I’ve said and texted this to numerous people this past week but it still sticks in my throat when people ask how things are going. I didn’t expect it to be easy, but I had no idea the amount of extreme fatigue I would feel. Also, not being able to tell if my body is feeling nausea or just hunger… makes it hard to decide to eat or not.
So, my first chemo was one week ago today. I got plenty of pre-medications in the clinic before my infusions began and it definitely kept the nausea at bay for a while. Jim and I even went and got his head shaved after chemo! But, sometime before dinner I started to get a fuzzy head feeling. I was hungry, so I started to eat some dinner, with plans to go to bed early. I barely got 3 spoons of chili in my mouth before I started to feel sick. It was then I realized, the fuzzy head was a precursor to nausea for me. So I took Compazine & Ativan (first time taking Ativan aside from immediately prior to chemo) and hit the sack.
I slept fantastic and woke up feeling decent. The first three days after chemo, I had scheduled doses of Zofran and dexamethasone and they helped me feel pretty good. I still got a fuzzy head somewhere around 2pm, so I took Compazine & Ativan and went to bed for a couple hours, and then did the same before bed, but I was functioning pretty well over the weekend. Then Monday hit…
Monday was the first day without scheduled meds. I still took Zofran because I thought I had a little nausea, but not too bad. It was also the day I took care of Finn all by myself because my mom had to go out for a few hours. I don’t know if I overdid it, or it was just due to the lack of steroids in my system, but I got exhausted by noon. And Tuesday was worse than Monday… I just could barely do anything. I wanted to be with Finn and the puppies, and my mom of course, but I just could not keep my eyes open but also couldn’t sleep well either. I was taking some PRN meds but not all that I had been taking.
Yesterday, Wednesday, was actually pretty rough for the first half, but I think it’s when I realized what my actual needs were. I think, in addition to the extreme fatigue, I had still been having some underlying nausea that I just couldn’t decide if it was nausea or hunger. I took Zofran in the morning, fell asleep for an hour, but felt a bit better. Then I went to the grocery store, which wiped me out, and honestly I was so disoriented in the store that I couldn’t find much without asking,
but after taking Compazine & Ativan again, even though I didn’t sleep I felt better. I actually cooked dinner, just rice and veggies, but I felt more clear headed.
Today, I actually feel clear headed without the aid of any pharmaceuticals. It is a wonderful feeling. I am working on the energy thing, but that’s a slow process.
I had lost about 5 pounds from last Thursday to Monday but I’ve gained back a pound, so I’m only 4 pounds down. I’m not horrified by weight loss, since I am overweight, but I just didn’t want to lose so much weight so quickly. Now, I’m eating about 4-6 small meals a day and when in doubt I eat. If I am having nausea, it is usually effective at taking it away, at least until the meds can kick in.
To aid with the fatigue, in addition to getting as much rest as possible, I’ve started doing yoga. I wish I had started it Friday but I didn’t do it until Monday. I’m convinced that the yoga, even when it was a struggle on Tuesday, has helped with the fatigue. There are studies that show that doing yoga decreases fatigue but up to 50%. I am not doing anything intense, just some gentle stretches and deep breathing, but I do feel better at the end of the routine.
I’m hoping that my increased appetite continues and that I feel pretty good for the next week, because it’s all going to start over again next Thursday with round 2.
Other tidbits… my hair loss started about 2 days after chemo, not the two weeks I was told, thankfully I have a ton of hair still so it’s probably going to take a while to lose it all, but we shall see. When in doubt, take nausea meds and take a nap. Don’t stop eating…