasts for about a week. I may look like a fool wearing gloves while eating the ice cream, but whatever.
On a completely awesome related note, Häagen-Dazs has a new line of Spirits inspired ice cream flavors that are a godsend. The Bourbon Praline Pecan Ice Cream is absolutely amazing! Since I don’t want to fry my liver even more than the chemo already has, I have not had any alcohol in 3 months. Not that I drink very often, but I do enjoy a nice glass of whiskey every once in a while. Anyway, somehow Häagen-Dazs has managed to smash two of my favorite things (whiskey and ice cream) together into a single pint container. I don’t know how they do it, but the bourbon flavor is spot on!
During my recovery period, my wife came down with a sinus infection, and my daughter caught a chest cold. This is where having cancer sucks, I tried to pull my weight and help out so my wife could rest, but no dice. Things just had to wait until she got better because there is no fighting chemo fatigue, it fights dirty. Fortunately, several days passed, and she started feeling better once the antibiotics kicked in. My daughter continued to battle the chest cold, but it was reasonably mild and has been getting better.
Unfortunately, having a diminished immune system, I started feeling sick shortly after my wife got better. Having been thoroughly scared shitless by the cancer care pamphlets, I didn’t take any chances and reported my symptoms to the nurse triage line. They asked me to come in for blood tests and a chest x-ray to see if I had pneumonia. The x-rays showed no signs of an infection, and my blood tests were excellent. It turns out I probably have viral bronchitis or a summer cold. Talk about walking on eggshells, a virus that I’d usually ignore could turn into a real problem quickly.
I have another infusion tomorrow, and this cold shows no signs of letting up. So, this could be an exciting experience with a cold plus chemo side-effects.