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August 20, 2011

Warrior Juice Number One…

I asked Curtis to take my picture prior to departing for my appointment.  I picked out the cutest outfit…I mean it is a first, therefore one must commemorate it with a photo…right?

August 16, 2011 is in my rearview mirror; the date will forever mark the first day of chemotherapy.  Moving forward, when referencing chemotherapy, I am borrowing the verbiage “warrior juice” from a recent supportive email from an exceptionally wise woman; it is much more uplifting than poison or chemotherapy.  This date is an exciting date for two of my sons as well; Kenneth and Carlos obtained their drivers licenses.  Vanessa Raanes, a dear friend picked me up at the Department of Motor Vehicles office, just down the street from my oncologist’s office.  She and I arrived early to my appointment; we sat in the lobby and swapped stories for nearly an hour.  We laughed and we cried.  As my appointment time approached, Curtis and Carlos joined us in the lobby; Carlos presented with the most pure, delightful, and joy filled smile across his face.  Yes, he passed his driving test!  We made our way up the stairs to my appointment. 

Warrior Juice Treatment #1
My blood was drawn to test my blood cell and platelet counts; everything was within normal range therefore we were ready to proceed.  I swallowed an oral anti-nausea and headed back to the warrior juice room where I met Angela.  She is a warrior juice recipient as well.  She has breast cancer and is in her late 40s; she is nearing the end of her treatments.  She was great!  She provided a plethora of information, Real Talk style, and added levity to the pitfalls of the warrior juice.  The Smart Port worked; the nurse flushed my Smart Port and delivered an IV anti-nausea medication.  The nurse prepared my cocktail of warrior juice; I declined the steroids.  First, to be delivered was the Cytoxan followed by the Adriamycin (AKA The Red Devil).  Delivery of the warrior juice was complete by 12 noon.  After consuming four 16-ounce bottles of water, I needed to tinkle.  I was delighted to see that The Red Devil was making its way out of my body so quickly. 

Nearly an hour after arriving home, I began to feel extremely fatigued, dizzy, light-headed, nauseous, and shaky.  I looked at my husband and barely had enough energy to mutter, “I don’t feel so good.”  After fasting for nearly 60 hours, it made sense that I was not feeling well…oh, and the pesky warrior juice!  I was able to consume some food and continued to hydrate myself.  The fatigue was incredibly debilitating.  I would gather enough strength to walk to the bathroom only to find myself unable to wash my hands without collapsing to the bathroom floor from sheer exhaustion.  At one point my husband leaned down and said “Hun, do you know you are lying on the bathroom floor?”  I responded with a weak “yes.”  He asked me if I needed help however, I let him know that I was thinking about getting back into bed, I just needed a minute.  I am unclear how many times he watched me crawl on all fours back to bed.  I felt horrible.  In between taking anti-nausea medication, eating, and going to the bathroom, I slept until the next morning.  My memory of all the events is foggy at best; it was traumatic.

Day #1 Post Warrior Juice
As I awoke, I thought to myself – today is definitely going to be a better day than yesterday.  It was.  I garnered enough strength to take a shower and pull myself together to travel to the oncologist’s office to get my shot of Nuelesta (helps build my white cell count).  I spent nearly an hour trying to evacuate my bowels; it was a slight success.  As the day continued, I remained fatigued.  I developed a headache, which I believe is the culprit for the increased nausea.  I went to sleep around 9:00PM.

Day #2 Post Warrior Juice
I awoke around 10:00AM, my headache had intensified overnight, as did the nausea.  I was extremely fatigued.  My knees and ankles started to ache a bit so I wrapped them with ace bandages to apply some pressure; it relieved the achy feeling.  I was able to eat and continued to hydrate myself.  In the evening, I indulged in a pain medication – hell, I should have done that earlier.  Within a couple hours, my headache and nausea was bearable.  I went to sleep early, around 9:00PM.

By day three, I was feeling much better.  I continued to go to sleep around 9:00PM and wake around 10:00AM.  I remain fatigued but am able to eat and do small tasks for a short time; I tire quickly.  My husband and boys have been terrific!  It is challenging to see mama down for the count however; they seem to be taking it all in stride.  My memory is questionable at this point and I am unclear if I can declare “warrior juice brain” but something has shifted.  Speaking of shifting – I am on day four of being unable to evacuate my bowels.  Already taking Miralax, the doctor has added Senokot-S and Colace to the mix.  Someth’n had better start moving!

Today, I am hopeful.