Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Diminishing Side Effects

I’m happy to report that my chemo side effects are slowly diminishing. Most days the only ones that are still noticeable are the fatigue and the hot flashes. I’m now eight weeks out from my last chemo and have had to start shaving my legs again and have a decent amount of hair on my head. If it wasn’t so cold outside, I could get away with calling this short hair-do a personal choice.  It will be difficult to avoid coloring my hair.  I have a strange patch of dark hair right in the front and the rest of my head is a mix of gray and dark.  A friend who is growing out her chemo hair said her hair initially came in very gray and as it grew the color returned.  I'm going to try and see what happens before I rush back to Loreal.

I still have days where my family calls me on the chemo brain although given the chemo-induced menopause it also could just be hormone (or lack thereof) brain. I’ve read online that chemo-induced menopause can be temporary. I guess I’ll find that out eventually.

Today is my first official port flush. My cancer center schedules them every 8 weeks. Hopefully, that means the next port flush will in warmer weather.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If I wasn't so tired, I'd be doing a happy dance!

Well, my post treatment doctor appointment was Tuesday morning and I'm just now blogging about it.  That should tell you something.  Not that the results were bad but that I'm still enduring some intense fatigue.  The good news is that my CT scans from the end of December look good.  No evidence of the masses that were seen in August.  I will see my oncologist in April and if my blood work is good with no increased cancer markers, I won't need repeat scans until the summer.  Personally, I'm hoping for PET Scans.  The prep and procedure is much easier than the CT Scans.  Really, they aren't fooling anyone when they try to create pina colada flavored barium.

A little bit of trivia about Barium.  We learned this week watching "Factory Made" that barium is used in high end bowling balls to help give them the unbalanced roll need for those nifty looking curve balls.  It came as quite a relief to Gary who has tried for years to get the cheap old bowling alley balls to do that.

So now I'm officially a lymphoma survivor.  Right now it feels good but not as good as it will feel when I'm done with all the chemotherapy side effects.  For lymphoma patients that seek out my blog for information, right now the main side effects are fatigue, peripheral neuropathy (which still seems worse in my right hand and right foot), a little chemo brain and hot flashes from the chemo-induced menopause.  I actually think the hot flashes and fatigue go hand in hand because it really is hard to get a good nights sleep.  I know a lot of cancer patients who add Ambien to there medications but right now I'm trying to avoid it. 

I've been researching post treatment recovery and understand that it can take months to fully recover.  My white blood count was a little low and I know that can be causing some of the fatigue.  Right now I'm trying to aid the recovery with exercise, nutrition and daily naps.  I will let you know how that goes and until then thanks again for all the light, love, warm thoughts and prayers.