Healthy Living in the Carolinas

Chemo #2 (Sept 27-Oct 10)

Chemo #2 (Sept 27-Oct 10)

The second time was much less stressful from the first. I knew what to expect and we got a nice larger (more private) area to hang in while chemo was going in.  It went a lot faster too because I didn’t have to sit and wait for a reaction to the medications. It’s still an all day event as I got there at 8:15 for blood draws and then meet with the doctor and then headed to the chemo floor. I think chemo lasted 3.5 hours this time. It can take 45-90 minutes to get downtown in rush hour traffic.

I decided to forgo last times nurse recommendations to eat bland foods for 3-4 days after and just ate what I wanted and took the risk of puking it up. I am happy to report it all stayed down! Veggie and bean tacos from Sabor Latin Grill were the pit stop on the way home. YUM!

Since I am given steroids as premeds I like to use those “craving days” to my advantage and EAT EAT EAT those calories! I need them.  With chemo you don’t know what will happen the next day so that is why people say “take it day by day”.  There have been days I don’t even crave or want a taco. Now folks, those are some sad days.  Those days I just sit back and pray that my taco love will still remain strong at the end of all of this (oh, and that my cancer is gone too). HA!

My Neutrophils (type of white blood cell that help fight infection) were rock bottom at my last blood work, but chemo went on anyway.  Not shocking since my WBC started low in the first place and has been for as long as I can remember.

Dr Ghosh (my rock star!) said from the beginning not much will delay these treatments.  However, my basically ZERO number landed me with a shot of Neulasta (bone marrow stimulate) to stimulate some immune fighting neutrophils. Some have nicknamed it “neu-nasty” because of the trouble it can cause.  I went back the next day for this shot.  A pain to drive all the way back downtown for a single shot but there wasn’t a choice!  I’m gonna guess my insurance won’t cover the Neulasta PRO kit I see on commercials you can take at home.  I need to ask about this.

Anyway, Neulasta can cause bone pain for a couple of days, but if you take Claritin a day before and a couple days after you may be spared the pain. This drug releases histamines into the body and that is how the Claritin is said to help. I had one day of bone pain. Probably a level 3 or 4 pain. I took pain meds for a day and got back on Claritin and it went away. Praise the Lord. I’m staying on Claritin I think for a while.

Since I had bad pain in my mouth for a couple days last time I started the oil pulling day one of chemo this time and continued for 5 days each morning. 20 minutes with organic coconut oil and clove oil.  The pain and metal mouth didn’t come this time.   Mouth sores can be a big problem so I clean my mouth with multiple types of rinses all day long trying my best to avoid getting them! 4 times a day for the first 4 days after chemo I rinse with baking soda and salt in warm water. I also used Biotine (dry mouth), TheraBreath, and a generic alcohol free mouth wash. I brush my teeth 2-3 times daily very gently as to not damage my gums. One thing I do when the first drug is going in (the one that causes the mouth sores) is chew ice like crazy. So much so it can annoy the nurse. But, along the same lines as the cold caps to prevent hair loss (you can google this, but I didn’t want to mess with it), if my mouth is cold while chemo is going in the chemo will not attack those cells. So I will continue to annoy my nurses (and anyone around me) for 10 minutes each time it goes in as I crunch my ice pellets like my life depends on it.

This 2 weeks after chemo went well. I can’t complain. I managed to do my workouts about 5-6 times a week. Nothing special, just 10 min on my rebounder, arm weights, yoga, and some leg exercises. Monitoring my heart rate as I do so. My sister came for a visit and we had a great time. Ask her about my small workouts, she will tell ya she felt some burn doing them with me.  I’ll whip her into shape in no time.  She even tried on my new wig that arrived. She looks cute as a brunette. I’ll do a post on my wig later and how it came to be. It’s made from my own hair!

Me and my therapy dogs (and my new wig)

An angel of the Lord appeared and said “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”

I have been blessed to have found 3 other women that are going through this Hodgkin’s Lymphoma journey too! Megan just finished her 12 cycles and even goes to the same doctor as me. Small world. Gemma lives in the mountains of Italy (amazing!) and is stage 4A and we are on the same cycle number. Thirdly, Marjorie from Alabama is stage 3 and will start treatment next week. We have a lot in common as we both have 2 kids and a food blog.

I truly believe God intended me to meet these women. I believe with all my heart I am on this path for a reason. God is teaching me something. God is teaching YOU something.  Although we are never alone with God by our side, it is nice to have others going through the same thing as you to chat with. With that said, the same journey can look so different from each person to the next. CRAZY! I continue to do my best with my holistic approaches at home, get in lots of nutrient dense foods, staying hydrated and pray. Before my cancer diagnosis I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what plans you have for me, but please make whatever this is treatable.”  I never once prayed for it not to be cancer. Why? I don’t know. I know I am not in control anyway, he is. I am grateful this cancer is highly treatable and I have FAITH I will be in remission one day!

Special thanks to my husband who is my rock during this. He has always been a hands on dad and husband, but he has stepped it up big time to WARRIOR with me. I believe our children are learning a lot of positive life lessons during this time. Lessons that will last a lifetime. Lessons of unselfishness, love, understanding, faith and strength.

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