Bald 'n Sassy

Life is for the living. Live simply. Expect less.

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Round 6 chemotherapy

Oh my!  Where did the time go?  I have neglected to update on my latest chemo.  Bad girl I am.  It is almost 2.5 weeks ago that I completed my 6th round of chemo or the 2nd session with the carboplatin/taxol drugs.  Three days before chemo, I had the case of déjà vu.  Late Sunday evening, my tummy was experiencing cramps.  The pain was mild and tolerable.  Nonetheless I took some Buscopan to relieve the discomfort and hoped the cramps to disappear by the following morning. When I woke up the next morning, the cramps were gone and happily had my breakfast.  The cramps returned an hour later after having the morning meal.  From the past experience, I knew that I had to let my stomach rest by not having any solid foods and just let hydrate myself throughout the day and continued to medicate myself with Buscopan.  I did just that.

By the second day, my tummy was slightly bloated.  I continued to fast and hydrate my body.  I was a little sad because on Tuesday, 30 August was my nephews 13th birthday.  My sister and the family went out for lunch at local hamburger joint, The Fat Boys.  I sat there drinking cranberry juice while the rest of the family members was tucking into juicy burgers.  It is not the first time where I had to watch others eat.  Last year when I was hospital, I could not consume any solid food or drink any water for 1 month because of the same reason of cramps.  The surgeon prescribed liquid food delivered intravenously.

On the day of chemo, I continued to fast in the morning even though I didn’t feel any cramps.  I shared with the oncologist of the cramps.  She shared the cramps could be a due to the combination of radiation and surgery plus possibility of cancer cells working into my guts.  She reviewed the blood test results with me.  My cancer markers indicated an increase by 10% to 66.2 from 62.1 from the previous round.  I was taken aback.  She did explain that the “new” set of drugs theoretically takes 3 rounds to become effective.  I am crossing my fingers that the downward trend holds true.  The next round which takes place this coming Friday will be the 3rd round.

When it was time to start the chemo, I told the nurse that I wanted to use my left hand for a change and let my right hand rest.  The nurse placed the hot pack on my hand to help to wake up and easier for her to poke me.  My hand was red from the hot pack.  The good thing was that she was able to find a good vein to use.  After almost a year of undergoing chemo I am still scared each time the nurse inserts the needle.  The first poke was bearable but as she continues to push the needle a little further into the vein I let out a little yelp.  It didn’t stop there, the needle was only 70% in. One more push and the needle was in.  Yes, I did cringe one more time. Then it was time to hook up the tube to the chemo drugs and test to make sure the flow is smooth. It was good to go ahead.

It wasn’t too long after the chemo started that I felt uneasy in my chest area.  I felt really warm and some tightness.  I had to raise the alarm with the nurse.  My oncologist also stepped in to check on me.  The doctor ordered to slow the flow of the drug to minimise the discomfort.  It made such a big difference immediately.  The doctor did say that because the drugs are derived from plants that it is not uncommon for patients to feel uneasy.  With having to slow down the flow, it took over 5 hours to complete the treatment.

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Over the next few days, the fatigue was the main side effect.  By the 2nd day post chemo my entire body aching.  The ache even spread to my bones.  I took some strong Panadol to help.  It was a temporary relieve. I was so lethargic that I slept for most of the day.

Only 4 days before the next round of chemo.

A tribute to fellow cancer patient – Anita Seth

Yesterday evening, I was saddened by the news of an ex-colleague and friend, Anita Seth from Mumbai who tragically lost her battle to cancer.  She was a vibrant young lady filled with so much enthusiasm which was reflected both in her personal life and work. When I first met her in my first business meeting in Mumbai, she was open to share about her diagnosis  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) or in simplistic terms cancer of the blood back in 2003. She successfully tackled the disease was diagnosed to be remission post treatment.

However back in May 2010, her leukemia relapse.  Her doctor’s recommended treatment of 2 intensive sessions of daily chemo lasting 21 days per session.  In addition to the chemo, a bone marrow/stem cell transplant.  From her updated report online, the chemo treatment was progressing well and the bone marrow transplant took place in June 2010.  The specific bone marrow she underwent was called Allogenic Stem Cell Transplant.  The transplant was deemed successful.

Aside from the medical facts Anita was ready to be active once again by slowly getting back into work.  I remembered receiving a text messaging from her wondering if I could offer her some part-time work she could complete from home.  I replied that I would love to help and informed her that I no longer work for the same company we used to work for.  At the particular period, I was about to commence my first session of chemo myself.  I specifically withheld the news from her for the simple reason that she need not worry about me.  I have also received other text messages where she was seeking some financial assistance to pay for her treatment.  As you can imagine, any form of cancer treatments can be very costly.

Anita had a true fighting spirit.  She was aggressive in voicing her opinions and was not shy about this trait. Fighting the disease for the second time wasn’t going to get to her.  She never gave up hope.  I can relate to her fighting spirit and not giving hope. Maybe sharing the same birthday has something to do with it.  I believe that having a fighting sprit, hope coupled with positive attitude are fundamental ingredients in overcoming any disease.  I will be honest to say at times maintaining the fighting spirit and positive when you are suffering the side effects post chemo.

Anita, you were an amazing fighter.  You were a true inspiration to many people.  As a fellow cancer patient, I have learn a lot from you.  You are in a much better place now where you can finally rest.  God bless!

If you wish to read a little more about Anita, click here established by her family.

For the rest of us cancer patients, I encourage to continue to fight!  Don’t give up hope.

Good night from me.  I rallied enough energy to post this after having another round of chemo yesterday.

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