As I’m approaching my next treatment, I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways that this most recent round compared to the previous one. This is a very subjective topic, but since I can’t help putting everything into a chart, why should this be any different? 🙂
So far, I’ve been thinking about the impact of chemotherapy on my daily life in two ways:
- Alien Brain and Gut: For a few days after the infusion, I get this feeling of general grossness in my gut and brain. It’s kind of a nausea feeling, but that’s mostly being held at bay by the medications and ginger. It’s kind of a hangover feeling, but twisted. This alien brain has a kind of a buzzing feeling that feels like a loud air conditioner, always there, slightly distracting, not painful, but scrambling my thoughts, yet it also feels like a caffeine buzz at the same time. This alien brain is coupled with an alien in the gut. This sensation is probably related to the nausea, which is mostly masked by the Zofran doing it’s job. But at the same time, one side effect of the Zofran is that it shuts down the digestive system, which creates a very uncomfortable feeling in the gut. Even with other medications and herbal supplements to manage this, the gut alien is communicating with the brain alien to compete with its human host.
- Fatigue level: This one much more straightforward since fatigue is something we’ve all experienced before.
When I compare the two treatments so far, I had less of that alien feeling throughout round two:
My most alien feeling in both rounds was Day 3 (Saturday). The alien has less of a stronghold this time around and he left town a couple days earlier. I’m not sure if this a perception thing where the second round seemed less severe because I was more familiar with the alien, but it just didn’t seem quite as bad. I also extended my use of Zofran into the morning of Day 3 for round two, whereas I stopped Friday night in round one. For the next round, I’ll use the Zofran at least another day to see if I can evict the alien even sooner.
Fatigue was a different story. Despite getting significantly more sleep going into this round, it took much longer for my energy to get back to normal this time.
Based on just two rounds, it’s not possible to tell if this is a trend, but the doctors and nurses did indicate that fatigue will be cumulative with each round. While I’m trying not to project out a trend, it’s hard not to think about the cumulative effects of fatigue over the course of the next 10 rounds. All I can do for now is take each round, one at a time, and get the rest, nutrition, and exercise I need. I’m happy that I’m even getting back to normal energy levels between cycles for now, and I’m using these days to create that virtuous cycle of sleep and exercise to maximize the impact.