This round of chemo, thus far, has been easier on me than the first one, but there are still some surprises to enjoy, apparently.
Still struggling to control the chemo-nausea, but it’s getting better. Weaning off the Ativan, drinking more ginger ale, taking Zofran round the clock, and continuing to take Benadryl as a just-knock-me-out recourse. This strategy seems to keep the queasies mostly under control.
However, now I’m having the onset of a shiny, new side effect: annoying tingling in my hands and feet (i.e., peripheral neuropathy)–I assume due to the Vincristine in my chemo cocktail. It’s not terrible, but it is quite uncomfortable. When it got truly unpleasant yesterday, I took a Benadryl to render me comatose and felt better when I regained consciousness.
Benadryl appears to be my new panacea for side effects. Yay unconsciousness.
Have been queasy all weekend and have now reached the tradeoff point where I’m willing to try the slice-of-hell jittery again if it will offset the pervasive, constant nausea.
Just popped a dose of Compazine (a.k.a. jittery hell) with a chaser of Benadryl (hopeful mitigator of jittery hell) to go with the round-the-clock Zofran and Ativin.
Let’s see if this makes me less miserable or more.
So I had my second chemotherapy session on Wednesday and what better way to “celebrate” it than with a new book release?
Ergo, for Black Friday and out in time for the holidays, my new short story collection:
THE KING OF RABBITS AND MOON LAKE
and Other Tales of Magic & Mischief
A selection* of 18 fairy tales and fables for young, young adult, and young-at-heart readers.
Featuring princesses, foxes, rabbits, and other magical mischief from the Orient to Africa and close to home.
Available as both an ebook and trade paperback.
And, for the holiday season, if you buy the trade paperback at Amazon, you can get the Kindle ebook version through Amazon’s MatchBook program for free!
Table of Contents:
- The Girl Who Drew Cats
- The Tax Collector’s Cow
- When Shakko Did Not Lie
- The Princess and the Golden Fish
- Li T’ien and the Demon Nian
- A Parade of Taylups
- Cuhiya’s Husband
- The Dragon Breath’s Seed
- Kaawaa, Naagan, and the Queen’s Diamond Necklace
- The Adventures of Manny the Mailmobile
- A Patch of Jewels in the Sky
- Spring Arrives on a Hob’s Tail
- Second Daughter
- Princess Bufo marinus, Also Known as Amy
- Razi and the Sunbird
- The Red String
- The Tortoise Bride
- The King of Rabbits and Moon Lake
Trade paperback: $7.49 (on sale at 10% off for $6.74 at Amazon now)
• epub, iPad, Nook, Palm (PDB), Sony (LRF)
[*Stories originally published in Cricket, Cicada, Spider, Story Station, Dragonfly Spirit, Reflection’s Edge, Aberrant Dreams, Leading Edge, and the Magic in the Mirrorstone anthology.]
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
I’m a bit drained after my chemo session yesterday–tired and a little queasy, but generally handling it better than my first round. It’s going to be a be fairly low-key holiday for us, with simple fare to accommodate my sensitive stomach. Just Matthew, Baku, and me at home.
But Thanksgiving is not about the food or even the celebrating; it’s about counting one’s blessings and being thankful for all the myriad things one has to be thankful for. And I do indeed have much to be thankful for:
- First and foremost, I am thankful for Matthew who has been my rock through all this. I wouldn’t be able to cope at all without him at my side, propping me up and caring for me when I just have to slump over for a bit.
- I’m thankful for all my beloved family and dear friends who let me know every day they’re thinking of me about sending me their hope and support and love.
- And I’m thankful for my team of doctors and medical personnel at Emory who are taking such good care of me. This is a frightening journey I’ve embarked on, but they’ve done much to assuage my fears, answer my questions, and tender compassionate, expert care.
- I’m also thankful for my readers and fans who cheer me on with their kind words and reassurance that they really do enjoy reading my work.
- I’m thankful as well for supportive colleagues who rally me on, lending me their strength and experience and patience when mine flags.
- And last but hardly least, I’m so very thankful for the gracious kindness and generosity of strangers.
Thank you, each and every one of you. You mean the world to me.
Yesterday was a good day. Aside from a bit tired, felt the best I had in months: no pain, no sickness, engaged and focused at work. A memory of what being healthy–well, as healthy as my human suit gets–was like.
This morning, thought I was going to have another good day. Felt energetic and chipper, pain free. Went out with Matthew to run a couple errands even. But think I might have overdone it. We were only out for an hour or so, but by the time we got home I had a headache and started feeling sick. Now I am thoroughly miserable and hurting.
Have taken drugs. Many many drugs. If they are helping, then I don’t even want to contemplate how awful I’d feel without them. But honestly, it feels like they’re barely making a dent.
Next week I’m slated to have my second chemotherapy infusion on Wednesday with my neulasta injection to follow on Friday morning. Technically, I should have the chemo on Thursday, but for obvious reasons*, Thursday wasn’t good for scheduling purposes.
Being on the tail end of chemo cycle one, I feel a bit better prepared, expectation-wise, for this upcoming session. Everyone says the first one is the worst. If that’s the case, sure, I got this.
Of course, the one after this one (chemo cycle three) begins the intrathecal (lumbar puncture) infusions. I feel far less cavalier about the prospect of those.
[*Just realized it might not be obvious to folks who aren't on the American holiday calendar. Thursday is our Thanksgiving holiday.]
Had a follow-up doctor’s appointment yesterday with my oncologist at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute. We discussed a couple things in greater depth.
The neulasta injection I’m having the day after my chemo infusion is actually not usually given to people my age but rather to folks having to undergo chemo who are over 60. But since my immune system is so fail from lupus/MCTD, my doctor and his team figured it a wise precaution.
Firstly, it’s a bit depressing that they consider my immune system on par with that of people two decades older than me, but more importantly, the injection is the likely culprit for the intense back pain I’ve been having. Glad to have an explanation for that. And also it’s indication that the shot is working. (It stresses bones as it causes a heightened production of white blood cells.)
On a related note, they did blood lab work yesterday, and my blood count is rebounding a-ok from the chemo. Whew. It’s actually in decent enough shape that I’m considering going back to work this week. I’d previously decided to take this whole week off, but I’m feeling pretty good and a bit cabin fevered. (And I think I’m really exhausting Matthew. I keep waking him up in the morning to keep me company but he still goes to bed at his usual night-owl time, with the result that the poor thing is getting really sleep deprived.) We’ll see how today plays out.
We also discussed the radiation therapy I’m slated to have at the end of these six cycles of chemo. We didn’t go greatly in-depth about it, but it sounds like it’ll be fairly rough. Due to the location of the tumor, there’s a decent likelihood the radiation will hit my salivary glands, which could have long-term affects. Sigh.
And, very important bit here, we discussed the jittery feeling I’ve been having. It seems that the anti-nausea medication I’ve been taking every eight hours, Compazine, has “jittery” as a fairly common side effect. I went off it yesterday–with Zofran now as my primary anti-queasy drug to take as needed–and took some Benadryl at bedtime, and I can’t express how much better I feel today. I thought jittery and I were old friends; I’m totally addicted to my caffeine. But this was different, way worse than even the most jangly over-caffeinated binge. I was feeling pretty desperate to find some way to stop the jittery, and having it fading from my system is so very much a relief.