Updates on Kathy's battle with breast cancer.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Taxol & Time Usage

Today was my first chemo treatment with Taxol, which will be my new adventure for 11 more Mondays, finishing up just before Halloween.  Scott and I were very anxious about starting a new treatment, having read about some of the extreme side effects and allergic reactions.  Thankfully, it went well and with no extreme side effects so far (it has only been 8 hours since leaving the cancer center, but they said extreme reactions would have happened while the chemo was being given.)  My blood counts were again below their preferred level, but close enough to still do the chemo (sadly, the woman next to me had to go home and wait a week because her counts were too low--but this was after the pre-meds were given, so she had to sleep away the day WITHOUT getting her treatment). The nurse puts the meds in gradually with pauses to watch for allergic reactions, having all of the supplies needed in case I had a reaction.  The pre-meds included a high dose of Benadryl, which almost immediately made me very drowsy.

Taxol's side effects can vary, but most common are tingly sensations or numbness in the fingertips and toes.  If it gets to a point where I can't do buttons, I'm to let them know and they can adjust the dose.  Another common side effect is sore bones.  I can take Advil or Tylenol to help with this, as long as I take my temperature beforehand, and let it wear off for a few yours to make sure I'm not masking any fevers.

We returned home around 1:00 p.m.  I immediately went to bed and slept solid until 4:00 p.m.  My friend Cynde brought a wonderful dinner at 5:00, which was such a blessing, not needing to worry about any of that.  I have not felt nauseous yet, and have not taken any anti-nausea drugs (but the pre-meds included Zofran, which should be worn off by now, so we'll see how it goes).  I had an appetite and loved eating a healthy dinner!  With the previous phase, I would have no appetite for at least 4 days, so this is encouraging!!  I'm also excited that I'm able to be awake for a while to update this blog and accomplish a few more things.  Things are looking up!!! I'm stoked!  I've now learned that Mondays are a day to block out the calendar for nothing but chemo and sleeping.  After that, I'm hoping my week can be pretty normal, but I'll know a lot more once the chemo actually kicks in and starts doing it's work, which should start happening Wednesday or Thursday, with a cumulative effect as these 12 weeks go by.

Amazing sand sculpture made by a group from Bloomington.

On a different note, I am very thankful for the blessings the Lord has given me.  I have been able to serve in my volunteer church work, without missing any major events. This past weekend was our annual Beach Dance, held at the Midwest Sports Complex, where Tim donates use of his amazing beach volleyball courts.  Five stakes (groups of 8-10 congregations per stake) join in on this dance, including the 3 Indianapolis Stakes, Bloomington Stake, and Muncie Stake, with some groups traveling more than 1 1/2 hours for the event.  There were probably between 350 and 400 youth in attendance.  The nets are removed from 4 courts, leaving 4 courts remaining for sand volleyball.  There are corn hole games (an Indiana game I've learned about since moving here--a bean bag toss sort of game) in the grassy areas, and plenty of space for playing in the sand, along with plenty of room for dancing.  The dance was Saturday night, at the end of Phase 1 of treatments, so my blood counts and energy were close to the lowest level of all of chemo (the lowest was 6 days earlier).  I rested most of the morning to save up energy for the evening.  We were the dance hosts, and I was blessed with a huge extra dose of energy that I know was not of my own doing.  I was able to be on my feet for the 3 hour dance, visit with youth, group dance with my camp girls, re-stock refreshments, and dance a few dances with my wonderful husband (who was our full time water-boy, constantly refilling four 5 gallon containers with lemonade, fruit punch, and water during the entire night).  We are blessed from above when we give our all (even when our all is small) to serve others.  I'm again reminded of a phrase that has become one of my favorites:  "Grace shall be, as your day."  I know that we are given the extra power that we need from our Savior as we do our best to be instruments in His hands.  My dad left us with some advice that he lived by:  "You're wasting the Lord's time, and you're wasting your time if you don't do something every day to serve someone else."  I'm so thankful for his example.  I'm thankful that through this cancer adventure I've been blessed with needed energy to serve when I'm able to and/or when I need to.  I'm also thankful for all of the wonderful examples I'm surrounded by.  I'm thankful for my Savior and the enabling power he gives us through his atonement and his constant watchful care over us.

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