Friday, November 30, 2018

Chemotherapy update #11-14

Piper Piping progress by floresita for Feeling Stitchy 12 Months of Christmas mmmcrafts stitchalong Dec. 2018
Progress on my Piper Piping ornament for the 12 Months of Christmas Stitchalong on Feeling Stitchy

Here I am, 14 total treatments in (4 AC and 10 Paclitaxel), and I'm almost done with chemo! Yay! It's hard to describe all of the things that I'm feeling, as I near the end of this part of my treatment.

I still have so much more to go - breast reconstruction, removal of my port, and through it all the lingering questions - will the cancer come back again, and if so, when? Will I have time to enjoy a married life, have a child, and if so, for how long? Of course, these are not the questions my husband or family want to hear, so I put them here, with a small layer of anonymity to protect them and myself. But I am overall doing my best to remain hopeful about my good prognosis, while maintaining a base of realism.

Here's a few updates on the side effects I've felt while continuing on my weekly Paclitaxel treatments...


- Hair regrowth - after my eyebrows thinned to about 20%, they started growing back! Also, the hair on my head is coming back as very soft baby fuzz. Still no considerable hair regrowth anywhere else.
- Eyelashes falling out - still have most of my top lashes, but the bottom have almost completely fallen out.
- Crusty eyes on waking - maybe a symptom of sparse lashes + extra dry skin?
- Dark and white spots on fingernails.
- Extreme exhaustion, dizziness, loss of balance.
- Hot flashes - these are worst at night - one second I am cold, the next sweat is pouring down my head and I feel like I'm on fire - ugh.
- Vision changes - foggy vision, hard to focus.
- Hearing loss - I'm always having to ask everyone to repeat themselves.
- Chemo brain - forgetfulness, etc.
- Bloody nose - every time I blow my nose, there is blood on the tissue.
- Bleeding in my mouth - 1 small spot on my inner lip - no pain, just blood, keeping an eye on it.
- Very erratic sleep patterns - think I can blame this on the steroid.
- Mood swings - again, the steroid.
- No periods - only 1 very long period in 6 months, after I started Paclitaxel.

Positives of my chemo experience so far

- No serious life-threatening reactions so far - and I'm very grateful for that!
- Clear skin - no skin reactions (other than dry skin) and clear skin throughout - only 3-4 pimples in 6 months!
- Vivid memories of things that happened long ago - pretty sure this is chemo related.
- Strengthening of relationships with family and friends.
- Becoming that person that people feel comfortable telling their problems to.
- Wig fun. :)
- Caring less about the little crap, and even some of the big crap that doesn't matter in life.
- Slowing down and becoming aware of others around me who are also sick, struggling, and in need of encouragement.
- Becoming ever more aware that God is watching over my every step and sustaining me in all of this.

An important thing to remember is that in spite of the laundry list of symptoms above, I am thankfully still functioning, still able to work and do things for myself. There are good days and bad days, but overall I am getting through it.

I'm very fascinated by the vivid memories I've been having from the past, so I wanted to describe that more. At times, they are so vivid, I feel like they are happening in that instant - it's amazing. I had a really sweet memory of myself as a very small child, looking up with excitement at the Christmas turkey, and it just filled my heart with warmth and thanksgiving.

So, I am pulling through - thank you for your comments of encouragement, for all of you who read this, and all of you fighting this fight as well, may God be with you! <3