17 January – 3rd day of chemo

Oof. Extremely rough night. Not due to nausea, but to the fact that every time I would relax and begin to snooze, my heart rate would drop into the low 50s and I think once or twice touched 49 bpm. Before I got sick, a resting heartbeat in the low 50s wasn’t uncommon for me but now it’s cause for some concern. When I had my trans esophageal echocardiogram last April and was recovering from the light sedation, I was hooked up to a heart monitor that would scream at me when my heart rate dipped below 50. I would be feeling all warm and cozy, at peace with the world, and here’s this electronic harpy shrieking in my ear. Then, as now, I suspect the drugs I had been given were responsible for the wonky heartbeat. I don’t know whether I’ll be hooked up to yet another stupid machine. My ball and chain (my ever-present IV pole) is bad enough to drag around without having to worry about extra wires, leads and such. Blurgh.

The really scary thing, though, is that at one point, after my nurse had come in to measure my vitals and discovered the low heartbeat, I fell asleep again and must not have been out for long before I jolted upright out of bed, gasping. I had no idea if it was apnea, a bad dream that I don’t remember, something to do with the low heart rate, or if it was possibly a small panic attack. After this happened, I was actually afraid to go back to sleep and only dozed fitfully for the rest of the night.

I am definitely feeling my stomach this morning. I hope I can eat breakfast.

One interesting thing of note: When I was admitted on Monday, the lymph glands under my chin were swollen. By Wednesday morning I was beginning to resemble a bullfrog. By yesterday a little past mid-day, I thought the swelling had gone down but I couldn’t be sure. This morning there can be no doubt – the swelling has definitely gone down. I’m taking this as a sign that the medication is beginning its work on the beast.

Ate breakfast, gulped down YET MORE pills, finally had my shower (joy), and started the first of two 30-minute chemo rounds this morning around 10:15. These nurses and the lab have everything timed. Saw my internist and told him about the heart issue. I may get another ECG while here in the hospital. Still haven’t received records from Dr. Wellford, my cardiologist that I saw a few times last year. I’ll have to get my butt in gear and go through the patient portal.

Lauren and I have decided that, A) if I lose my hair, and B) I’m still hairless or nearly so by Halloween, I’m going to dress up as the Sorceress Supreme, Tilda Swinton’s character in “Dr. Strange”. I LOVE this idea!

EKG and accompanying labs came back normal. No idea why I experienced that weird episode last night but I’m suspecting more and more that it was stress/anxiety induced. Time to begin meditation in earnest!

EHR-MAH-GERD-MORE-STINKIN’-PILLS!!! I know they help cushion the blow of the chemo, but I swear, if I have to swallow one more giant uncoated potassium tablet, I may have to resort to physical violence.

On a final note: I am now officially the Hoover Dam. With all the fluids that are being pumped into me and with the Prednisone that I have to take, I’m now beginning to swell up like a tick. My legs are artificially induced sequoia trunks. All the fluids are to protect my kidneys from the ravages of the chemo, but GEEZ. I haven’t been this swollen since I was preggers with my girls!

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