18 May, cycle 3A

Aww, YISSSSS. I finally slept like a rock last night. Well, more or less. I did have a little bit of trouble going back to sleep after my one trip to the loo but the breath focus worked this time and I eventually nodded off. I feel a good deal better this morning even though my numbers are tanking. My wooziness doesn’t seem nearly as bad, which is a relief. My hemoglobin has once again slipped down, not quite to the level of transfusion, but it’s close. My white blood cells are still continuing their glacial downward creep after initially plummeting. Yesterday they were 0.3 and today it’s 0.2. If they hit 0.1 by tomorrow and hold at that level the Granix injections will begin the day after (Wednesday). Those injections are no silver bullet though, as I found out last cycle. At that time it took five days (not counting the day of the first injection) for the white blood cells to begin climbing again and another 2-3 days until I could be released from the hospital. The upshot: If my body follows a similar pattern, I probably won’t be able to go home for another 10 days, which means that my last break is going to be a short one. There is a silver lining here though – it’s my LAST BREAK. One more three-week cycle and I’m DONE. I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel!

So here’s a list of the meds I have to choke down in the mornings: 1) Acyclovir (anti-viral, two caplets); 2) Diflucan (anti-fungal, two nasty bitter uncoated tablets); 3) Leviquin (antibiotic, one coated tablet), 4) ten tiny yet unbelievably bitter uncoated steroid tablets (only when I’ve just had chemo); 5) Pepcid (one little coated tablet only when I have chemo-induced heartburn; 6) Zyrtec (one coated tablet for allergies). The last two are optional and I think I can discontinue the Pepcid. I can usually get the anti-fungals down if I can get them far enough back on my tongue before swallowing but this doesn’t always work. The steroids, though… oh my God. Two or three I can do but TEN?!? I have to bury them in chocolate pudding (bad enough by itself, so disgustingly sweet) just to get them down. I tried applesauce for a while but the sauce’s texture just put me right off and I ended up gagging anyway. During my first chemo cycle I used saltine crackers but because of my bad mouth sores at the time I couldn’t chew them properly. Yes, the struggle is real. Fortunately it won’t last much longer! I don’t know what sort of med regimen I’ll be put on once I’m out of the hospital but I hope it’ll be relatively minimal.

Phooey. I’m hooked back up to the ball and chain. The hospital doc ordered an IV phosphorus supplement for me that will hopefully bring my electrolytes a little more into balance. I took some powder in water this morning but evidently that wasn’t enough. I wonder if I’ll glow in the dark by tonight…🤔

So, Dr. Santiago just came in and I now know a bit more about my post-hospitalization treatment. Apparently I’ll have a mediport installed somewhere in my chest wall and then I’ll have monthly follow-up chemo infusions of either Methotrexate or Vincristine, I can’t remember which. This will go on for a whole year. I’ll also have three additional meds to take. This regimen is called POMP, which is an acronym for something, I’m not sure what. I’m a bit bummed that I’ll be having chemo for ANOTHER YEAR (there goes any hope of my immune system fully recovering) but now at least I know more or less what to expect. Oh, and I get one more bone marrow biopsy for my last cycle. This time I’ll be SURE to ask for sedation. I don’t want to go through that level of pain again!

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