Thursday, 14 January 2016

Post-Chemo #3

I survived round three of chemotherapy. I must say the last two times seemed easier (although the first time I was hospitalized so I'm not sure it should be used as comparison). I don't know if it was the additional stress of the spinal tap or because I didn't really nap off the Benedryl but I was much more tired by the end of the day than last cycle.

While the regular chemo medications were routine, the spinal tap part of the chemotherapy was quite unpleasant. Turns out that the medical professionals were telling the truth that the freezing was the most painful part of the process, it did not make the entire thing any less anxiety-inducing.

Thankfully it wasn't a very long procedure and happened pretty fast. After the chemo infusions in my PICC line, the doctor showed up to do the procedure. It was one that I had seen many times in in-patients and he's super relaxed about the everything which, I think, made the entire process somewhat easier. It was better than having some new resident.

The process involved sitting on the side of the bed and leaning over a pillow on the table tray. The doctor cleaned off my back with some alcohol, waited for it to dry a bit, and then, without any warning, shoved the freezing needle into my spine. After that I didn't feel much except for pressure every now and then and sharp pain once when the doctor went outside of the freezing area.

Unfortunately, the lack of pain didn't exactly reduce my anxiety. I kept thinking that I should be more calm as it wasn't directly hurting but the thought of needles in my spine while medication was injected and samples were taken was enough to keep my anxiety high. Even though it felt like it took forever, it was only three Adele songs before it was over.

I had to lay down for a half hour before allowed to leave. Apparently, the main side-effect from the spinal tap is killer headaches so it's advised to lay down as much as possible for the following 24-48 hours and drink fluids with caffeine. After the requisite time, I was allowed to go on the provision that I reclined my seat the entire drive home (I did, I didn't want a killer headache). I crashed out almost as soon as we got home but then couldn't sleep due to heart burn. I don't think I ate that much before going to bed so it must've been a chemotherapy or stress reaction.

Yesterday, I woke up with pain in my back and general exhaustion. I spent the day napping off my lack of sleep from the night before, drinking all the fluids, and laying on the couch reading as the doctor ordered. It was a great snow day on my part.

My back is still a bit sore today and while I managed to avoid the headache yesterday, it hit me today on and off (a reminder to drink more coffee). The back pain makes sense as once the freezing wears off, the spot where the needle went into the spine is going to hurt. At least it's not a sharp pain, more of a dull ache that is irritated whenever I do too much like pick something up off the floor.

As long as I wasn't bending over too much, I felt okay enough to get off the couch. So I drug myself outside of the house for a little skate in the morning and snowshoe later in the day. It felt great to be outside after a few days of laying around. I want to do as much as I can before the full side-effects of the cycle hit and I don't feel like leaving the couch. Hopefully I can enjoy the snowy weekend before that happens!
Off we go! My pair are borrowed from the community center and are much too big but still work.
Snowshoe into the sunset!

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