36. Make a plan and be prepared to throw it away, or Chemo Round Two - Days 1-10
Rolling into my second infusion, I was feeling pretty confident. I had an idea as to what to expect day by day, and I had a better plan to stay ahead of some of the side effects.
In the first round I was semi-terrified to take anything in terms of pain relief for fear of a bad interaction, not to mention not wanting to add even more drugs to my system. And to be honest, I spent a LOT if time on RXList.com making sure if I took anything for the pain that I wasn’t going to accidentally kill myself. (Thankfully the website was very helpful, and the oncology nurses always open to phone calls.)
So there I was, day one of my second infusion, hanging with my “Cancer Myth Busting” nurse Bill. ready to handle this next round like a pro.
Here’s how it actually went, and yes, this gets kind a technical, but my chemo brethren will hopefully find it useful….
DAY 1 : Feel great because STEROIDS!! Have started Claritin today to get ahead of the bone pain from Neulasta which I started too late last time. As he administers the Cyxotan, Bill asks if I need a decongestant as one of the side effects is congestion. I didn’t have it last time so I say “Nope, I’m good.” BIG MISTAKE, I will later find out. Infusion ends uneventfully and I head home with my good friend Erica who has been my infusion buddy for the day. (Infusion buddies are great, as they are willing to sit there for hours just to make sure you are not alone.)
DAY 2: Feel good ‘cause STILL ON STEROIDS. Get through the day and as the evening comes, my nose seems super dry and stuffed up. (Ah well. It’ll pass.) Wake up in pain at midnight and try to neti pot my sinuses. Pour water up, and nothing comes out. OH SHIT! this will not be good.
DAY 3: Wake up, stuffy nose, and no mask resonance, which is a vocalization term meaning I sound like a mono-channel in a stereo world. Voice sounds tired, and I know it’s because of whatever is happening with my mucus membranes. Other than this feel fine, so I manage to modulate my sound so I can teach my classes . (THANK YOU TISCH for my vocal training, otherwise this could have been a full on vocal chord shit show.)
DAY 4: There is an avalanche/tsunami of post nasal drip running down my throat. HAPPY THANKSGIVING! In addition to this lovely sensation, it seems that there is even less sound coming from my non vibrating chords as it seems all that water that went up it - Neti Pot - is now coming down in the form of mucus. Steroids have worn off, and while I’m tired I feel fine.
DAY 5: Still feel good but voice is no mas. And I mean gone. WTF?!!!! Have taken non drying sinus, am neti potting like a fiend, and have had more tea than a human should drink, but still nothing.
DAY 6: FEEL Physically great, but voice not improved. My taking Claritin has seemed to keep the bone ache at bay so at least that a win. But still can’t talk!
DAY 7: How much fluid can one girl drink? Think I may have overdosed on OTC sinus drugs cause sinuses are now bloody, but still vocal chords are swollen. So drink, steam, rest, drink steam rest.
DAY 8: Voice a little better? Try modulating while teaching my classes, sinuses draining again. WOW I’m a lucky girl… Can’t do a VO audition because I don’t have the range, now I’m pissed.
DAY 9: No change but did sleep a LONG time. Wake up with sleep so thick my left eye is almost glued shut. Go to see my Primary Care doctor to make certain that I haven’t contracted a bacterial infection giving me laryngitis, because I work my voice A LOT, and I have lost it like this only once when I was a senior in high school.
No kidding, I’m worried. I see my doctor, and there is no bacterial infection, possibly just a virus, or just a lucky side effect of the chemo. Yay! But I’m told I should ask my oncologist because she cant be certain of it being a side effect. Orders more voice rest and to not teach for the next few days.
DAY 10: Here I am, voice a little better but, not speaking and drinking fluids deep into “The Great British Baking Show.” Sinuses dry and bloody as well as dry lips. Crazy!! Husband out of town… has no idea of what he is missing.
Well they say time heals all wounds. Apparently this second round of chemo is reminding me that I need to slow ever more down…Let’s see how the next stretch goes.